Ben KopelmanEvery Knicks fan struggles with the optimistic angel on one shoulder (we got Eddy Curry!) and the ever-depressing devil on the other (we still have Eddy Curry??!!). After each week this season, we will offer up the positives and negatives of the last seven days in Knicks-land to help sort it all out and put your mind at ease.
Record during the week: 1-3
Game results: Loss @ Bucks (101-98); Loss vs. Trail Blazers (94-90); Win vs. Nuggets (117-90); Loss @ OKC (112-100)
Overall record / Games Behind: 20-31, 6.5 GB
Jeremy Tyler: Over the last month, Tyler has had a play or two (or six) a week that have made at least one person in the room ask: who the hell was that? This kid is a complete unknown given his rather unusual route to the NBA (see: leaving high school early to play in Europe), so the jury is out on whether he can evolve into a real piece. But, there is no denying his size and raw abilities. He had or shared the highest +/- of anybody on the team on Wednesday (+10) and Thursday (+18). He does not look ready to carry a serious load on a regular basis but he has shined in his opportunities thus far and the team as a whole has looked better with him on the court over the last week and counting. One of the few story lines relevant despite the Knicks position in the standings, I expect Tyler to get more burn after the ASB as the team must find out what they have in him.
Amar’e Stoudemire: I did not like that Amar’e called out his coach, but the guy has been battling to get and stay healthy for what seems like four years now, so I appreciate his frustration. He has proven to be an efficient scorer on the second team and has a little (a liiiiitle) spring to his step that has been missing for a long while now. His week consisted of 7, 15, 17 and 16 point efforts, each one on decent shooting. The guy may break every bone in his body if he plays 35 minutes back-to-back nights, but at this point, the team can’t really be thinking about keeping him fresh for the playoffs (playoffs?!?!!!) so why not let him off the leash?
Feeling the Pressure: It’s All-Star Week and the Knicks are still out of the playoffs. In the Eastern Conference. Where the Bobcats are currently a playoff team. The team sitting above the Knicks in the standings just fired their coach because the season has gone so poorly, and that team is NOT the Brooklyn Nets. Soooo, yeah… That Eastern Conference. Sooner or later, the Knicks are going to have to turn on their burners and go 10-3 over a three week stretch. And then do it again. The team has proven it can beat some of the better teams in the league and hang tight with some of the best, but slip ups against Milwaukee just cannot happen at this point. Good teams have the luxury of bad losses. The Knicks are not a good team. Every game matters and it’s time for this group to recognize that and play with that passion on a nightly basis. We’re all waiting.
Melo’s Late Game Execution: Everything is relative, and given how great Melo has played over the course of the season, even a week with two 30-point performances can prove to be a down week for the superstar. Melo was clutch against Milwaukee and played a highly efficient three quarters against his old team on Friday night, but he disappeared down the stretch against the Blazers and Thunder. On Wednesday, Melo put up a goose egg in the fourth quarter, going 0-for-5 from the field. He finished the game an inefficient 11-of-28 for 26 points. Sunday, while Durant was dominating every facet of the game, Melo put in arguably his worst performance of the season, scoring a mere 15 points on 5-of-19 shooting. Melo hit all of two buckets in the second half and again got skunked in the fourth quarter. As he suits up to start another All Star game, it’s hard to hate on anything Melo has done this year, but this was not his finest four-game stretch.
THE WALT CLYDE
Something Wrong With Your Voice?: Walt was somewhat MIA this week, with ABC taking over yesterday’s tilt with OKC and Wally “You Were the Fourth Hit On Google After I Typed in ‘Wally’” Szczerbiak stepping in against the Nuggets. Maybe it just got too cold for WCF and he took a run down to St. Lucia? My heart no doubt grows fonder with his absence, so Walt: come back to the booth soon, please.
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