The New York Knicks return home Sunday to take on the Detroit Pistons, owners of a mini-two game losing streak. But the biggest question is what team will come back to the Big Apple?
Will it be the team that got off to an 8-1 start to the season based on strong defense or will it be the team that allowed the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets to score on them at will?
It’s concerning that the effort on the defensive end disappeared the past two games. That’s what we are talking here is effort, not execution.
I’m not the only one showing concern, as reigning Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler is also concerned, telling Newsday’s Al Iannazzone:
“You’ve got to be concerned,” Chandler said. “We’ve got to get it together. That [Houston] team, first of all, they’re not better than us. They’re not 30 points better than us. That’s no disrespect to them. We can’t allow that to happen. The same thing with the Dallas Mavericks. We’ve had two letdowns. We’ve got to get together, got to get our focus back.”
If you want to know just how ugly it has been, the Knicks have given up 245 points the past two games and the 131 Houston hung on them was more than they allowed to anyone all of last season. And in the past six quarters, they have allowed 196 points.
During that span, the strategy has appeared to try and outscore the opponent instead of getting stops. That’s not going to work.
But the Knicks get the opportunity to fix things Sunday at the Garden against the Pistons.
Detroit comes in averaging only 92.2 points per game (26th in NBA) and has topped the century mark on only three occasions on the season.
More than scoring 110-plus points, the Knicks have to get back to defending well, especially with Brooklyn on the schedule Monday night.
“We just had lapses all over the place,” Chandler said to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. “I take responsibility for that. I’ve got to get my team and myself better.”
“We’re getting beat a lot off the dribble,” he added. “The penetration is hurting us. They’re getting to the heart of our defense. We’re allowing offensive rebounds, easy shots on the perimeter, dump-offs for layups. Just a lot of easy baskets. Early in the year we were making things tough, and now we’re letting guys off way too easy.”
Some of that could be helped by the return to the lineup of Rasheed Wallace. But even if Wallace doesn’t play, head coach Mike Woodson has a great interior defender on the bench in Marcus Camby that he has been mysteriously letting sit on the bench.
Whatever the rotation may be, one thing is clear and that’s the Knicks must get back to playing great team defense. If this Pistons team scores at will on them, then there may be a problem.
Offense and shooting naturally goes through hot and cold streaks, but effort on defense should not.
That’s been the disturbing part the past two games.
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