The New York Knicks made it seven losses in a row Wednesday night after scoring only two points during the final 4:30 of the game in a 93-80 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers defense made the difference down the stretch, but give some credit to the Knicks’ ineptitude as well as this team still has major problems in terms of execution at both ends of the floor.
After the game New York kept its locker room closed long after the final buzzer for yet another informal team meeting.
While the Knicks players and coaches attempt to figure things out, I will hand out grades following yet another disappointing loss.
Raymond Felton (12 points, 5-of-9 shooting, 7 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 4 turnovers)
Felton’s return to the lineup came with perhaps his most solid outing dating back to the middle of last year. However that was on offense, he has to play defense as well. For Chris Paul to have his way with Felton is one thing. For Darren Collision to do it is another story altogether. Grade: B-
Iman Shumpert (2 points, 1-of-5 shooting, 3 rebounds, 2 assists)
For the second consecutive game Shump was awful. He is struggling offensively and not offering up much impact defensively either. It was another wasted 25 minute effort for the third year pro. Grade: D-
Carmelo Anthony (27 points, 9-of-23 shooting, 9 rebounds, 1 assist)
Anthony had a solid effort as usual scoring 27 points and grabbing nine rebounds. But as the Knicks fail, so does Melo. It was another bad outing from the floor for Anthony, shooting only 39 percent. He dished out only one assist in 41 minutes and went only 2-of-6 from the floor in the fourth quarter. It’s one thing to score points, but scoring meaningful points is just as important. Grade: B
Kenyon Martin (6 points, 3-of-3 shooting, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal)
K-Mart had another solid all-around effort in addition to a nice stat line, Martin finished as a plus-17 in only 23 minutes, one of only two players on the positive side of things. Also for the second consecutive game, Mike Woodson went away from an effective Martin. You have to play the guys getting the job done as I will illustrate the difference between K-Mart and Amar’e Stoudemire later on. Grade: A
Andrea Bargnani (20 points, 8-of-18 shooting, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 blocks)
Bargnani had a nice night other than the fact it took him 18 field goal attempts to get his 20 points. He got the Knicks off to a good start but unfortunately for him they couldn’t sustain it. A big reason for that is the fact that he keeps getting attacked defensively and can’t do anything about it. Bargs had four blocks but was otherwise pretty bad at the defensive end. Yet Woodson likes to employ a lineup of Bargs, Melo and Stoudemire in the frontcourt. Those three together can’t stop anyone. Grade: B-
J.R. Smith (7 points, 3-of-9 shooting, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block)
The Knicks bench was horrible and once again Smith was a major part of that. They were outscored by the Clippers bench 34-13 and Smith’s shot selection is starting to come back to bite him as he had another awful night from the floor. He made only three shots and when you consider that one of those makes was a lucky desperation heave from 26 feet and you can see his struggles. Right now Smith doesn’t impact the game positively at either end of the floor. Grade: D-
Amar’e Stoudemire (4 points, 2-of-5 shooting, 2 rebounds, 1 steal)
Stoudemire played 20 minutes compared to Martin’s 23 and while Martin finished a plus-17, STAT finished a game-worst minus-29. He did make 2-of-5 shots, but it simply looked like he couldn’t move out there. Woodson has to stick with the guys getting the job done. Unfortunately for him there aren’t too many guys worth choosing from. Grade: D
Metta World Peace (0 points, 0-of-6 shooting, 1 steal, 1 block)
Speaking of poor performances of the bench, MWP wasn’t very good in his first return to the Staples Center. He only played 10 minutes but managed to miss six shots, commit a foul and a turnover. Grade: F
Pablo Prigioni (0 points, 0-of-2 shooting, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal)
Prigioni managed to pull down four rebounds in only nine minutes of action. Other than that he wasn’t on the floor enough to make an impact. Grade: C-
Beno Udrih (o points, 0-of-0 shooting, 1 assist, 2 turnovers)
After a couple decent games in the starting lineup, Udrih played only three minutes Wednesday night. He did manage to turn the ball over twice in that span. Grade: Incomplete
Tim Hardaway Jr. (2 points, 1-of-3 shooting)
The rookie continues to lose minutes even though both Shumpert and Smith have been very bad in front of him. He played eight minutes and was a minus-11. Grade:C-