The Knicks Are Back! ...To Their Losing Ways

Last night the Knicks lost to the Milwaukee Bucks.  Again.

The Good:

1. New point guard Sergio Rodriguez took over the starting gig from Chris Duhon.  Spanish Chocolate was a never-ending blur and managed an unbelievable EIGHT steals!

2. New undersized shooting guard, Eddie House, played point when Spanish Chocolate went out, which meant: Chris Duhon didn’t play at all!  Not a second!  And that was goooood.

3. The Knicks did a good job hustling and scrambling on defense, holding the Bucks to a mere 43% fg shooting.

4. Tracy McGrady did not just settle for easy jump shots and instead had a few nice drives to the hoop.  Yes, none were dunks and a couple didn’t go in, but it’s excellent that he’s not shying away from contact with the big boys.

TMac, unafraid, drives to the hole, yet the Knicks still seem to be playing in the dark

5. At halftime the fans were thrilled as the Knicks honored the 40th anniversary of the 1969-1970 championship team.

6. To show how truly stupendous that 1970 team was, the current Knicks, in an outstanding show of support, got together before the game and decided to purposely play horribly so the fans would appreciate the old-timers even more.

(top row left to right) Don May, Bill Hosket, Mike Rordan and John Warren (bottom row left to right) Cazzie Russell, Bill Bradley, Willis Reed, Walt Frazier and Dick Barnett of the 1970 World Champion New York Knicks

The Bad:

1. Everything else.

Okay, okay, more specifically:

1. The Knicks are supposedly trying to play their young ‘uns to develop ‘em better.  Toney Douglas only saw 4 minutes.  Though let’s be honest, he’s got a limited future, so really the younger players who matter are just Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler.  And they got a very respectable amount of minutes: 34 and 41.  However, the offense no longer seems to really involve them.  They took 8 and 6 shots respectively, versus say Eddie House’s 16.  Even Al Harrington in just 23 minutes still managed to get up 9 shots.  The whole offense seems to now be pick and rolls (involving some pair out of the threesome of David Lee, Tracy McGrady and whoever is the point guard), or isolation plays for TMac or Al Harrington (& occasionally Lee).  Gallo and Chandler have been reduced to feeding off broken down plays, much like how Shawn Marion used to do when Coach Mike D’Antoni ran this system in Phoenix.

Al Harrington masters "Say No Evil" after failing at "Play No Evil"

2. Like my reader Paul commented yesterday, the excitement from the newbie’s first game on Saturday would diminish.  However, the fans were really into McGrady and the game for quite a while, until it was clear that the Knicks were just sucking.

3. As I said in my last post, TMac is not known as a particularly great jump shooter.   Last night he returned to form, hitting only 5 of 14.  Actually, the truth is he’s somewhere between the two performances.  He’s not usually THAT bad a shooter.  Another thing was that you could see him breathing heavily at times, and until he gets into better game shape, some of his jump shots and drives are gonna fall short.  Once TMac gets his legs back he should shoot somewhere in the range of 40-46%, with his free throw attempts and assists making up for the low-ish field goal percentage.

4. We don’t have a modern-day Willis Reed equivalent who can surprise and ignite the crowd/team by walking out onto the floor like he did in Game 7 of that 1970 championship game.

The Ugly:

1. The Knicks may’ve held the Bucks to 43%, but they themselves only shot a putrid 33.8%.  Most teams shoot a higher percentage than that even all the way out from three-point range.  As a result they managed a mere 67 points, easily eclipsing the season’s previous low of 78 points.

2. When it came to rebounding, the Knicks looked like grade schoolers trying to play against much taller high school guys.  They lost the rebounding battle by…  –oh, and those of you with sensitive stomachs might not want to read this next number–  …by a staggering 35-61 edge.  Oh hell, when ya get beat by that many, it ain’t an edge, it’s a frickin’ cliff.

3. While Rodriguez was a breath of fresh air compared to Duhon, and he was in constant probing motion, AND he got all them steals, he did unfortunately only get 1 assist.  TMac, he of the great court vision, also got 1 assist.  David Lee, who’s been rightly hailed recently as the best passing big man, had a mere 2 assists.  And Eddie House lead the team in assists with a whopping 3.  The whole team managed to somehow manage only a combined total of 10 assists.  Or less than Steve Nash gets all alone in a game.  With his eyes closed.

4. TMac, recovering from knee surgery, said his knee hurt after Saturday’s game.  Take that, add the picture below, and it equals how Patrick Ewing looked on the bench his last season as a Knick.  Man, math sucks.

Tags: 1969-1970 Knicks Championship Team Al Harrington Chris Duhon Coach Mike D'Antoni Danilo Gallinari David Lee Eddie House Milwaukee Bucks Patrick Ewing Phoenix Suns Sergio Rodriguez Shawn Marion Spanish Chocolate Steve Nash Toney Douglas Tracy McGrady Willis Reed Wilson Chandler

  • paul

    Hey. Great analysis. Can I say that someone needs to write an article addressing D’Antoni’s performance the past 2 years. His many, many lineups, his inability to get guys to understand and grasp their roles(except maybe David Lee.) Him sticking with Duhon way to long, virtually killing the season. Also D’Antoni not having any heart. Saying he wants to compete and make the playoffs, but then not putting any fight up against teams with stars. Not doubling LBJ in the middle of a 24 point run? Just him looking like he is powerless on the sidelines, yet thinking he gets to sit around and wait for the cavalry next year!
    Walsh should also take some hits for not having a better back up point while douglas matures. No Earl Boykins? No Brevin Knight? I know the roster spots were held for tradeable chips like Mobley and Curry, but good point guard play is needed for developing young wings, and Duhon killed the season, and has stunted the team development in general.
    And of course, Walsh very well take an Isaiah Thomas size hit if NY can’t land one of the top 5 FA’s, and gives up a lottery pic in 2011 b/c he doesn’t want to waste his cap space.
    As a fan, I thought the dark days were almost over, but it is very possible that 2 more years of darkness, and a new regime, may lay ahead!

  • Short White Boy

    Aw, you just like the post ‘cuz I mentioned you Paul.

    And you’re right, we’ve all been being too nice to D’Antoni. I think after all those years of Scott Layden and Isiah Thomas (& the fact they mostly hired awful unexciting coaches — except for Larry Brown… who then proceeded to be awful), we’ve been giving a bit of a free pass to both Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni. Although I gotta say Walsh can’t be given any worse than an incomplete, particularly since he has miraculously managed to do exactly what he said he wanted to do. Yes, the team’s sucked even worse the last two years, but his stated goal was to get rid of all our bad contracts so we could be involved in the 2010 free agent bonanza. D’Antoni, on the other hand, definitely has already won a bad grade. Even if we get great players and he turns the Knicks into a great team next season, it still doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s made many questionable choices (ahhh, that’s being kind, let’s call a rose a rose: they were craptastic decisions).

    So you’re right, and I will try to write an article soon that calls him on his faults.