Clippers 116, Knicks 108: Stoudemire, D'Antoni Question Team's Effort

The short-handed, road-weary Clippers make their way to New York.

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D'Antoni, Stoudemire Blast Lifeless Knicks

So much for the feel-good story that much of the 2010-2011 NBA season has been for the resurgent New York Knicks. After an awful 116-108 loss at home Wednesday night to the Los Angeles Clippers the Knicks are a Friday night loss to the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers from being back at the .500 mark.

Head coach Mike D'Antoni and All-Star forward Amere Stoudemire both ripped into the team following Wednesday night's performance, or lack thereof.

"I just don't think we had the energy out there to be a playoff team," coach Mike D'Antoni said "For whatever reason, in the first half we just didn't come out and play. You could see it on our face, the energy level, mostly on the defensive end, but it transferred to the offensive end."

Stoudemire, the team's unquestioned leader, also called out his teammates.

"We're not playing hard; we're not getting loose balls. Seems like we're afraid out there," he said. "I said it before the game. We've got to have supreme focus. "I guess they figured I was talking to the wall because we didn't come out with any focus," Stoudemire said, according to the New York Daily News. "You can tell before the game. You can tell by facial expressions and body [language] that guys weren't ready to go."

New York magazine pointed out that the Knicks are just 5-11 since Christmas Day. Could there be a sense of reading their own press clippings a little too much?

Writing at Posting and Toasting, our man Seth let his feelings be known:

It really is maddening how a group of gentlemen that's stood up to the Spurs, Heat, and Celtics can so feebly bow at the feet of the league's lowliest. We saw it against the Kings and Suns, and now we've seen it against a short-handed Clippers team that had dropped four games straight, including one a thousand miles away just 24 hours prior. Like sadderbudweiser said (asked, really) in the game thread, the Knicks really do know how to make losers feel handsome.

D'Antoni said flat out that the Knicks simply do not play hard enough on a consistent basis.

"Sometimes we don't want to do the effort first; we want to see if we can win first without having to go full-out, and then when we have to go full-out, we do, but it's not good enough."

Whatever it is the Knicks need to figure it out -- fast. Kobe Bryant and the Lakers are on their way.


Clippers 116, Knicks 108: Poor Defense, Poorer Shooting Doom Knicks

In a game that had all the makings of a blowout, the New York Knicks messed up pretty badly. The Los Angeles Clippers were playing on the road for a second consecutive night and were without one of their regular contributors in Eric Gordon, but New York still couldn't match their effort, losing 116-108. The game started as a dunk-off, with neither team playing much interior defense. After that, though, the Clippers tightened things up and New York fell apart completely. On one end, Baron Davis broke down the defense repeatedly to find Ryan Gomes outside or DeAndre Jordan in the paint. On the other, the Knicks kept settling for jumpers, but could not convert their usual perimeter shots. The deficit got as large as 19 in the third quarter before the Knicks stormed back.

As usual, though, the comeback was too little, too late. An otherworldly fourth quarter from Randy Foye (17 of his 24 came in the final period) ensured that the Knicks crept no closer than within three. While Foye coolly drilled one contested jumper after the other, New York's backlash gradually faded, and so did their chance of winning.

Amar'e Stoudemire shot efficiently once more, dropping 23 points, but was limited to just 26 minutes because of foul trouble stemming from his battle with Blake Griffin (who was solid, not sensational in his NBA Madison Square Garden debut). Danilo Gallinari had 21, balancing an awful shooting night with a 14-14 showing at the free throw line. Raymond Felton also struggled at times, but managed a line of 17 points and 12 assists. Timofey Mozgov, who saw most of his minutes in the first half, finished with an impressive 18 points and six rebounds on 8-9 shooting.

The Knicks now face an even better Los Angeles squad in the Lakers, who come to town on Friday.

See Posting and Toasting for more Knicks coverage.

Final - 2.9.2011 1 2 3 4 Total
Los Angeles Clippers 28 30 30 28 116
New York Knicks 29 18 31 30 108

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