The Knicks Week!!
Like many people, the Knicks started the new year off with many of the same problems they ended last year with. For them it is lack of defense and the inability to close games. The first week of 2017 they went 1-3, and the one win they did get they had to fight back from an 18-point deficit.
That comeback win is a step in the right direction, but the Knicks have a ways to go before the rest of the NBA considers them to be a contender.
The first matchup of the week was against the Orlando Magic, and this game was full of self-inflicted errors as the Knicks got in their own way time and time again.
Shooting wasn’t a problem for either team, as New York shot 47% FG and Orlando shot 49%. However the Magic shot better from behind the arc, making 15 threes compared to the Knicks’ eight.
Rebounding wasn't a problem for New York either, as they won the rebound battle 56-45.
When it came to ball movement the Knicks dished out nearly half the assists (18) that the Magic did (35). Guys trusting each other has been a reoccurring problem this season for the Knicks and this game was a perfect example.
Another recurring issue the Knicks have been having this season is turning the ball over, as they are currently ranked 19th in the league at limiting turnovers. This game they managed to turn the ball over 20 times.
Offensively it was a pretty low-scoring game for the Knicks, whose leading scorer was Carmelo Anthony with 19 points. The Magic on the other hand had three scorers score 20+ points, including Jodie Meeks leading the way with 23.
The final score was 103-115.
The second matchup was the first of two straight games against the Milwaukee Bucks.
This was an evenly matched game all the way up until the very last second of the fourth quarter when Giannis Antetokounmpo made the game-winning mid-range shot to win it.
Both teams shot well from the field but the Knicks shot exceptionally well from behind the arc at 46% off 13 three pointers. However the Bucks made up for over half of those points by hitting 22 free throws as a result of the Knicks committing 19 fouls.
One notable positive for the Knicks to take away from this game is that they took advantage of the Bucks’ turnovers, scoring 22 points off of them. However many of those points were not fast break points, as they got man-handled in the fast break points battle 27-4.
Offensively the Knicks had a decent game with three starters scoring in double digits, led by Melo’s 30 points, seven assists and 11 rebounds. Melo has been taking a little more than usual criticism when it comes to his reluctancy to pass so perhaps this was a “prove you wrong” type of game for him.
However, thanks to the Greek freak’s jumper as time expired, this well-played game by the Knicks was a wasted effort.
The final score was 104-105.
The third matchup was against the Bucks again, and this was another complete game by the Knicks, and this time they came out with the W.
Both shot well from the field (around 50%) and both shot well from behind the arc (around 55%). They also both scored 21 points off of free throws.
However, although the scoring and shooting percentages were so close to each other the Knicks had a lower-scoring quarter in the second, which led to them playing catchup for the rest of the game right up until the end. They entered the fourth quarter down 13.
It was defense and clutch ball movement in the fourth that led to the W. In particular, benching Derrick Rose the whole fourth quarter and playing Ron Baker was good for the Knicks who played very well on both sides of the ball. At this point, only a few days away from when the Knicks have to make a decision on whether or not to keep Baker on the roster, he played like he had this in mind during this game.
Offensively the Knicks had a good game with Kristaps Porzingis scoring 24 points in his first game back from a sore achilles. Melo had his second straight well-rounded game with 26 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. There were four starters who scored in double digits.
The Bucks also had a good game offensively, with Jabari Parker and the Antetokounmpo scoring 25 apiece. Milwaukee also had four starters score in double digits.
The final score was 116-111.
The last matchup was against the Pacers, which wasn’t a good game for the Knicks because of another low-scoring second quarter. They were playing catch-up the rest of the game only to find out they couldn’t catch up.
Both teams shot well from the field (NY-46%, IND-50%) however Indiana won the 3-point battle, hitting 45% compared to New York’s 38%.
One thing that stuck out from Indiana’s performance was that they shot exceptionally well from the free-throw line making 26 of their 28 attempts (92%). They also man-handled the Knicks when it comes to rebounds 58-41 (+15 offensive, +6 defensive).
This may have seemed like a perfect game for the Pacers, but they had one flaw. They fouled a lot, as a matter of fact both teams did. The Knicks committed 24 while the Pacers committed 23.
Offensively this was a low-scoring game for the Knicks, with Melo and Brandon Jennings being the leading scorers with 17 apiece.
For the Pacers, Jeff Teague scored 19 points and dished out eight assists. Miles Turner tallied a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. They had four starters score in double digits.
The final score was 109-123.
“It was defense once again,” said Derrick Rose. “They got wherever they wanted and it felt like it wasn’t any trust there tonight.”
Unfortunately the Knicks have become notorious this season for lacking in defense. It has even led to coach Hornacek suggesting earlier in the week that maybe the Knicks should sign and/or trade for players who are willing to play defense.
As stated above by Rose, who's used to giving 110% on defense due to Thibodeau expecting nothing less in Chicago, now players on the Knicks have gotten wind of this notion and agree.