Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Knicks Struggles Continue Courtesy of Kyrie Irving

By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

New York Knicks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Post Game Recap

It was an improvement over Sunday afternoon’s debacle at Madison Square Garden but Tuesday night’s game was still an embarrassment for the Knicks as they fell to the Cavaliers 109-94. The Cavaliers were relentless all night as the Knicks had awful first and third quarters that essentially gave the Cavaliers the game. They trailed by 18 points in both quarters and with the loss matched the worst start in Knicks franchise history, losing 11 of the last 13 games. The seat is getting hotter for head coach Mike Woodson who may not even make it to Tyson Chandler returns to give him his full complement of players to use. Things won’t get any easier for the Knicks as they will return home to take on the Chicago Bulls Wednesday night at 8 PM ET.

Player of the Game: Carmelo Anthony

Mark Duncan/AP Photo
It is tough to recognize a player for doing anything positive in such a poorly played game but once again Anthony came out and tried his best to carry his team to victory. Anthony shot the ball efficiently from the field, going 12-19 from the field (3-4 3pts and 2-2 FT) for a team high 29 points to go along with eight rebounds. Anthony also added three assists; a number that would have been higher had anyone made their shots nearly as efficiently as Anthony did. He only turned the ball over once as well, an impressive number with how often the ball was in his hands and how much of the decision making he has to do with the Knicks on offense. Anthony continues to put forth outstanding effort and why the rest of his teammates are not following suit is inexcusable.


Amar’e Stoudemire had another strong game on the offensive side of the ball and the Knicks were actually competitive during his time on the court. Stoudemire registered a season high 27 minutes, knocking down 7-10 shots from the field (1-1 FT) to finish the game with 15 points. He also added five rebounds, one steal and two impressive blocks on Cavaliers power forward Tristan Thompson. Stoudemire looked into the flow of the game tonight and has played his best basketball recently, albeit it against trainers wishes as his minutes restrictions have been altered a little bit with no other options being available on the bench.

Like it has been most of his career with the Knicks, Pablo Prigioni gave them productive minutes in his time on the court. Tonight Prigioni led the team in assists, with nine, while adding three rebounds and six points on 2-5 from the three point line. Prigioni saw an increase in minutes tonight because Raymond Felton looked to have re-aggravated his hamstring/hip so he could see much of the same tomorrow night against the Bulls. It would really not be a bad thing seeing Prigioni on the floor more as good things usually happen for the Knicks when he’s out there.

For how poorly the game ended tonight the Knicks cannot fall back on their favorite excuse of the ball not moving being the excuse for them losing. Tonight the Knicks assisted on 27 of their 40 baskets and shot 46 percent overall from the field. The three-point shooting was not as sharp as it could have been as they went 10-31 from deep but the ball movement was not the problem tonight.

Mark Duncan/AP Photo

The defensive effort once again tonight was absent. The Cavaliers as a team shot 42-74 from the field overall, good for 56.8 percent. They were just as efficient from the three point line, going 9-19 (47.4%). Like most games this season the onslaught was led by the opposing point guards. Tonight Kyrie Irving torched the Knicks to the tune of 37 points (12-23 FG, 4-7 3pt, 5-6 FT) and 11 assists. Irving put on a show throughout the night showcasing his ball handling skills and jump shot with ease. Irving was not alone as backup point guard Jarrett Jack joined in on the show, scoring 17 points (6-8 FG, 3-5 3pt, 2-3 FT) of his own.

Andrea Bargnani struggled once again from the field. He scored 11 points but needed 17 shots to do so, making only five. He missed all three of his three point attempts and went 1-2 from the foul line in 32 minutes. He did not offer much help in the rebounding department, pulling down only three. He did play surprisingly well one-on-one defense on Andrew Bynum, who shot 1-6 from the field in his 24 minutes of play. Bargnani needs to get back on track as Anthony needs a consistent scoring option next to him for this team to be successful.

J.R. Smith struggled once again on both ends of the court tonight. He struggled to keep anyone in front of him and was not shy with letting it fly on the offensive end either. He shot 5-14 from the field, 4-9 from deep, for 14 points. He did not attempt a free throw, which is a direct sign to him not being as aggressive as he can be. Smith made numerous questionable decisions and had three turnovers on the night. He sometimes still gets preferential treatment from Mike Woodson but even now Woodson has started showing some displeasure for how Smith is performing on the court.  

As mentioned with Smith, the Knicks as a whole tonight weren’t aggressive enough. They too often settled for jump shots instead of attacking the basket, resulting in only five free throw attempts. They made four of them but that is nowhere near enough attempts in a full game. On the contrary, the Cavaliers attempted 22 free throws on the night, making 16 of them. Irving alone attempted more free throws than the whole Knicks team. 

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