Mavericks 110, Knicks 108: Game Recap

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This Knicks season has been a horror show for many reasons, but it’s been particularly hard to stomach because of the amount of losses that have occurred like last night’s. Whether the Knicks blow a lead or, like last night against Dallas, make a frantic comeback, they’ve so often fallen on the wrong side of these late, close games. Some thoughts on the latest one:

- Anyone else find it a bit ironic that the Knicks lost on a clear isolation play? Now, the difference between the Mavericks’ final possession and the Knicks’ is that the Mavs had less time (around 10 seconds) and got Dirk Nowitzki in a favorable spot on the floor. But we’ve so often been up in arms that the Knicks just isolate Carmelo Anthony when the game is on the line, pining for whimsical ball movement and non glory boy, Hoosiers-like teamwork that will surely conclude in a wide open layup for someone other than Melo, spurring on a fawning column by Harvey Araton in the next day’s Times about how the Knicks finally won because Melo for once wasn’t such an egomaniac. Well, the Mavericks ran Dirk off a screen on the block, got him the ball near the foul line…and the rest of the team freaking’ stood around. He waited for 5 seconds and heaved up a game-winner. Whatever.

- And this isn’t to defend the Knicks’ horrid final offensive possession. At this point, with the team in such shambles and Anthony the only guy that can truly be counted on, I have zero problem with an Anthony isolation there. But how about not just handing the ball to Melo 30 feet out and forcing him to create? How about, like the Mavs did with Dirk, getting Anthony the ball on the block, or the elbow, somewhat of a more favorable position? “Isolation” is not the only problem. It’s that the Knicks seemingly didn’t even have a play for the situation and don’t even bother trying to get Anthony in a good spot on the floor.

- Honestly, the Knicks were ridiculously fortunate to even be in a situation where they could have gone to overtime. They were down 8 with half a minute left, and only because of some brain farts by the Mavs was a comeback even possible. On top of that, the Knicks’ defense was just horrid throughout most of this thing. The Mavericks were consistently able to goad the Knicks into terrible mismatches, benefiting from the Knicks’ lazy switching. How often did Raymond Felton or Pablo Prigioni end up on Nowitzki? And while I think Rick Carlisle is a great coach, it doesn’t take much to figure out how to beat the Knicks’ pathetic defense.

- But hey the Knicks’ defense isn’t that bad, right?! They only allow 99.8 points per game, which is actually 13th best in the league!

- To me, the crystal clear difference between this season and any of the Isiah years is simple: Carmelo Anthony. I want the Knicks to be a legitimate team as much as everyone else, but if my favorite team is going to be terrible, I’d rather be able to watch a guy like Melo night in and night out (HARVEY DOES NOT APPROVE OF THIS RATIONALE). People forget how miserable it was to watch Eddy Curry and Fred Jones and Renaldo Balkman and Al Harrington and Stephon Marbury and on and on and on. Appreciate Melo while you can.

- And if this season couldn’t get any crazier, Raymond Felton was arrested. The fact that we’re probably all feeling that anything which doesn’t result in someone getting physically harmed that might remove Felton from the Knicks is a good thing, and that thing turned out to be a gun, just about sums up what it’s like to be a Knicks fan right now.

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