On Sunday afternoon at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Knicks (38-26) were defeated by the Los Angeles Clippers (46-21) 93-80. Box Score
If you missed this game, you were likely enjoying some St. Patrick’s Day revelry, and I suppose perhaps in the type of mental mindset that would be necessary to make such a game more bearable.
J.R. Smith led the Knicks in scoring with 17 points on just 4-of-20 shooting, though one imagines he nonetheless enjoyed his time in Los Angeles.
Raymond Felton played relatively effectively, finishing with 16 points and nine assists.
Jason Kidd finished with 11 points including three three-pointers, as he looks to regain his shooting touch.
Steve Novak hit three threes, as well, to finish with nine points of his own.
The Knicks were outrebounded 51-39 and generally outmatched athletically by the Clips.
Chris Paul led the way for Los Angeles with 20 points and eight assists.
The Knicks have now lost four straight games and are juts a 1/2 game in front of the Nets for the Atlantic-division lead. They’ll finish up this five-game Western swing Monday night against Utah.
The Knicks have now gotten a pretty hefty taste of what life would be like with J.R. Smith as their best player, and it looks about as unpleasant as you imagined it would.
All of this makes evaluating the last few games sort of difficult. On the one hand, it makes sense to mostly throw them out. I mean, not a whole lot can be gleaned from watching the Knicks play without Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler. We were all pretty well clear on the fact that the team without those two folks would not be very good. No one entered this season enthused about the prospect of a Kurt Thomas/Kenyon Martin starting front line.
But on the other hand, more jaded, pessimistic, total d*ck of a hand, it’s hard to watch your team get waxed four straight games and think, “Bring on the Heat!”
Were you looking for a positive from today’s game, and mind you, such an undertaking would take an industrial strength flashlight, a fully functioning GPS and hours and hours of dedicated search, you would point to the team’s relentless fight. The Knicks didn’t just give in this afternoon, they looked genuinely intent on stealing the win. The problem was simply a lack of players capable of making such a thing happen.
For now, we wait. We wait for Tyson. We wait for Melo. But as we wait for their return, it’s worth keeping in mind that it wasn’t exactly a blazing stretch that preceded their absences, and while their returns will certainly restore a sense of competitiveness, it may not instantly restore the team to title contender status.
So we’ll keep this brief, for now, since again there’s not much to takeaway from games where New York is playing so short-handed, and we’ll look ahead to Monday’s game with the Jazz, and the hope that perhaps that miserable wretch of a team will once again be just what the doctor ordered.
Instead, I’ll leave you with this, the latest installment of Knicks Blowout Theater, because it’s amusing and sort of sums up my mood: