The New York Knicks are 3-8 and have lost six straight games after falling to Denver, 120-118, Monday night. The Knicks are playing like a bad basketball. And, more ominously, they are beginning to sound like one.
Eleven games into the season, and it's enough for coach Mike D'Antoni to be satisfied that his team played hard?
The Knicks did rally from 16 points down, but, umm, Mike there are no moral victories in professional sports. You win or you lose. And when you lose with a team that most think has enough talent to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference you don't keep your job for long.
Star-Ledger columnist Dave D'Alessandro summed up the state of the Knicks this way:
This team has become hard to watch. Maybe it’s not Guatemalan-leaf-cutter-ants-eat-your-fingernails kind of torture, but it’s close, because the Knicks always play stupid when the situation calls for poise and intelligence, and butcher games they should win fairly easily.
The best example was Friday past in Minneapolis, where they kicked a 21-point, third-period lead in a dispiriting defeat marked by the way Kevin Love (31 points, 31 rebounds) and Michael Beasley (35 points) overwhelmed Amar’e Stoudemire and Wilson Chandler with such arrogant ease.
Two days later, Stoudemire trashed his team for its lack of urgency after Sunday’s loss to Houston — a game in which coach Mike D’Antoni started two rookies that nobody heard of two months ago, unless that nobody happens to be a sad and lonely scout embedded in Europe (Timofey Mozgov) or the Pac-10 (Landry Fields).
As for that other young cornerstone, a scout said this about Danilo Gallinari the other day: “The Knicks are starting to figure out that Gallo wears No. 8 for a reason: He runs like Yogi Berra, but I’m almost certain Yogi jumped higher.”
Anyway, Amar’e questioned his teammates’ hearts, temporarily ignoring the fact that Love literally took his away by going double-double on him two nights earlier. Then Amar’e spent the next few days walking back some of his remarks, with the disclaimer, “I never say comments that I regret.”
One of the problems with the Knicks, and a fairly surprising one for a D'Antoni team, is that they have no idea how to play good, solid offensive basketball. They have two plans when they have the ball -- a) throw it to Stoudemire and get out of the way, or b) somebody bomb up a three. Unfortunately for the Knicks, Option A can be stopped by defensively clogging the lane. Option B is pretty much stopped by the Knicks themselves, who rely on the three ball, but can't shoot it. They are 26th in the league in three-point accuracy at .321. Yuck!
The Knicks try again tonight in Sacramento. We will have a preview of that game later on.