New York Knicks: Missed Free Throws Are Becoming Area of Concern

Matt DienstagContributor IIIMarch 31, 2012

In Mike Woodson's return to Atlanta, injuries to his star players weren't the only thing that derailed the New York Knicks in a 100-90 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

The Knicks free-throw percentage is abysmal.

Last night, the Knicks were 22-of-33 from the charity stripe in a game they lost by 10 points. Besides the poor defensive effort and the lack of consistent point guard play, the Hawks were able to take advantage of the missed free throws and pull away in the fourth quarter.

According to, the Knicks are 21st overall in free-throw shooting percentage, shooting at just 74.6 percent on the season. While the percentage is better than seven other teams in playoff contention in the association, there is another statistic that makes it worse.

The Knicks are currently fourth overall in free-throw attempts per game, getting to the line for nearly 26 attempts per game, but given their below-average shooting percentage, they are averaging just a little more than 19 makes per game.

Landry Fields is at his best when he attacks the rim because his jump shot is very inconsistent. However, half of the time he penetrates he gets fouled, and he hardly ever makes both free throws. He is shooting under 60 percent for the season at the free-throw line.

Tyson Chandler is a mystery at the line; you never know what you're going to get. Some games he'll hit nearly all his free throws, and some games he can't hit water if he fell out of a boat. He is shooting under 70 percent on the season.

While the Knicks as a team do a great job of penetrating the lane and creating contact to get to the line, what good is it if you can't take full advantage of it? The missed attempts have definitely changed the momentum of the game at times, and it's becoming a cause for concern as the season winds down and the games get tougher.

Nothing is guaranteed for the Knicks.

The timetable for Jeremy Lin's return is still up in the air. What was originally thought to be a day-to-day knee issue has ballooned into a possible two-week absence during a grueling part of the Knicks schedule. Amar'e Stoudemire remains out indefinitely, and even if he is able to return, who knows what kind of contribution he will be able to provide.

There is no question that the injury bug has plagued the Knicks all season, but by missing on easy opportunities to rack up the points, they are not taking full advantage of one of their strengths. It's an overlooked statistic, but the Knicks' woeful free-throw shooting percentage has hindered the team all season.