As the Knicks fell to a 21-41 record last night on their home court to the New Jersey Nets by a score of 113-93, there wasn't much to smile about. Fans weren't thinking about the future, and neither was Mike D'Antoni. They were thinking, how the heck did we just lose to the New Jersey Nets...again?
Just about two weeks ago the Knicks brought over Tracy McGrady and Eddie House in a deal that looked great on paper for the Knicks. However, since that time, the Knicks have won two games and lost seven. Tracy McGrady has been playing okay, but he really hasn't been superstar caliber, averaging less than 13 points a game. Meanwhile, in Boston, Nate Robinson is getting 10 a game, and Jared Jeffries has six ppg in Houston.
For the Knicks, though, you have to look past the statistics, for as bad as their record is, their overall statistics aren't that gruesome. They average near identical assist, rebound, and point per game totals as their opponents and aren't too far off in many other categories.
Their real problem this season has been making clutch shots and getting clutch stops. It seems that the Knicks are usually in the game down the stretch but fail to play for the full 48 minutes. 25 out of their 41 losses have been by 10 points or less, and 16 out of their 21 wins have been by six points or more. Those stats show that they are prone to losing close games.
Another problem with the Knicks is their three-point shooting. As a Knick fan, I don't even want to mention last night, but it is all too relevant. The Knicks set an NBA record by going 0-for-18 from behind the arc in their 113-93 loss to the 7-55 Nets. The Knicks rely too heavily on their three point shooting. They take 26 per game, while the rest of the league averages 18.7 a game. Also troubling is that their percentage is at 33.5 percent, while the league average stands at 35 percent.
The Knicks don't need to be a three-point shooting team. David Lee is a power forward who can shoot the ball. He has a tremendous outside game. He has not taken one three this season, and that is why he has become an All-Star. Wilson Chandler, Danillo Gallinari, and Al Harrington, all have the same ability, yet they live and die from the three point arc, and that white line is much more likely to kill you than keep you in games.
The Knicks biggest problem, of course, is their defense. They allow a staggering 105 points a game. This is tied for 27th in the NBA out of 30 teams. Meanwhile, their scoring is all right. It is tied for ninth in the NBA. However, when you get to the NBA, the games come down to defense. Scoring is a natural ability for most NBA players at this point. In order to win games, you need to find ways to get that big stop, and for the Knicks this season, that just hasn't happened.
So dream, Knicks fans. Someday we might have that team full of all-stars capable of winning a championship, but for now we are stuck with what we have, and what we have just hasn't been good enough.