Tag Archives: Amar’e Stoudemire

The Sacrificial Lamb

Can Melo and the Knicks rise above Rose and the Bulls or will they just be a sacrificial lamb? (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)

Let’s look at some good news for the New York Knicks: 1. There are eight playoff spots in each conference and the Knicks are holding onto that final spot. 2. Tonight they will play the Milwaukee Bucks with a chance to give themselves some breathing room. 3. Their remaining schedule includes: the Wizards, Cavaliers, Nets and Bobcats.

Now time for the bad news: Presently the Knicks are four and a half games out of the sixth spot. They are going to have to play the Bulls first round. All season long the teams in the East have known the last two to get in would have to play either Chicago or Miami in the first round. Hopefully they give out participation trophies.

The past two games the Knicks have played came against the Bulls and they saw two very different teams. On Easter Sunday they pulled out an overtime victory at the Garden with Melo dropping a cool 43 points. The Knicks have tried to find ways to balance their offense and ensure their scorers get equal touches, but so far this method seems to work best with Amar’e Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin being off the floor with injuries. Some sided with Melo, others with Lin, but it seems they just can’t play well together. Melo reminded the basketball community that he is one of the best scorers in the Association regardless of what else may happen around him. Credit for this win doesn’t all go to Anthony however as Iman Shumpert continued his terrific rookie season making Derrick Rose’s return from injury a nightmare. The Bulls with Rose have similar, less pronounced, issues as the Knicks. When their secondary squad is on the floor they play an unselfish brand of basketball with plenty of ball movement that is difficult to defend, but when they have to appease multiple primary scorers they can’t seem to get it done. Last night the Knicks played in Chicago against the Roseless unit. They got spanked. The Bulls had more than 20 assists and Rip Hamilton went off in the second half making it a difficult evening for New York.

Ok the glass is half full. The Knicks play the Bulls in the first round with Rose on the floor. Shumpert has shown that he can defend Rose. The criticism of Chicago is if you take away Rose they don’t have much to support him. Clearly that isn’t the case because they have gone 16-7 without the reigning MVP, but when he is on the floor it looks like he is out there all by himself. Being optimistic let’s say Amar’e returns in time for the first round. Now they would have the Melo and Amar’e combination that worked so well last season with Baron Davis, who is gelling with Melo, running the point. They have a shot to knock off Chicago and escape the first round.

Realistically speaking I think the Knicks can take the series 6 games and make it competitive and entertaining. Mike Woodson has done an excellent job since returning by allowing players to use their strengths and skill-sets while challenging them to work harder on the defensive end. We knew going into this it would take some time for this unit to gel, but the Knicks are starting to play like a team at the right time.

-Erik

Should the Knicks be optimistic judging by the split two game set with the Bulls? Let us know what you think via our twitter (@seeuinoctober) or leave us a comment.

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Russell Region: #2 Lawrence Taylor VS. #15 Amar’e Stoudemire

This is a particularly flawed 2/15 match up. The number two has some serious off-field issues, which can hurt come tournament time just ask Syracuse, and the 15 doesn’t have the resume yet to really hang with the big dogs. Could we have our Cinderella story as the new guy in New York looks to make his mark?

When it comes to the New York Football Giants people think of a strong ground game and tough defense. Lawrence Taylor left his mark on that legacy throughout his career with the exclamation point coming when he shattered Joe Theismann’s leg on Monday Night Football. LT was such a force that he literally changed the game. In 1986 he became the only defensive player to unanimously win the MVP. During the first six years of his career LT was named Defensive rookie of the year and Defensive Player of the year three times. He was a crucial part of the Giants’ first two championships. Now the G-Men are notorious for a devastating pass rush built on the strong shoulder pads of number 56.

The New York Knicks took their time to rebound back to relevance after the Patrick Ewing era, but then again so did the NBA post Jordan. Last off-season during one of the most frenzied free agency period in sports history, the Knicks made their first move signing Stat City from the Phoenix Suns. In his first season with the team Amar’e along with Melo took the Knicks to the playoffs for the first time since 2004 and their first winning season since 2000. He may be a defensive liability with bad knees, but offensively he is a force and has really helped the Knicks become a decent squad in the East. Plus he’s Jewish, which counts for something in New York.

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The Knicks Need to Turn Over a New Leaf

Melo and the Knicks are falling fast. (D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images)

The post all-star break Knicks look about as hopeless as the pre-linsanity Knicks. Currently in the midst of a four game road trip, New York has lost the first three and four of the last five. Jeremy Lin has gone from the one point guard who could run Mike D’Antoni’s system to, well, an undrafted decent player from Harvard with poor ball control. Things look pretty bleak for the Knicks, but considering this team was thrown together in the off-season, surely it isn’t all bad.

Still we’re going to start with the bad because it is obvious. Even with Lin running the offense there is poor ball movement. He is no longer taking the league by surprise and teams are really putting a lot of pressure on the second year player on offense and defense. Lin looks intimidated to attack the paint, which is the key to the Knicks offense. He was fearless when he first broke into the starting line up giving the Knicks a credible ball-handler, distributor and scorer all in one Asian package. Now with a full complement of scorers, the offense looks stagnant again. Blame Melo? He is part of the problem, but not because of his selfish play. He has not been shooting the ball well going 2-12 with six points against Dallas.

Offensively the Knicks are settling for bad shots and falling into big deficits early. If it wasn’t for the out-of-this-world shooting streak Steve Novak is on from behind the arc, these losses could be much worse. The Knicks need to feed Chandler inside more and attack defenses inside-out. They can’t be afraid to draw contact and play physical basketball. That applies on both ends of the court. The defense is still a problem as it will always be with Mike Antoni at the helm and Amar’e and Melo leading the team. Tyson Chandler needs to be a strong presence in the paint so that opponents will fear driving to the hole. Right now it is a wide open lane.

On a positive note, or I think it is a positive note, the Knicks have great depth. The second team is often outplaying the first team with Baron Davis getting healthier and Novak shooting at a ridiculous percentage. Iman Shumpert continues to have a good rookie season and is the spark that ignites the second unit. Defensively he is the only player really willing to get dirty and punish teams for poor ball handling. He is averaging two steals a game. The second unit allows the team back into games that seemed impossible because they can make stops. If Melo, Lin and company could come up with those stops, we would see a different Knicks team.

They have played difficult teams in the stretch with the Mavericks and Spurs on back to back nights on the road. Winning some of these tests will help improve their playoff position as well as give the team some experience to draw from. The hope for this team is the incredibly high ceiling. Right now fans have to feel that they are playing as bad as they possibly can, but there is so much room for improvement. They need to clean up the sloppy play, step up the defense and penetrate on the offense.

-Erik

Are the Knicks really this bad? Let us know what you think via our twitter (@seeuinoctober) or leave us a comment.

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An Ode to Linsanity

Fans hope Jeremy will lead the Knicks to Linfinity and beyond. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)

In the past two weeks I’ve had people coming up to me who can’t even tell me who Eli Manning is asking what I think about Jeremy Lin. It the craze was dubbed Linsanity and it propelled the New York Knicks back into the playoff picture in the Eastern conference, where they should have been all season. Now teams around the league with the Knicks coming up on their schedule aren’t looking to stop Amar’e or Melo. No. They are searching for their own Salk vaccine for the Linfluenza. Since taking over the point Jeremy Lin has led the Knicks to eight lins and two losses. Last night was one of the losses and we here at SeeYouInOctober feel it is time to put Linsanity to bed with one last article rank with puns.

Now understand that we have class and tact. We are not going to post any puns we feel to be racially linsensitive like the ESPN headline “A Chink in the Armour.” That sounds like the guy in charge of creating the headline was drinking with buddies to celebrate the return of MSG and the Knicks to Time Warner Cable and he was dared to do it. Come on, that is just linsulting. It is hard to deny Jeremy’s impact both on the court and off since his linvasion with media attention linterrupting the lives of his friends and family back in Taiwan and rumors circulating about renting apartments and even dating Kim Kardashian. Fans can’t get enough of his linspirational story. Fans have to admire the way he has seized his lindow of opportunity. His stellar play even brought a linstant solution to the lingering dispute previously eluded to between MSG and Time Warner. Customers had limped on without the Knicks and Rangers for months despite the outstanding play of the Blue Shirts. But now it is back.

To kick things off Time Warner customers were treated with a gimmie game against the awful New Orleans Hornets. Unfortunately they crashed and burned like the Lindenburg. The foot started to come off the gas pedal just a little from the hype machine. It was the third game with Amar’e back the Knicks got caught looking ahead to a match up with the defending champion Mavericks. When Dallas arrived in the Garden, Tyson Chandler and the Knicks were ready for his former team. Offensively this was the kind of game Mike D’Antoni expects to see from his team moving forward. They lintroduced JR Smith to the line up. Smith, in his first NBA game since returning from China, and Steve Novak were deadly from behind the arc combining for 50% shooting in three point land and 29 points. The Knicks needed this linflux of scoring with teams starting to key in on Jeremy and Melo still out with a groinlinjury.

Last night was the moment fans feared with Melo returning. Would he be able to cure the linsanity? Like most scorers Anthony is known as a selfish player.

D-Will struck back with vengence and furious anger. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)

He can be a black hole on the court and stop the ball movement and flow that has really turned this offense on. The problem last night was not Melo. The problem was Derron Williams. D-Will knew he was the man who allowed the frenzy to start the last time these two teams played and has been on a tear ever since. The Nets’ point guard played one for the ages as he dropped 38 on Jeremy and the Knicks including 8-14 from beyond the arc. What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immoveable mania? The one with more to play for willlin every time. Nets’ coach Avery Johnson said the plan was to make Jeremy work on defense so he couldn’t recover for the offensive side of the court.

The losses are just bumps in the road. There is plenty of room for this team to improve going forward and Lin is only in his second year in the Association and has much to learn. The biggest weakness in his game is his linsecure handling of the rock. His turnover numbers are as historically significant as his scoring numbers to this point if not more so, but as he figures out the NBA those numbers should come down. The entire team is also still learning to play together with no off season workouts and limited practice time with the truncated schedule. It will take some time for them to get lin-sync. With the all-star break approaching they hope to get at least four practices lin during that time. Also concerning for fans is the health of Iman Shumpert. He was inactive for last night’s game and may continue to sit on the bench until after the all-star break with a knee linjury. Shumpert is still scheduled to participate in the dunk contest where he will be assisted by Jeremy. Those two are becoming linseparable.

-Erik

Is Jeremy the missing link? Give us your take on Lin-Sanity and your favorite use of Lin via our twitter (@seeuinoctober) or leave us a comment.

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Just Call Him Jeremy

Another guard falls victim to Jeremy Lin. (David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images)

The Big Apple has been clamoring for some good basketball since the truncated season began, but were extremely disappointed in the big three of the Knicks and realized Superman Dwight Howard wouldn’t be arriving in Metropolis when trade piece Brook Lopez went down. Then coming from the East, or really the West, Jeremy Lin arrived to kick off the Lin-sanity. The point guard and newly anointed starter was asked recently if he had a favorite pun like Lin-derella to which he responded. “I like Jeremy.”

While Lin himself may take a humble stance to his production, the media and fans aren’t shy about giving praise for his performance which has been anything but humble. This week he was given another name: East Player of the Week. He is the first Knick to receive the honor this season. Lin earned the honor in part because of his 109 points over his first four starts, the most since the merger. The team finds themselves in the midst of a five game winning streak, their longest of the season. It hasn’t been an easy road for Lin who has had to play against all-star guards like Kobe Bryant and Derron Williams as well as other new comers like John Wall and Ricky Rubio. During his duel with Kobe, a fan at the Garden held up a sign proclaiming Lin the “Yellow Mamba,” a play on Bryant’s nickname of Black Mamba, referring to a deadly snake not his race. Not really sure if that is kosher…

Boxer Floyd Mayweather has weighed in on the Lin-sanity saying it is more about his race than play. “Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he’s Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don’t get the same praise,” tweeted Mayweather. Actually they don’t. When a player is the best in history that means he has risen to a level above the competition. Despite the hype Iman Shumpert didn’t put up numbers like Lin’s and despite the hope Toney Douglas is riding the pine behind Lin because of a lack of production. In the same way this isn’t about race Floyd, the reason many boxing fans don’t like you isn’t because you’re black, it’s because you won’t fight Pacquio.

What does help the Lin-stant success is that both Caremlo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire have been missing. Tonight Amar’e will rejoin the team for a

When Melo returns will the Lins keep coming? (NBAE/Getty Images)

showdown with Toronto after mourning the loss of his brother. Stoudemire’s game projects to mesh well with the new star as he is one of the best pick and roll players in the league and made most of his reputation while playing with one of the Association’s best in Steve Nash. To this point Melo has been forced to run the point, but he is a scorer, not a distributor. So the biggest question will be how will Melo play with Lin?

Melo has taken the brunt of the criticism along with coach Mike D’Antoni for the Knicks’ struggles this season. He has earned his reputation as a black hole and ball movement has been dismal, but with Lin taking over and attacking the hole, the offense has opened up. He forces teams to cheat toward the lane and has found Tyson Chandler inside at a much higher rate. The center is scoring nearly three more points per game since Lin has taken over. When Melo returns from his current groin injury the scoring will have to be spread out a little further. When Melo teamed up with Chauncey Billups in Denver, he had his best seasons. A better distributor can give Melo better looks and higher percentage shots. It stands to reason that Lin’s scoring numbers will go down, but he can continue to play well with the full complement of Knicks. So as the Lin-sanity calms down will the story transition to the team as a whole?

-Erik

Have the Knicks found the missing Lin-k? Let us know what you think via our twitter (@seeuinoctober) or leave us a comment.

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On A Lin and A Prayer

Have the Knicks offensive questions been answered?

Wait this isn’t a Giant post. What’s going on? Well football season is over and while I will take the rest of the week to celebrate my G-men’s Super Bowl victory, it’s time to pay attention to the other major sports. It has been tough for New Yorkers recently in the NBA with both the Knicks and Nets struggling mightily. The little three of the Knicks has underperformed and hasn’t really learn to play together. So how can they right the ship? Play without the three superstars could be the only answer.

Monday night the New Jersey Nets went to the Garden to take on the Knicks in a battle for TriState supremacy. Unfortunately they aren’t in Brooklyn yet and Manhattan will always win over Jersey. Despite a poor offensive night for Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks took home the victory 99-92 thanks in large part to Jeremy Lin. The point guard, who was cut by the Golden State Warriors, exploded for 25 points.

With such a giant splash Lin was given the start on Tuesday. Tragedy struck the Knicks’ center Amar’e Stoudemire and his family as his brother was killed in a car accident. Stoudemire has understandably left the team to grieve and won’t return until Monday in time for Tuesday’s meeting with the Toronto Raptors. Without the Hebrew Hammer, Anthony and the rest of the crew welcomed the Utah Jazz. Melo, who leads the team in scoring, didn’t even last six minutes before leaving the game with a strained right groin. Lin continued to earn his minutes with a 28 point performance. It is incredible to think that it took 25 games for Mike Antoni to find someone to run the point. His system is designed to elevate the play of point guards and helped Steve Nash win two MVP awards.

Tonight Lin continued to dazzle with a 23 point game. The Knicks picked up their third straight win over the Washington Wizards. Lin has elevated the play of the rest of the team. The offense looks more like a fluid unit than the Melo show. Tyson Chandler has had a greater contribution to the offensive side of the court since Lin began running the point. The Harvard grad went undrafted after playing four productive years with the Crimson. Lin is also the first American Born Chinese player in the Association. (ABC in the NBA) It is hard to believe that Lin will continue to perform at such a high level because of his lack of talent. However, if there is one thing Coach Antoni is good at it is working with a point guard. While fans thought they were waiting for Baron Davis, perhaps the starting point guard has arrived just in time to save their playoff lives.

-Erik

Can Jeremy Lin keep up his play when Melo and Amar’e return? Let us know what you think via our twitter (@seeuinoctober) or leave us a comment.

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All That Gliters Isn’t Gold

Amar'e and the Knicks got smothered by Cleveland last night. (David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty Images)

New Yorkers had high expectations for this season. Gotham finally had a Batman, a Robin and a Nightwing, but now it looks like the “big 3″ are closer to Larry, Curly and Moe. Last night the Knicks got beat by the Cleveland Cavaliers and in case you’ve been asleep for the past two years, LeBron James doesn’t play for them anymore. Last season Cleveland was a terrible team and they beat New York 91-81.

So how is it that this team built on offense fails to score 90 points in a game? The easy answer is their lack of a true point guard to run the offense. If you’ve read the Knicks posts all season you already know that, but this far into the season they should have figured out an answer. Waiting on Baron still gives the team some hope, but even if Davis returns to his best playing days it may be too little too late. This team is in desperate need of leadership. The veteran players are tremendous scorers, but lack toughness and playing in the East, your toughness is tested every single game.

Fingers have been pointed at coach Mike Antoni and now they are looking to the star of the team: Carmelo Anthony. The word ball-hog is used on Sports Center to describe Melo’s play more often than anything else. When the Knicks made the trade with Denver last season they believed they were getting a premier scorer who could take them deep into the playoffs. They sent away role players and unproven talent, but now they may regret the move. It is the widely held belief that the NBA is a star driven league and while that might work for marketing, it doesn’t necessarily  turn into championships. After Melo left the Mile High City, the Nuggets played well down the stretch and now they are the second best team in the west in this young season.

How is it that they could have lost that talent and actually improved? It was a simple case of addition by subtraction. Basketball, like all sports, isn’t difficult on paper. It is about ball movement. Making defenses work to cover every single player at all times. When a star draws the double team, they kick it out to the one open man working the ball to the paint and back out to the three point line. That’s why the big 3 in Miami has worked so well. LeBron James is the best player on the floor every night and is scoring at will this season, but he is also one of the best distributors in the game. He understands ball movement and how to create flow on the court. He also plays defense.

The difference in defensive battles, which are so common in the Eastern conference, can be one or two possessions. This team can’t allow teams to shoot as well as they have. Contesting shots and making other teams earn every point creates momentum with fast break points and wasted possessions.  My colleague Al Thoma said of the Knicks defense, “You’d be surprised. Sometimes I see them play spurts of defense.” (Check out his blog http://alssportsspot.blogspot.com/) That clearly isn’t enough when the offense can’t score. This team is down and hurting right now. If this season is a sports movie, they better hurry up and find some inspiration.

-Erik

Was the trade for Melo a bad move for the team? Let us know what you think via our twitter (@seeuinoctober) or leave us a comment.

 

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It’s Tough to Win When You Get Outscored

Other than Shumpert, what is there to be excited about? Potential? (Layne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty Images)

It’s nice to start a posting with some positive news and notes, so let me first say it is still very early in the NBA season. We are about a quarter of the way through the shortened season, but not quite yet, and teams are still searching for their identity. It is still difficult to differentiate the contenders from the pretenders as the Philadelphia 76ers sit second in the East while the Boston Celtics are on the outside looking in. The Knicks own a 6-7 record and the eighth and final spot from the east after dropping their past three in a row.

For a team that came into the season with such high expectations, how could they be so mediocre? Many deficiencies we spoke about in the last post including the lack of a true point guard to facilitate the offense. It is still based primarily on individual effort from Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. In their latest loss to the Orlando Magic, Melo took 40% of the team’s shots while only hitting nine of 27. The lack of chemistry is astounding with this team as they struggle to create a flow and ball movement offensively. They need to work the ball into Tyson Chandler more to collapse the defense and open up shooters. It is difficult not to continue to beat the drum of problems with the offense as a run and gun style team can’t keep up with opponents scoring. The problems on the defensive end of the court were, well expected.

Nobody ever claimed that Mike D’Antoni’s teams had a balanced attack. The only “D” you will ever find in respect to this coach won’t be found in his game plan or philosophy, but in his last name. Therefore in order to debunk the irony, he will henceforth be known as coach Antoni. Perhaps the Knicks need to bring in Ted Orion, the man who relpaced Gordon Bombay as coach of the Mighty Ducks and taught the team how to play two way hockey. Iman Shumpert continues to shine both in the hearts of fans and on the stat sheets currently sitting at third in the league in steals per game. The rookie plays tough and is an example to the veteran stars as to the type of game they need to start playing.

Individual efforts won’t fix these problems as they all stem from the core issue of chemistry. This unit is still in their first season together as Anthony didn’t

Melo and the Knicks are struggling (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

come to New York until late last season and there are many new pieces including Chandler and Shumpert. They need to learn each other’s tendencies and communicate, especially on defense. They aren’t bringing help from the weak side quick enough and are relying on Chandler to stop everything in the paint, but he can’t be expected to cover two men at once. If teams get Chandler into foul trouble early, the paint will be an open scoring lane. However in last night’s game it was the outside defenders who got worn out by Orlando’s shooters. With increased emphasis on Superman, guys like Ryan Anderson were left open and took advantage to the tune of a 17-35 night from behind the arc. This is where the communication is so important. Players need to realize who is stepping in for the double team and who is stepping out to pick up the open man.

Although the Knicks are in the playoff hunt, it is hard to consider them one of the top teams in the East. Before this losing streak they put together a four game win streak, their longest of the season. Three of the four were to the Pistons, Bobcats and Wizards, some of the worst in the association this season. The fourth win was an impressive victory against the 76ers in the Garden. Tomorrow the 4-8 Phoenix Suns come to Manhattan after playing the Bulls tonight. This should be an easy victory for New York as the Suns are currently riding a four game losing streak at the beginning of a five game road trip. Hopefully Coach Antoni will remind his former team why they should have held on to himself and Amar’e.

-Erik

Can the Knicks turn it around? With what we have seen thus far how high is the ceiling for this team? Let us know what you think via our twitter (@ seeuinoctober) or leave us a comment.

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Struggling in the Big Apple

Boris Diaw had a field day with "defensive specialist" Tyson Chandler. (Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Capital Region fans have found a positive to come out of the current dispute between MSG and Time Warner Cable: We don’t have to suffer through the awful Knicks games. The station that carries the majority of the Knicks, Rangers (this is the worst part since the Rangers are leading the Eastern conference and playing very well) and Sabres games has been blacked out as a result of a contract dispute between the provider and network. Last night the Knicks hosted the Charlotte Bobcats, not exactly an elite team, and lost their second straight home game 118-110, making them winless in the new year.

For a season that started with such high hopes, it has not started well. Outside of the Christmas day win over the Paul Pierce-less Celtics, New York is showing more flaws than promise. Going into the season there were obvious deficiencies with this team, but the belief was that the talent could cover up the holes. The most glaring problem was the lack of defense. Tyson Chandler was brought in as more of a defensive specialist in the middle of the floor, but the Knicks haven’t come up against a premier center yet, so his role has been limited. Last night power forward Boris Diaw wore out Chandler and the Knicks for a season high 27 points. The Bobcats shot an incredible 55% in the winning effort as they proved they could keep up with the high profile scorers on the Knicks.

The previous game against the Toronto Raptors, also not an elite team, was a lower scoring affair and not the type of game coach Mike D’Antoni wants to play. The Knicks need to set the tempo in all their games which will be tough in the east. Carmelo Anthony has been a consistent scorer for the Knicks averaging nearly 28 per game and is second only to LeBron James in the association. Another positive for New York was the return of Iman Shumpert last night. The promising rookie was expected to miss four weeks with a knee injury, but was out only 10 days. In his return to the floor Shumpert picked up 18 points coming in off the bench. Amar’e Stoudemire also made his return after missing the past two games. The Hebrew Hammer was second to Melo in points with 25 and led the team with 12 rebounds.

Even without a solid point guard the Knicks have shown the ability to put up the points that is expected of this roster, but it still is a selfish offense. New York ranks in the bottom five in the league in assists per game as they rely primarily on shooting and isolation plays. They need to find a way to introduce some fluidity into the offense or the stout defensive teams will shut them down and force them to pass the ball. The Knicks still aren’t getting penetration with consistency either. The team has proven they have shooters and need someone to take it to the hoop forcing the defense to collapse and give the shooters open looks.

The Knicks go on the road for their next to games to Washington and Detroit on back to back nights. This is an easy part of the schedule for New York and they need to pick up these victories before they face the surprising Memphis Grizzlies, the dominant Oklahoma City Thunder and Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic.

-Erik

What is the most important thing for the Knicks to do to turn this losing streak around? Let us know what you think via our twitter (@seeuinoctober) or leave us a comment.

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The New Look Knickerbockers

Amar'e and the Knicks rose above the Celtics. On the West Coast, not so much. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)

On Christmas day Knicks fans received the present they had been waiting for since the signing of Tyson Chandler and the formation of New York’s big three with a 106-104 victory over the Boston Celtics. The Knicks jumped out to an early lead in the first half and it looked as if the Celtics couldn’t keep up with the scoring as they took a 10 point lead to the locker room. In the second half Boston came out swinging as Rajon Rondo pushed the tempo, doubling the Knicks in the third quarter 35-17. Carmelo Anthony caught fire down the stretch  and helped lead New York back from eight down with his 37 point performance.

The Knicks survived the home opener and had a lot to smile about that day, but questions were raised by the final score. Boston played without Paul Pierce and still were able to push New York to the brink. There was no answer for Rondo, who showed why he is one of the best point guards in the NBA. The Knicks still don’t have a real answer for who will run the point with Toney Douglas struggling and Mike Bibby yet to make a real impact while many wonder if he still can this late in his career. Help could be on the way from Baron Davis, but that is at least two weeks out. Even when Davis enters the line up he is always a question mark as to how he will perform. After the Christmas game, the Knicks had a couple days off and when they came out on the west coast it looked like they had too much egg nog.

They took on the Golden State Warriors and it would seem that the stars were aligning for the Knicks to start 2-0 with Stephen Curry out for the game. Again the Knicks got off to a fast start and were up at the half 43-37. Offensively however they were struggling. New York only shot 40% from the field and a dismal 19% behind the arc. Against the Celtics it was Melo who carried the team, but in Golden State nobody stepped up. Amar’e Stoudemire led the Knicks with a double-double, but only 16 points. Chandler was a non-factor on the offensive side only contributing two points. Collectively the Knicks couldn’t even muster 80 as they lost the game 92-78. Landry Fields gave New York a boost with a 14 point performance, but without anyone else to lead the charge it was in vain.  If fields can get the scoring going with Melo and Stoudemire, that could be a lethal combination.

Fans could chalk the loss to the Warriors up to a number of factors. Perhaps they hadn’t adjusted to the Pacific time zone, I know I fell asleep before the final

Kobe and the Lakers blew by Melo and the Knicks. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)

buzzer. Maybe they overlooked the Curryless Warriors with Kobe and the Lakers on the schedule. Well that second one can’t be true because they went out last night and got beat in a wire to wire victory for the Lakers 99-82. The offense still isn’t team oriented. It looks like a collection of individual talents still learning how to play with each other. No one expected this Mike D’Antoni team with guys like Melo and Amar’e to play much defense. With his up-tempo run and gun style of play they will have to outscore teams. They aren’t getting any penetration right now and have been outscored in the paint in all of their games thus far.

The Knicks have also been out-rebounded and put up putrid numbers in the assists category. This offense has no flow and is desperately seeking an answer at point guard. Jeremy Lin was claimed off waivers, but he hasn’t seen much playing time yet as he is still getting comfortable with the team. Rookie Iman Shumpert had an impact in the preseason and gave fans hope, but he is out 2-4 weeks with a sprained MCL. New York is grasping at straws right now to try to fix the stagnant offense, which is supposed to be the strength of the team.

On the schedule tonight is a match up with the Sacramento Kings and Glenns Falls native Jimmer Ferdette. The former BYU standout saw significant playing time in the Kings game last night against the Bulls and contributed 14 points off the bench. I know the capital region was rooting for Ferdette to land with the Knicks, but now they will at least get to see him on the same court with the team.

-Erik

How can the Knicks fix the offense? Let us know what you think via our twitter (@seeuinoctober) or leave us a comment.

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