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By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)
November 14th, 2013
Houston Rockets vs. New York Knicks
Post Game Recap
It was a valiant effort by the Knicks tonight but they were unable to overcome some mental shortcomings and questionable calls from the referees as they fell at Madison Square Garden to the Rockets 109-106. It looked as if almost all of the Knicks were not ready for the quick turnaround tonight after playing last night in Atlanta against the Hawks. It is hard to beat a team as talented as the Rockets when you have only two players on top of their game but that is the uphill battle the Knicks faced tonight that they were unable to overcome. Saturday marks the next game for the Knicks as they will take on the Atlanta Hawks again, this time at Madison Square Garden at 7:30 P.M. ET.
Co-Players of the Game: Andrea Bargnani and Carmelo Anthony
Bargnani and Anthony were the only two Knicks to show up tonight and compete against the Rockets.
Bargnani continues to put good game after good game together for the Knicks. It is too bad the team isn’t getting the wins at the end because this is the best stretch of basketball that Bargnani has had in a long time. Tonight Bargnani shot extremely well on the offensive end, going nine of 12 from the field a perfect three of three from the foul line en route to 24 points. He also added four rebounds, a block and surprisingly tough defense on Dwight Howard. Bargnani is known as a poor defender but he showed a lot of heart and toughness on the defensive end tonight against Howard. He drew two charges and made life difficult for Howard, who shot only one of five from the field. The Rockets weren’t trying hard to get Howard involved in the offense but Bargnani virtually shut him down whenever they did. Bargnani looks like a totally different person for the Knicks right now and is very encouraging sign moving forward.
Anthony put on a show on the offensive end, scoring 45 points on 17 of 30 shooting from the field, including two of four from deep and nine of 11 from the foul line. Anthony also added 10 rebounds as he was very active on the glass when he wasn’t putting the ball in the basket. It was another heavy minutes night for Anthony but he was in the zone tonight and nothing could slow him down other than himself. Anthony made a boneheaded move by fouling Howard with less than two minutes left, resulting in the Rockets picking whichever player they wanted to send to the foul line. The blunder gave the Rockets a free point as James Harden knocked down the freebie but he made up for it at the end, or so we thought. Anthony made a heave with five seconds left on the clock but the referee said the foul occurred before the shot attempt, sending Anthony to the line for two free throws instead of a possible four-point play. It was a disappointing end to the game for Anthony and the Knicks but without his dominance throughout the game they aren’t even in that position.
The Knicks were able to keep the turnovers to a minimum again tonight, totaling only nine for the night compared to 18 by the Rockets. This is where the Knicks were able to keep the game close as they scored 25 points off Rocket turnovers compared to the 13 the Rockets scored off of the Knicks turnovers.
The perimeter shooting was a strength once again for the Knicks as they are creeping more and more towards the successful team they had last season. Tonight they knocked down eight of 20 attempts, good for 40 percent led by five of seven from Anthony and Bargnani. Without those two the Knicks could have set records for futility tonight.
Raymond Felton was horrendous on both ends of the court tonight as the hamstring injury looks to have hindered him from playing even mediocre defense. Felton was a revolving door once again on the defensive end as any Rocket with Felton standing in front of him had a wide open lane to the basket. Felton did not make up for his shortcomings on the defensive end while playing offense, as the offensive end just mounted more problems for him. Felton turned the ball over five times, more than half of the team’s turnovers tonight. He also struggled with his shot once again, shooting only three of nine from the field. The Knicks need Felton to turn things around or they will never be able to get to the heights they believe they are capable of.
J.R. Smith had a gaudy stat line but the shooting numbers killed the Knicks the most. Smith took it upon himself in the fourth quarter to try and get into the game, phasing Bargnani out of the offense in the process. Smith has to find his niche with this team and it is not as a go-to scorer in crunch time. He would be much better suited setting up along the three point line and shooting when team’s double Anthony and let Bargnani be the second option. Smith was not on with his shot tonight, making only four of his 16 attempts and looked to be doing a little much on offense. The rest of his stat line was impressive though, as he grabbed eight rebounds, the second highest on the team, four assists, three steals and one block.
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Mike Woodson has to set this team up better for success. The minute distribution tonight made no sense and he allowed Smith to play out of control on offense as his most efficient and hottest shooting player of the game in Bargnani was forced to watch. How Smith got more minutes than Bargnani, Iman Shumpert and even Tim Hardaway Jr. is hard to fathom as each of those three was doing much more to help the Knicks out tonight than Smith was. Woodson has to get things together to weather the storm while Tyson Chandler recovers and the Knicks figure everything out.
The Knicks were absolutely torched by the Rockets perimeter players tonight. James Harden scored 36; Chandler Parsons added 22 and Jeremy Lin played well again off the bench, adding 21 of his own. They got into the paint at will against the porous Knicks perimeter defense and lived at the foul line; the Rockets attempted 44 free throws, knocking down 38, compared to only 27 for the Knicks, who made 22. The referees did not help the Knicks out tonight but it was a struggle all night on the defensive end and they have really no one to blame for the loss tonight but themselves.