The Knicks have played three games this week. They have all been on the road and they have all featured big performances by Carmelo Anthony and absolutely nothing else. On the positive side, Anthony is playing as hard as he possibly can, trying to both fill in for Tyson Chandler and hit shot after shot. Against the Portland Trail Blazers he went 13 for 25, scoring 34 points in the loss. Notably, he also secured 15 rebounds. He’s putting up big numbers but the rest of the team is letting him down.
In two games this week against the Trail Blazers and Wizards, Iman Shumpert went a combined 2 for 7 from the field, shooting the ball horribly and letting his head win out over his body. He has the physical gifts but something, either trade rumors or the teams poor play is getting to him and effecting his game. He needs to be more effective if the Knicks are going to turn this around.
The point of emphasis on the offensive side of the ball has been Amare Stoudemire. Now playing over 20 minutes per game, he is becoming a legitimate scoring option again. Against the Wizards he was 5 for 5 from the field, getting to the free throw line twice and scoring 12 points.What he needs to do a better job of is rebounding, something that he has never done well.
If I were to tell you that 2 players put up 54 points against the Knicks in consecutive games, logic would tell you that the production came from either the point guard or the center. If you guessed point guard, you’d be correct. Without Raymond Felton (and even with him at times), fast guards with above average jump shots kill the Knicks. They can’t stay with them and it showed. John Wall went for 31 and Damian Lillard put up 23 this week against a combination of Beno Udrih and Pablo Prigioni.
This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Both guys are great role players off the bench, but neither can keep up with the younger, faster breed of point guards. What’s worse, without Chandler in the middle, once these guys breakdown a point guard, there is rarely someone there to stop them in the paint. Andrea Bargnani and Kenyon Martin have not been blocking shots or pressuring shooters once they get by the outside defense. Things don’t get any easier for the Knicks this week as they take on the Denver Nuggets tomorrow night who role out Ty Lawson (20.7 ppg) and Nate Robinson (8.2 ppg) on the nightly basis.