Last night was ugly. After the Knicks game, I wanted nothing to do with anyone. Truth be told, I still don’t. But since writing tends to be therapeutic at times, I decided to write a quick blog with random thoughts and questions about the New York Knicks. They’re not in any particular order. My mind doesn’t work like that, lol. Instead, it’s just a brain dump or rambling list of things that have pissed me all the way off about this series.
Let’s dive in.
If I had 3 seconds with Mike Woodson, I’d ask, ‘Why doesn’t Chris Copeland get more minutes?’ Because he’s lax on defense? I’m not buying that. Copeland’s contributions in other areas of the game i.e. offense and his willingness/ability to take a charge cannot be overlooked. When he gets minutes, he’s never not efficient. For the second straight game, he came in and knocked down a three. He’s the one player on the team that always manages to be productive regardless of how long he’s been on the bench. With JR Smith hungover from spending late nights with Rihanna, Carmelo desperately needs help on the offensive end. Cope can be that dude. He gets buckets. Give Cope a chance. It’s never a regrettable move. Ever.
What happened to Pablo Prigioni? Why did he only log three minutes? Call me crazy, but when Pablo’s on the floor, good things happen. The ball movement is there and dudes get better shots. I don’t understand Woodson’s logic in “rewarding” Jason Kidd with playing time when he’s playing so poorly. Prigioni also has amazing instincts defensively. He should not be buried on the bench behind Jason Kidd who hasn’t scored in three weeks…eight games…384 minutes! Have you seen his game log lately? If you didn’t know any better, and looked strictly at his points column, you’d assume he received a DNP. That’s how terrible he’s been. Offensively, Pablo isn’t pouring on the points either, but at least he’s not afraid to shoot! When Kidd gets the ball, and has an open look, he passes it off quicker than someone playing a game of hot potato (did I just show my age with that reference?). Considering the Knicks are losing the battle of the boards, we need to rely on other ways to create first and second opportunities. Coming up with steals is a viable option, especially given Prigioni’s quickness. Having him on the bench for 45 minutes was a bad Coach’s decision.
Speaking of steals, Shump should never ever sit on the bench for as long as he did last night. I don’t care if he was 0-6. During this series, he’s been our best player. Certainly the most consistent. If his knee wasn’t an issue, he should’ve been on the floor. Period.
Why hasn’t Woodson been more critical of the referees? It’s clear the refs have a vendetta against the Knicks. They have all season. The players are visibly frustrated on the court because of all of the bullshit calls made against them. Last night, the Pacers had 30 attempts from the stripe compared to the Knicks’ 14. Melo, a superstar, only had 5 FT attempts. During the series, the Pacers have had 25 more free throw attempts than the Knicks (97 – 72). What part of the game is that? I think the most frustrating part about watching the refs make and miss calls is the blatancy. While watching the game at home, I’m ready to throw bows, so I can’t imagine how the players must feel. Keeping your emotions in check is necessary, but I also know it’s a lot easier said than done. Long before last night, Woodson should have taken one for the team, and eaten the fine that Daddy Warbucks Dolan would probably pay anyway. If nothing becomes of it, at least the players and fans know he acknowledged the situation. Speak up!
For the record, I’m not a Steve Novak fan. He’s had his moments but lately he’s been a huge disappointment. And for someone with a game as one dimensional as Novak’s, if he’s not knocking down shots, then he’s rendered just as useful as I’d be if I were part of the rotation. However, when nothing else works and the season is on the line, throw (almost) everything against the wall and see if it sticks. And in this case, I would lobby for Novak to get more minutes. For a good portion of the game, the Knicks were within striking distance and a three here or there would’ve gotten them right back in the game. Let’s face it, the Knicks have been struggling offensively. Novak has the ability to be deadly from the three, but it’s impossible to know if he can contribute anything if he’s not given a shot.
I get it. Amar’e Stouedmire is more fragile than the leg lamp from A Christmas Story. And defensively, he gets manhandled like a blowup doll. The Pacers have no respect for STAT’s poor excuse for defense. But check this out, since his return on Saturday, he’s looked solid offensively. He’s moving well, playing physical, getting to the basket, and grabbing rebounds. We need all of that. I understand why the Knicks are monitoring his minutes, but right now the Knicks are only guaranteed 48 more minutes this season. I say kick more minutes Amar’e's way, especially since JR Smith isn’t carrying the second unit like we’re used to. If Melo is going to rest, let Amar’e lead. It’s do or die and he’s the $100 million man, let him earn his check for once.
Who the hell does Tyson Chandler think he is to criticize the Knicks offense? His barely there defense this series has done nothing but magnify his nonexistent offensive game, especially considering how Roy Hibbert and Paul George have been killing the Knicks on both ends of the court. Before putting up a double-double last night, 12 points, 10 rebounds, he grabbed 3, 4, and 5 rebounds in Games 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Pathetic and inexcusable for someone his size. And generally speaking, he can’t even knock down a 10 ft. jumper. His game has been less than A+ and he’s in no position to come at anyone.
Why’d it take JR so long to start driving to the basket again? When Melo was injured and JR carried the team, it wasn’t because of his three point game, it was because he penetrated (pun intended) to the hole. Once he made that adjustment last night, he started to cook. It was a little too late, but maybe/hopefully it’ll give him the confidence he needs going into Game 5. If JR goes out like this, he can kiss that huge payday goodbye.
Should Mike Woodson be worried about job security? During the season, I would’ve Johnny Cochran’d anyone who didn’t agree that Woodson should receive Coach of the Year honors. I’m not saying he was the only rightful contender, but he definitely deserved to be in the conversation and by the time I was done with you, I would’ve made you a believer. But now, I can’t even convince myself that he’s worthy. His rotations have been baffling, inexplicable, and indefensible. In a must-win situation, he pulled all the wrong strings. Exhibit A: The Knicks are struggling to score, but he thinks a rotation of Chandler, Kidd, JR, and K. Mart at the same damn time will provide that offensive spark we need. It’s insane. The expectations for the Knicks to advance to the Eastern Conference finals were high. If they are eliminated by the Pacers, 4-1, could Woodson possibly get PJ Carlisimo’d out of NYC? Because my emotions are high and he has a reputation for coaching teams that choke in the playoffs, I would argue that it should be a consideration. But then reality sets in and I think the only coach I would want in New York is Phil Jackson and he said he’s done with coaching, so…*sigh*.
Rasheed Wallace, you are truly and deeply missed. Not only could you have given our bench depth, but your intangibles such as toughness and intimidation are invaluable and desperately needed against the Pacers.
I know I can’t be the only Knicks or NBA fan with these thoughts. If you agree, disagree, have your own random thoughts about this series, leave a comment below.