For most of the game against the Sixers last night, the Knicks just looked awful. But there was a stretch in the second quarter where the ball movement was crisp and the shots were falling. During that stretch the Knicks surged from behind to take a lead that they held for a while until Mike D’Antoni reinserted Jared Jeffries. We saw some of that ball movement last year, and its the key to Knicks’ gameplan if they want to win.
Other than that stretch, things were pretty ugly. There are a couple of aspects that stood out as contributing to the loss.
- The Knicks shot 30%. Hard to win when you shoot that poorly. However, are they going to shoot 30% from the floor this year? Not a chance. Well…
- Maybe Larry Hughes and Jared Jeffries will. I seriously would like to have a talk with coach D’Antoni and ask him if he really sat around during the offseason thinking, “I think the key to our improvement this year will be getting Jared out on the floor longer and give him more shots. That should get us into the playoffs.” For all the rave reviews Jeffries has gotten this off-season (which he seems to get every off-season), the result is the same old Jared Jeffries, with the added ability to hit one out of 5 threes. Yay.
- Finally, the Knicks lost so many games last year because they didn’t have a shot-blocker patrolling the paint. In the fourth quarter last night, Lou Williams strolled down the lane for lazy runners. Where was newly acquired shot-blocker Darko Milicic? On the bench. Darko impressed me on both ends last night when he played, and I think he should be out there when the game is on the line to foreclose the option of penetration for high percentage shots. We’ll see how this develops over the course of the year.