Losing Streak Hits Seven
NEW YORK KNICKS: Derek Fisher Might Be Retired From Playing, But He's Still Quick On His Feet.
....and then the losing streak reached seven,
but just barely.
For a fleeting moment, Melo's game tying 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds left in the game was the biggest shot of the Knicks season, that is until Trey Burke nailed his own last second, game winning, buzzer beating 2-pointer from the far corner to give Utah a 102-100 victory at a silent Garden.
The Knicks played without the still missing Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani, a resting Amare Stoudemire, and Iman Shumpert (who injured his hip in the opening minutes of Friday's game).
Yet, they managed 100 points for the first time this season.
Perhaps that's why Coach Fisher was so giddy afterwards when speaking with the media. I call it smartly getting away with putting up a strong front after blowing a very winnable game.
The last minute of play was indeed thrilling. As Coach Fisher put it - that was New York City out there.
He's right; the crowd was electric and Melo was on fire.
And there's the rub....
In truth, Friday's game looked a lot like something from last season, which is a bad thing. Just ask Tim Hardaway. It was a regression back to Melo Ball - when an inept team put the ball in his hands and hoped for the best.
The obligatory thrilling finishes might be good for ticket sales, but not much else.
Carmelo Anthony scored 46% of the Knicks points, and pulled down a team high 7 rebounds while his mates predominantly stood around and watched. That also explains why Melo also made 16 attempts from the stripe while the rest of the team combined on just four free throws.
The Knicks collectively watched Utah shoot 51.4% from the field, and bury 10/22 from beyond the arch, while also allowing them 42 points in the paint. You can't let a team have it both ways; certainly not the Jazz, man.
Utah additionally blocked eight shot versus just one for the Knicks, whom also got out-rebounded by a 39-31 margin.
Wait, there's more:
Once again, the Knicks suffered from poor ball distribution (regardless who's in the line-up). The Knicks only had 15 team assists (vs. 25 Jazz) led by Shane Larkin's four, and Pablo Prigioni's three. The Knicks two point guards at least combined on 20 points in support of Melo.
J.R. Smith, not so much. He was not the second best Knicks player on the floor the way he should have, especially after Shumpert's departure. Smith scored 9 points in 21 minutes off the bench, and was defending Trey Burke during the game winning shot.
Coach knows his best player scored 46 points and they still lost. He knows they recovered from a faulty 1st quarter to build a 72-65 3rd quarter lead, but blew the game with flaky defense particularly in the paint. He also knows the Jazz never once double-teamed Melo, thus allowing the Knicks to hang around in the first place, and that J.R. Smith failed to step up and make a difference.
So when the media failed to pounce with their post-game opening line of questions, Coach Fisher was able to preach how inspiring the undermanned effort, and the atmosphere at Madison Square Garden were.
Quick thinking Coach.
Of course, we see right through it.
Nothing short of personnel changes will help this team. That's why Friday night brought back memories.