The Knicks have 29 losses this season, and many of them have been highly depressing. Last night’s defeat at the hands of the now 9-win Bucks is perhaps the worst of them all. Some thoughts:
- Last night’s loss was so doleful that I coped by watching an episode of Top of the Lake. If you’re unfamiliar with the BBC miniseries, here’s the premise from IMDB:
“When pregnant, 12-year-old Tui tries to kill herself in a freezing New Zealand lake, Detective Robin Griffin has plenty of questions for the girl.”
- The Knicks got 66 combined points from Carmelo Anthony (36) and J.R. Smith (30) and still lost to the worst team in the league. Clearly, nobody else decided to chip in. The next leading scorers were Tim Hardaway, Jr, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, who all had 7. Chandler, especially, had a really rough one. Zaza Pachulia affected this game far too much, and that was on Tyson. Pachulia had 12 points and pulled down 5 offensive rebounds.
- While they only allowed 18 points in the first quarter, the Knicks’ defense was truly terrible throughout. Broken record time: torn apart by bad switches, getting torn on pick and rolls, allowing wide open layups when the Bucks completed a few interior passes, etc. Brandon Knight sure likes playing against the Knicks; wouldn’t you if you knew you were going to be guarded by Raymond Felton most of the night?
- Speaking of Knight and Felton, I personally didn’t think Knight’s game-winner was terrible defense from Felton. It wasn’t great, and maybe I’m just judging on a curve, but I don’t think Felton had any chance of staying with Knight if he decided to press up on him. Knight also has two inches on Felton (and Felton doesn’t have the best hops in the world, to be kind), so I feel like on any pull-up jumper he would have gotten a good look at the hoop. He just made the shot. Sure, Felton could have forced him to drive and utilized hep defense, but that’s also assuming the Knicks have competent help defense in the first place.
- The Knicks, mainly Tyson Chandler (1-of-6) were ghastly from the free throw line. Stupid.
- Melo looked like he sort of skated through the first half. But the second half was vintage Melo, especially the 4th quarter and a single-handed 9-0 run that got the Knicks back into things. Melo finished with 36 on 13-of-25 shooting. This was the type of game where, to me, how many isos the Knicks ran for Melo was irrelevant. When Felton shoots 1-of-7, Hardaway 2-of-10 andShumpert 2-of-7, is ANY possession that ends in a Melo shot really a bad one? He nearly stole this one by himself.
- J.R. Smith continued his torrid play of late. He continued to be aggressive going towards the hoop, getting to the line 6 times again. He’s averaging 5.2 free throw attempts in the past five games, which is what he needs to do to supplement his perimeter shooting. Because this pace won’t last – he was 6-of-11 from deep last night. He’s raised his season percentage from deep to 37.9%, which is higher than his career average.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo is a lot of fun to watch. Ersan Ilyasova is not.
- Dear Marc Berman, the Bucks’ crowd wasn’t actually wondering the whereabouts Chris Smith and hoping for an answer while J.R. Smith was taking a free throw:
Have to hand it to the #Bucks cheering section for that “Where’s your brother” chant as J.R. shoots free throws. He’s in Erie.
— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) February 4, 2014
- The Knicks have been so unbelievably streaky under Mike Woodson, especially this season. There’s no reason why an understandable, totally fine loss to the Miami Heat a few nights ago should snowball into a losing streak, especially when the following opponent is the worst team in the league. This team’s inability to stave off a losing streak is one of the main reasons they have this unspeakably bad record.
- The schedule gets much tougher in the immediate future. It’s good for your psyche to remind yourself that things can always get worse.