Knicks 80 Sixers 97
Coming into tonight’s game the topic on the forefront of most conversation is the mediocre 6-6 Knicks play since Christmas day when Raymond Felton went down with injury. In a little over a month most Knicks fans learned how important their starting point guard is to the success of this team. The Knick most happy to see the return of Raymond Felton come tonight is Jason Kidd who is averaging more minutes at the point guard spot and has had the responsibility of guarding the other teams point guards, two things Jason hasn’t done since the mid 2000’s.
This is the closest the Knicks rotation has been to 100% so far this season with Iman Shumpert and Raymond Felton in the same back court to go along with a healthy Amare, Chandler and Carmelo.
The Knicks continued their trend of slow starts and really struggled offensively throughout the first quarter and well into the second. Raymond Felton looked like a player who had not played in a month and that showed with the amount of turnovers almost totaling their season average in the first half. JR and Carmelo continued to have poor shooting halves despite Carmelo leading the team with 14 points. The only offensive upside from the first half was Amare coming off the bench and playing very efficient minutes scoring 12 points on 5/5 shooting. He looked engaged on the defensive end as well with a blocked shot as well.
Other than Amare there was not much working for the Knicks both offensively and defensively in the first half. Holiday looked as if he is deserving of his All Star selection with 18 first half points and was very effective in controlling all aspects of the game for the 76ers. With the Knicks trailing at the half by 12 the Knicks gave up 53 points to a team who is 28th in the league in scoring, unacceptable.
Well this is going to be short….. The Knicks only played one half of basketball tonight and didn’t show up in the second half. Turnovers, lack of offensive movement and poor defense lead to the Knicks being abused in all aspects of the game in this half. Each player on the 76ers seemed as if they wanted it more than the Knicks players tonight. Oh yea, and if you didn’t think Holiday was good everyone got a good look at what a 22 year old Holiday looks like tonight torching the Knicks for a career high 35 points.
For the better majority of this game the Knicks looked sluggish, tired and uninterested. They were outworked on both ends of the floor and allowed Holiday to control the entire game. He was able to get into the paint at will and the Knicks rotations were late if there at all. The third quarter was without a doubt the worst quarter the Knicks have played all year.
Entering this stretch of winnable games before the dog days of February and March bring the toughest stretch of games for the Knicks will see all season, the Knicks just looked flat. For a defense that has looked good recently they gave up 84 points through 3 quarters after holding their last three opponents to less than 90. JR Smith looked beyond abysmal and was really forcing things on the offensive end of the floor.
Again this team showed that their frustration can affect their play especially in the third quarter. Put with all the poor play the real story tonight is the lack of defense and inability to force turnovers as well as their poor showing effort wise. The only good thing about tonight’s game is that the Knicks have a chance to get back on the right track tomorrow night against a good Atlanta Hawks team.
Overall very poor showing by the Knicks tonight and really need to get back to their old ways of moving the ball and getting solid shots. Their ball movement has decreased since the Melo vs. KG saga January 7th. Woodson has his job cut out for him and needs to continue to work to try to find a starting lineup that works offensively because the Knicks can’t continue to start this slow and expect to be a Championship contending team.
Oh yea and Raymond Felton, JR Smith, Jason Kidd and Iman Shumpert were a combined 2-24. That should sum it up pretty well. Get better Knicks or you will be first round an out!