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: 2-1
Game results: Loss vs. Sixers (110-106); Win vs. Bobcats (125-96); Win vs. Lakers (110-103)
Overall record / Games Behind: 17-27, 5.5 GB
Strong(er) Supporting Cast: 10, 20, 19, 14. 13, 20, 18, 16. Those are the point totals of players not named Carmelo in the Sixers and Lakers game respectively. Carmelo Anthony will undoubtedly continue to carry the scoring load for the Knicks, but guys like Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton and J.R. Smith have to lend a helping hand. Last year, Felton and J.R. combined for 10 more points per game than they have so far this season. While defense remains the key problem, those 10 points certainly make a difference between winning and losing. With Andrea Bargnani sidelined for the foreseeable future, the cast of characters around Anthony really need to keep it up.
Melo: 62. Incredible. When a guy gets a rebound with 3 seconds left in the half and the entire place knows he’s going to hit a half-court shot before he even reaches half court, you know something is in the air. That game took away a lot of the horrible taste we’ve had in our mouths this season. Melo has been the lone bright spot for this team and it was great to see him cement himself in Knicks lore with a truly historic evening.
Learning from Mistakes: Whether this team was running the exact same defensive schemes last year is beside the point. For whatever reason, the Knicks’ defense sucks right now. It’s just bad. So, why is it that Woodson continues to practice and preach the same approach game after game after game, stubbornly refusing to look at the scoreboard and realize it just isn’t working this year? Five bad games is not a reason to panic. Ten sloppy performances does not warrant any systematic overhaul. But we are approaching the All-Star break and the team continues to leave shooters wide open, switch whenever possible and play defense with their collective heads in the sand. Who cares what worked last year? It’s time to find something that works now. And by now, I mean two weeks ago.
Bargnani: As much as I love to hate on this guy, he has been an important part of the team’s rotation all season. His fall — which, it should be noted, came one a play where he was being aggressive, attacking the basket, not flailing and flopping like usual — looked like it hurt, and hurt it did. Bargs is out indefinitely with a torn ligament in his elbow. The team will reshuffle the deck to try and fill his void, but it remains to be seen who is going to slide into his role. THJr. is the natural replacement on offense but he doesn’t work as far as the team’s defensive match-ups are concerned. The Knicks are going to have to get creative to find somebody to replace Bargs.
THE WALT CLYDE
Old School Problem Solving: Despite comments that indicate his distaste for the Knicks defensive scheming this season, Clyde voiced his displeasure with Chandler for putting his coach on blast for all the switching last week, saying “I don’t really agree with what Tyson did. I’m from the old school. You have a problem, go to the coach and talk it over.” Only problem is, old school Knicks teams didn’t give up nearly as many wide open threes and late-game layups, but we hear you.
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