Something tells us that one of the biggest New York Giants fans this NFL postseason is New York Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni. With Big Blue’s playoff run in progress, the bloodthirsty New York media has something more important to concentrate on than the floundering Knicks, who continue to play poorly as the losses pile up. On Wednesday, New York fell at home to the Phoenix Suns, 91-88, in another brutal offensive performance for a team boasting two of the game’s great scorers.
The Knicks, who fell to an unimpressive 6-8 (and 3-4 at home) were burned by 26 points and 11 assists from the type of player they sorely lack, the ageless Steve Nash. Nash remains able to run a solid offense with a forgettable cast of characters, while the Knicks continue to be one of the worst offensive teams in the league, even with Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. The two Knicks’ stars haven’t been able to get on the same page and put together a good combined performance just about all year, and Wednesday was no different. The two combined for 12-of-44 shooting, with Anthony making just 5-of-22 attempts for 12 points. Stoudemire finished with a team-high 23 points, but made just seven field goals.
It was a close game throughout, and the only player keeping the Suns from truly pulling away in the last few minutes was Iman Shumpert. He hit four huge shots down the stretch including two three pointers to keep the Knicks in striking distance. But a wacky three-pointer by Shannon Brown — that caromed off the rim and backboard before rattling in — was the real dagger, putting the Suns up 85-80 with 35 seconds left. One of Shumpert’s threes followed, but Nash was able to salt the game away, scoring the Suns’ final six points from the free throw line.
As a team, the Knicks shot a dismal 37 percent as their team-wide offensive slide continued. A telltale sign of how far the Knicks are from being an elite team in the Eastern Conference is that the Suns were in the second game of a back-to-back. On Tuesday, the Suns were blown out by the Chicago Bulls, who were without their best player and reigning league MVP Derrick Rose. The Knicks, with their top two players playing 38 minutes apiece, were a few desperate shots from a rookie away from losing going away on their home floor to that same Suns team.
Baron Davis can’t get healthy soon enough, but it can certainly be viewed as a major slight that the Knicks are pining their hopes on an oft-injured, past-his-prime Davis to save their season. It’s becoming increasingly clear that the D’Antoni-Stoudemire-Anthony tandem just isn’t working out. Anthony and Stoudemire are signed to huge contracts and are the faces of the franchise. They’re not going anywhere. If things don’t change soon, the team will need a shakeup, and D’Antoni will be the top candidate to go.