Beckley Mason over at the NY Times’ Off the Dribble blog was impressed with the Knicks’ defense in last night’s blowout of the Spurs:
The Knicks switch on defense, which can stymie an opposing offense but creates mismatches in the offense’s favor. The key is preparation. When the Knicks switch because they want to, because they see the action coming and are proactively switching to disrupt the offense, it’s a far different effect than when they switch because they are scrambling to keep up with the other team.
Though Tony Parker tortured Jason Kidd with gorgeous step-back jumpers early on, Kidd kept his chest between the Spurs’ speedy point guard and the rim well enough to short-circuit San Antonio’s drive-and-kick attack. In the fourth quarter, when the Knicks’ shots finally started falling, they broke the game wide open.
Much has been made of the team’s recent struggles on the defensive end, slipping to 17th in defensive rating according to Basketball Reference, so it was encouraging to see such a swarming effort Thursday night at the Garden. Some are going to make a lot of hay out of the fact the Spurs were playing their fourth game in five nights, particularly the Spurs themselves who seemed to have no problem pointing out that fact, but it was still nice to see that kind of commitment on the defensive end.