The three-pointers aren't falling, but the shots keep on coming for the New York Knicks. In a matter of speaking that is.
Honestly, we’re doing it to ourselves. I watched the tape myself and there are open looks. We have to be willing passers. You have to sacrifice yourself sometimes for the betterment of the team and for the betterment of your teammates. So when you drive in the paint and you draw, you kick it. I think we need to do a better job of allowing the game to dictate who takes the shots and not the individuals.
I’m not saying anyone is doing it maliciously. I think it is more so you get into a situation where you want to take over the game or you want to make a big shot where you (should) stick to the game plan. A good team wins basketball games. Unless you’re a great, great, great, great individual … and we only have a few of those come through.
We gotta get out and run. I think right now we’re not doing a good job of getting out on the break. We’re walking the ball up the floor. Our wings are not busting out. We have to get the ball out quick. That’s the only way you’re going to generate pace. You can’t walk the ball up the floor on them.
Chandler didn't name names, but then again, he didn't have to. He referenced the word "great" and "individual' enough times that it doesn't take much to conclude Carmelo Anthony is involved.
Though the former Defensive Player of the Year's sentiments are not necessarily a knock solely on 'Melo, or perhaps even J.R. Smith, they seem to preach urgency.
There is also a certain trace oddity in his words. Or rather, in the source of those words.
Chandler, who averaged the third-most points per game of his career during the regular season (10.4), isn't known for his scoring. He is, however, someone who thrives off pick-and-roll, cuts to the basket and general ball movement, which the Knicks don't have much of.
Credit Indiana's defense with disrupting New York's offensive flow, but it's the Knicks themselves that have holstered their oft-effective trigger fingers and slowed the pace down more than usual.
The Knicks finished dead last in assists per game during the regular season (19.3) and are dishing out just 15.1 for the postseason (also last). So while Chandler isn't an offensive savant, he's not exactly wrong either.
The Knicks don't have the luxury of falling into a hole and then eventually climbing back out of it. They're trailing the Pacers 2-1 and are heading into a hostile (albeit slightly empty [half kidding]) environment for Game 4. Returning to Madison Square Garden down 3-1 and facing elimination shouldn't be an option.
In other words, take note Carmelo (and J.R.). Chandler is deliberate in everything he does, right down to that unsightly beard of his. If he's talking, you better be listening, all the while staring at that gleaming championship ring of his.
Anthony is at least listening, or rather, aware of Chandler's assessment of New York's offense (via Marc Berman of the New York Post):
I don’t want to go back and forth with that. I don’t know exactly what he’s talking about. But if he feels that way, we’re about to get together right now amongst ourselves and figure that out and get his take and perspective on that comment. We’ll handle that internally and figure it out among ourselves.
Handling it internally, huh? That sure beats stalking Chandler on his way back to the Knicks' team bus or hotel room.
In all seriousness, 'Melo is right to want to sit down with Chandler, Smith and the rest of the Knicks. They all need to be on the same page offensively.
Their defense has been satisfactory, enough so that Indiana's offense hasn't looked out-of-character awesome anyway. It's their offense that has put them at a disadvantage. The same offense that ranked third in offensive efficiency this season.
But there's no time to focus on the irony of New York's current Achilles' heel. The Knicks just need to score.
They need to pass and then shoot their way into the Eastern Conference finals rather than aimlessly meander their way toward a second-round exit.
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