The New York Knicks look like a team that plays to the level of their opponents, and nothing more.
The Charlotte Bobcats are a struggling team that will not make the playoffs, yet the Knicks played them as though they were fearful of them. New York has had disappointing second quarters, two games in a row in which they simply looked flat.
Against the Toronto Raptors, they were outscored 29-11. Against the Bobcats they were outscored 32-26. Both games were losses against teams that the Knicks should have beaten, and both of these were home games at Madison Square Garden.
New York had lacked effort defensively. They allowed the Charlotte Bobcats to score 118 points. The Bobcats? They are one of the worst teams offensively in the league. It all comes down to effort for the Knicks.
The Knicks are a team with a lot of talent, but they have lapses where they do not want to play defense. Until the last two minutes of the game on Wednesday night against Charlotte, already trailing by double digits, they had not shown any fight defensively.
The Knicks suddenly began to scramble for loose balls and follow up on missed shots. This is unacceptable against any team, especially below average ones. New York needs to play hard for the entire game, if they want to be taken seriously when it comes to the playoffs.
The Knicks have lost to the Golden State Warriors after getting outscored 28-14 in the fourth quarter in a game they led for the most part. They have also lost to Toronto and now Charlotte. Three games the Knicks should have won.
The only loss that was acceptable this year was against the Los Angeles Lakers. If the Knicks play an entire game with the effort that teams are playing with against them, then they would be 5-1 instead of 2-4.
A 5-1 record at this point in their schedule would not be that far fetched. I think most Knicks fans would take any winning record, but not a 2-4 record against the teams that they have played.
Mike D'Antoni will obviously take some blame for the Knicks efforts as of late. Everyone knows the lack of defense trait that his teams often carry. But the least he can do is get his team to play with some effort. If he is not going to get the job done in New York, then it is only a matter of time before the fans make their voices heard, and changes are made.
Tonight the Garden sounded restless and rightfully so. Fans are paying good money to see a quality product. The last thing they want is their team to give a lackadaisical effort.
At the end of the day, it is the players who wear the jerseys and play the games. The Knicks as a whole need to prepare themselves for an entire game, rather than deciding as they go when to try, and when to shut it down.