Harris DeckerAfter a short two game winning streak, the Knicks came back down to earth on Sunday in disappointing fashion. They shot just 34% from the floor and opened the game on the wrong end of a 12-0 run. Everything in the game was stagnant but I don’t think it’s worth overreacting. It was one game and hopefully, won’t drive us back toward the “trade Melo” and “fire Woodson” story lines.
All of that said, I was upset with the team yesterday. The Boston Celtics are not a great team and even though the Knicks haven’t looked like a great team either, it seemed like a winnable matchup coming off two blowout wins in the past week. What we saw from the Celtics was a calculated, balanced attack led by Jordan Crawford and Jared Sullinger. Notice, once again, that it’s a guard and a center hurting the Knicks. Those are the positions that are weak and other teams know that.
It’s become very clear over the last week that as Raymond Felton goes, so go the Knicks. Last night, Ben wrote about how Felton has been bad, but that’s only the case in the losses. In wins, Felton has looked great, distributing the ball and hitting open threes with pinpoint accuracy. Still, as Felton goes, so goes the offense. Everyone from Carmelo Anthony to Andrea Bargnani requires a point guard capable of moving the ball around and when that’s not happening, things like losing to the Celtics by 41 points happen. Felton was 0 for 6 from the field and worse than that, registered just 2 assists. That is unacceptable for a starting point guard in the NBA.
One thing worth pointing out has been the play of Iman Shumpert. While he was (like Felton) 0 for 6 from the field, he has shows a propensity to get the ball up the court quick and make defenses respect his ability to both drive to the basket and shoot from the outside. If Felton continues to struggle, there might come a point in this season where Shumpert could play a little point guard. We know he doesn’t want to but it might be what the Knicks need.
Ball movement is the key. When the ball moves, the team wins. When the ball doesn’t move, the team loses. It’s really that black and white and unless Felton, Pablo Prigioni and Beno Udrih can get things moving for the Knicks, things could continue to spiral out of control.