By, Max Marcilla – Knickswag Contributor
The New York Knicks flew into Denver with the 29-point loss to the Warriors still on their minds. This game held more importance to Carmelo Anthony then any other, as it was his first time returning to Denver since the blockbuster trade that sent him to New York in 2011. Most teams would want to avenge a loss in which they shot 27% from the field and scored a season low 63 points, but the Knicks put up another embarrassing performance, falling to the Nuggets 117-94.
As an optimistic Knicks fan, I try to look at the positives of each game. Unfortunately for the New York Knicks and their fan-base, there was only one. Iman Shumpert had his best scoring game of the season, as he finished the game with 20 points being one of only three Knicks in double digit scoring (the others being J.R Smith and James White).
Despite being optimistic, I am also realistic, and I can say honestly that this was the worst game of the season (heard that too many times this year). Even though we have only had 3 other games in which we lost by 20 or more, we have had games that were close, but we played horrible in one half, but kept the score relatively close in the other half. This game was different. Despite a little run in the 4th quarter, the Knicks looked flat throughout the game.
First off, you have to look at the injuries. The Knicks have had an injury-ridden season, as only 4 players have missed less then 10 games due to injury. The news last week was that Carmelo Anthony had a sore knee. This injury may seem like a minor one, but this has been an injury that Anthony said has been bothering him since December. He has played horrifically since coming back, as he hasn’t had the lateral movement needed to play offense or defense and he hasn’t been able to elevate like he was able to before the injury.
Secondly, the Knicks were told that Amar’e Stoudemire would need regular-season ending knee surgery, but like Walt Clyde Frazier said “when it rains, it pours” and in the 2nd quarter Knicks All-Star center Tyson Chandler went down, pounding the floor, with a knee injury. It was later reported as a right knee contusion, but Tyson is questionable for tonight’s game.
The Knicks had numerous struggles tonight, but particularly they struggled holding on to the ball and getting back on defense after turnovers. The Nuggets, who are one of (if not the) best fast break team in the league, took advantage of every one of the Knicks 19 costly turnovers; scoring 22 points off the turnovers and 20 total points on fast break opportunities.
The other struggle the Knicks had was containing the paint. This could be attributed to the injuries to the Knicks two forwards and their center, but the only player who showed any bit of defensive success was, once again, Kenyon Martin. The Nuggets dominated in the paint, scoring 62 points inside, nearly tripling the Knicks total. That is the main reason why Denver shot 49% from the field.
Earlier in the year, Iman Shumpert came up with the phrase “Knicks Tape.” He described “Knicks Tape” as a mix tape of all the different types of players in New York. The team was united and they played as a mix tape, but now the tape is unraveling and the team chemistry and trust isn’t there. I was a big fan of “Knicks Tape” and felt it united the team as a team, not just a group of guys trying to win a championship. However, now I am wondering if we are physically and mentally stable as a team.
Looking forward, the Knicks still have three games on the west coast before returning home, including a game in Portland tonight. If the Knicks can escape winning 2 out of the 3, it will be a huge success. However, I am not positive they can do that without a healthy Melo or Chandler.