By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)
Friday, December 13th, 2013
New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics
Post Game Recap
The Knicks suffered a hard fought, heart breaking loss Friday night in Boston 90-86. It is the second time in a week that the Celtics defeated the Knicks, after a rout Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. This is a terrible loss for the Knicks as they have dropped the first two meetings of the season with the Celtics The Knicks had control in the game, going up by 11 in the fourth quarter after falling down by as many as 17 in the first half. Unfortunately the reoccurring story of a stalling Knicks offense played out again and they faltered down the stretch. The Knicks fall to 6-16 with the loss tonight and sit in the basement of the Atlantic Division.
Player of the Game: Amar’e Stoudemire
For the second consecutive game Stoudemire receives the player of the game. He came up huge once again for the Knicks on the offensive end, scoring 18 points on 7-9 shooting. He showed off his increasing confidence knocking down multiple jump shots once again. He also played 30 minutes again, which could cause some concern for the Knicks; Kenyon Martin was forced out of the game in the fourth quarter with an abdominal strain. Stoudemire may not be available for the Knicks tomorrow and it would be a huge blow, I have said it once and I will say it again that he is the most efficient scorer the Knicks have. No one scores as easily on the team as he does and without him making easy baskets it will be tough sledding for the Knicks tomorrow night.
The Knicks were able to bounce back from a poor start and actually get control of the game for the better part of the second half. They fell down 17 in the first half but stuck to the game plan and really dug in defensively to get themselves back in the game. For the better part of the game the Knicks were able to keep the ball moving and score pretty easily. On the night they got 20 assists on their 32 makes for the game. After getting torched Sunday by Jordan Crawford from the field, he was held without a made basket tonight. Leading scorer Jeff Green was held in check as well, scoring only eight points but he did end the Knicks night with an and-one with less than a minute left in the game.
In Sunday’s matchup one of the appalling things was how badly the starting lineup was outplayed. Tonight every Knicks started finished with a positive +/- ratio. The only negative to it was that they were the only group of players that really had any success, resulting in Mike Woodson having to ride them hard, especially with a game tomorrow night. As a result Carmelo Anthony played 42 minutes, Andrea Bargnani played 38, Pablo Prigioni played 39 and Martin was lost to an abdominal strain.
Anthony will be put into a negative spot by many people for tonight’s game but he did everything he could to help the Knicks to a win tonight. Sometimes there is just nothing you can do about it. Anthony is relied upon to get the Knicks out of ruts and tonight he was asked to do the same. The difference was that he was in no position to do so and was put in tough positions by Woodson. Anthony finished the night with 26 points (9-24 FG, 3-7 3pt, 5-6FT), four rebounds and three assists. Anthony was quoted as saying he was okay being a decoy at times tonight but the rest of the team was not on the same page and Anthony was put in a tough spot and had the blame wrongly placed on him.
The loss of Martin is not done justice by putting it in words. With him sidelined seemingly for the foreseeable future the Knicks will lose a lot of toughness and intensity that no one else on the roster seems to bring with them outside of Tyson Chandler. Whenever Martin has been out with Chandler sidelined has been the games in which the Knicks struggled the most. Tonight in only 24 minutes Martin racked up seven rebounds, four steals and multiple intimidations, one of which resulted in Celtics backup point guard Phil Pressey blowing an open layup.
The Knicks guards tonight were as inept as you could be offensively. The quintet of Prigioni, Shumpert, JR Smith, Beno Udrih and Tim Hardaway Jr. combined to shoot 3-20 in the game. That will not get it done offensively if you cannot get any production from your perimeter players. We also witnessed something no basketball fan thought they would ever witness; people clamoring that Smith did not shoot enough. Smith came out and looked more than comfortable not shooting the ball and just being a facilitator; okay in regular circumstances but not when Anthony thinks he is a decoy and is not expecting to have to carry the offense. Shumpert is lacking the confidence and bravado that made him loved by fans the past two seasons and looks like he is ready to say goodbye to New York for a new start elsewhere.
The Knicks were destroyed in the paint by Jared Sullinger in the early going. The portly but agile big man was extremely active, scoring 19 points and grabbing six rebounds, just making life miserable for the Knicks throughout the night. The Knicks struggled to slow down his backup Vitor Faverani as well. Faverani scored seven points and pulled down four rebounds in only 14 minutes of play. The Knicks big men were unable to contend with the energy and competitiveness of both Sullinger and Faverani throughout the night.
Woodson is lucky to be going back to New York with a job. He does nothing to help put this team in a position to win games. Tonight he looked lost attempting to put together a rotation or working lineups. He showed too much trust in an obviously off Smith, relegating Shumpert and Hardaway to the bench. Udrih was giving the Knicks nothing and instead of trying to get Prigioni some spot rest by giving a shot to rookie Toure Murry, he ran Prigioni into the ground. The decisions he made tonight are mind boggling as he rode his regulars hard tonight even though the Knicks are set to play again tomorrow night and it still resulted in a loss. His dependency on isolation plays is also killing the offense. The Knicks offense became stagnant and ugly to watch down the stretch once again. When a game gets close Woodson chokes and decides against what was working to throw the ball into Anthony in isolation. This puts unfair pressure on Anthony as the isolation does not give him a chance to score efficiently and wears him down when the Knicks need him most.