In a season full of embarrassing losses, this one might have taken the cake. With the playoffs on the line, the Knicks put up a lackluster effort in Los Angeles, falling to the worst team in Lakers franchise.
Poor starts to the second and third quarters are what ultimately did the Knicks in for good. After a convincing first quarter, where New York tied their season record for points allowed in a quarter with 14, things fell apart. Los Angeles started the second quarter with a 27-6 run and never looked back. All of a sudden, the perimeter and transition defense wan non-existent. Mike Woodson did everything he could to try and get his team’s heads back into the game, but the damage was already done. Jodie Meeks was banking in threes and Xavier Henry was unconscious. It was just another one of those nights for the Knicks – one of those nights that we’ve grown way too used to.
New York temporarily regained their composure before halftime, cutting the lead to eight, but the start of the third brought more of the same. Los Angeles went on a 21-7 run en route to a 51-point quarter. That’s not a type-o. The 51 points were the most given up in a quarter in Knicks history and the most scored in a quarter in Lakers history. Not even the Showtime Lakers were that explosive in a 12 minute period. The mark was also the eighth most points scored in a quarter since the merger.
The Knicks played uninspired and even when they had the lead, looked rather out of sync. Carmelo Anthony was late to the party, missing his first eight field goal attempts and appearing visibly frustrated. He finished with a game-high 29 points, but it took him 21 shots to do so. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 17 points but was responsible for a bucket on what seemed like every defensive possession. Mike D’Antoni did a good job of exploiting his defensive shortcomings, and Xavier Henry did a better job of executing, coming off the bench for 22 points. Swaggy P was playing like someone stole his favorite pair of shoes or something, chipping in 20.
From this point forward, the Knicks should be focused on developing the young guns, but since they aren’t technically eliminated from playoff contention and Mike Woodson is still auditioning his talents to Phil Jackson, this isn’t likely to happen. Iman Shumpert needs to work on his offense, Hardaway Jr. needs to work on his defense, and Tour’e Murry just flat out needs to play.
The most entertaining part of the game came from swirling rumors that Phil Jackson was in attendance. What resulted was a human game of Where’s Waldo, which ended when the Zen Master was spotted in a suite with the one and only Metta World Peace. It was a long night, to say the least.
It’ll be a quick turnaround for the Knicks, who play in Sacramento tomorrow night. For what it’s worth the Hawks will be on the road in Minnesota. If you have any intentions of watching, the game tips off at 10:00 p.m. As always, TOK will have you covered.