Observations from the Knicks’ loss to the Celtics

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

For about thirty minutes of play on Wednesday night, the Knicks looked really good. The way this season has gone, playing competitively almost looks like the team is putting forth a more dominant effort. It takes more energy from the team to put themselves in a winning situation, so while they might only be up a couple points at a given time, it’s likely New York will look much better than they actually are.

USATSI_8405052_110579513_lowresUnfortunately, such control seemed to fade away as the team’s lead was quickly erased midway through the third quarter. Suddenly beginning to push the tempo a bit more, the Celtics began to outrun the Knicks. Spacing the floor with a bit more of a run and gun style, Boston spread New York’s defense too thin and managed to create open and easy opportunities from themselves around the perimeter. Once things were ripped open, the wound was too severe for the Knicks to heal. They couldn’t keep up and were unable to slow the Celtics down in transition. They failed to get back on defense again and again, allowing for easy three-point shots throughout the second half.

Needless to say, much went wrong as the game got away from the Knicks. But as evidenced earlier in the contest, they looked good in parts, too. Here are some other observations from the game:

  • It’ll be really interesting to see if the Knicks opt to retain Jason Smith this summer. He was one of Phil Jackson’s first signings. The big man has been very much inconsistent this season, but when he performs well, it’s easy to see how and why he fits in the triangle offense. He can spread the floor and hit midrange shots, but also has an eye for finding his teammates and passing it out, too. He not only added 14 points and 4 assists, but also led the team with 10 rebounds. A good locker room veteran, Smith may be worth bringing back for a reasonable rate.

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Game Recap: Celtics 115 — Knicks 94

Recap: The Celtics dominated the second half in Boston as the Knicks lost their eighth in a row.

Need to Know: The Celtics trailed 49-48 at halftime before outscoring the Knicks 67-45 in the second half.

The Celtics had six players in double figures, led by Jonas Jerebko (20), newcomer Isaiah Thomas (19), Jae Crowder (18) and Marcus Smart (16). Evan Turner had his first triple-double (10 points, 10 assists, 12 rebounds). .It was a season high for Jerebko, the 18th player to do that against the Knicks this season. Only the Nuggets (26) have allowed more to do it. .

Thomas had totaled 42 points against the Knicks in two wins for Phoenix earlier this season.

The Knicks were true to the form of this most recent losing streak. In the previous seven, they were outscored an average of 102.3-89.3.

The Celtics shot 50.6 percent from the floor, 45.2 (14-for-31) from three. The Knicks, led by Andrea Bargnani’s 17 points, were 41.5 percent from the floor, 9.5 (2-for-21) from three. . .Jason Smith had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Jose Calderon (five points, 1-for-7 shooting, 1-for-5 from three) had his left foot in a walking boot after the game. He told reporters his Achilles has been bothering him for a few weeks. He has he tweaked it during a layup in the firwt half and was scared to go full speed.

The Knicks had won four of their previous at the TD Garden.

Links: AP recap | Box Score

What’s Next: The Knicks visit Detroit Friday (7:30 p.m.).

Tonight’s Game: Knicks at Celtics

The Knicks are in Boston on Wednesday night to take on the Celtics.

The game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on MSG and ESPN New York.

Lou Amundson, Lance Thomas, Jason Smith, Jose Calderon and Langston Galloway were expected to start.

Update, 6:16: Tim Hardaway Jr. will start in place of Thomas.

Recent Meetings

February 3, 2015 – In a game in which New York never led, Boston came out firing and never cooled down as they defeated the New York Knicks 108-97 at the Garden shooting .545 (42-77) for the night. Carmelo Anthony paced the New York Knicks with a team best 21 points and six rebounds over 33 minutes. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 14 points off the bench. Jason Smith posted 12 points and team highs with seven rebounds and five assists over 31 minutes. Boston was led by guard Avery Bradley’s 26 points (11-14 FG) and four assists over 33 minutes. Jared Sullinger recorded 21 points (11-19 FG) and nine rebounds over 36 minutes. Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart added 13 points apiece. To read more of this story, click here

Phil Jackson stockpiling assets with eyes on the summer of 2015

Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer

Acquiring a trade exception (as small as it may be), in addition to reeling in two second-round picks, a young sharpshooter with an expiring contract in Alexey Shved, all the while also saving $300,00 on this season’s payroll, should be considered a mini-overhaul.

All of these assets were seemingly acquired for Pablo Prigioni, someone who clearly wasn’t in the team’s future plans. As evidenced in the J.R. Smith trade just weeks ago, sometimes just clearing cap room towards this coming summer’s payroll is progress enough when considering the Knicks’ offseason goals. Acquiring some future assets, in addition, is certainly somewhat of a bonus.

Since taking office with the Knicks, Phil Jackson has been unable to acquire a future first-round pick. Nevertheless, the second-rounders could prove to be just as valuable if New York is doing their due diligence when it comes to scouting and finding those diamonds in the rough. After all, Cleanthony Early was initially considered by many to be a potential first-rounder just last season, before ultimately slipping through the cracks and falling to the Knicks. To read more of this story, click here


There’s a first time for everything for Fisher, even losing

Derek Fisher might be coaching the worst team in Knicks history but he’s careful to keep himself focused on the future, not his past successes (Post, Feb. 24).

“I’m not comparing this to any other time in my basketball career. This is the first time I’ve been in this position,” Fisher said Tuesday.

This is Fisher’s first season as a coach, and the first time the Knicks have seen a 10-45 record.

“This is the first year of us trying to do a lot of the things we’re doing,” Fisher said. “So we can take some of our past experiences and try to utilize those things to help our group become what we’re trying to become. But other than just not enjoying when you lose, I’m not taking this on personally as if it’s going to define my career. Hopefully, our players aren’t doing that either. We’re really just trying to find a way to take each day’s challenges because that’s all we can control.”

Fisher is making sure to separate his coaching career from his playing career, during which he saw much success. In fact, only twice as a player did Fisher experience a losing season – two 34-48 years back-to-back with the Warriors.

“It’s a choice,” Fisher said. “Maybe it sounds cliché or it sounds coach-speak or whatever but it’s a choice to remain focused on where you can be and who you can become as opposed to allow where you are now to define your life or your destiny or your character or your career. So we all have those choices and our players have to make them and I have to make them as a coach. That’s a choice that I choose to make and over time, that will work well, not just for me but the things that we’re trying to share with our players as well.”

GEICO SportsNite: Bargnani’s opportunity

Knicks head coach Derek Fisher believes Andrea Bargnani has an opportunity to step in and play well for his injury-plagued squad.