Tim Hardaway Jr’s clutch game winner feels like ages ago, doesn’t it?
Thankfully, it’s just preseason. The Varsity Knicks had one poor performance this weekend while the JV Knicks had a forgettable one as well. Before the Knicks head off to Baltimore to take on the Washington Wizards on Thursday, let’s take a look back at what happened this past weekend.
Friday, October 11 – Raptors 100, Knicks 91
Good things: Carmelo Anthony played like mid-season form Carmelo Anthony. He wasn’t incredibly efficient shooting 9-for-17, but got to the line five times and finished with 24 points in 25 minutes. he also rebounded well with eight boards. Andrea Bargnani returned to Toronto and faced the boos with a decent 4-of-9 shooting day. Iman Shumpert had team highs with a +12 rating and nine rebounds.
Bad things: Metta World Peace picked up where he left off in Providence, taking a lot of shots but missing most of them. It’s preseason, and “World” (as Clyde Frazier has taken to calling him) probably isn’t taking this too seriously yet, but let’s all hope he gets a tad less trigger happy when the games start counting for real. As a team, the ‘Bockers are still finding their stride from deep. They made just five of 30 attempts from behind the arc.
Saturday, October 12 – Celtics 111, Knicks 81
Good things: Ike Diogu! Dude turned back the clock to his Arizona State days by dropping 21 points and 8 rebounds in 32 minutes. There’s actually a pretty interesting battle for the Knicks’ final front court reserve spot bewteen Diogu, Cole Aldrich, Josh Powell and C.J. Leslie, and the veteran Diogu made a nice case for himself. Andrea Bargnani made his first and only three of the preseason so far. He also got to the line six times and made all his free throws.
Bad things: Hardaway Jr. got a lot of time since Mike Woodson sat a good chunk of his regulars, but went just 3-of-16 from the field and, like the rest of the squad, struggled defensively. Josh Powell was a -41, which is all sorts impressive. Once again the Knicks struggled from deep, connecting on just 16% of its threes. Actually, the Knicks were terrible from short, mid-range, long-range, from the bench, the locker room and the layup line in warmups. They shot 29-of-87 overall.
So what to make of the two poor games? As is to be expected, the Knicks are still finding their shooting touch. They continue to take a lot of threes, especially the starters, and so far they’re not making a lot of them. I think (and surely hope) that this will change. And it better, because the Knicks aren’t about to stop taking this many threes. They’re going to keep shooting no matter what, and this is without J.R. Smith.
Defensively, it’s hard to judge since so much of defense is about communication and familiarity with your teammates, and Woodson has admitted that he’s using the preseason to tinker with different combinations and see what works and what doesn’t. Also, when you field a team that looks like a Summer League roster like the Knicks did on Saturday, you should expect some Summer League results, especially on defense.
Overall, what we want to see is the Knicks start to shoot better from deep. It would be nice to see Bargnani get in a little bit of a rhythm as well, because the open shots will be there for him in this offense and he simply has to do better on them if the Knicks’ acquisition of him is going to have a positive effect.