The Knicks Hit the First Bump in the Road

Brian DiMenna

Friday night’s loss to Houston was not an effort that required much in the way of advanced statistics if you wanted to understand what happened. The Knicks’ defensive efficiency was just a picture of Eddy Curry eating a burrito and, adjusted for pace, the defense actually gave up 17,000 points and a field goal.

It was just an all-around hideous night.

But it also brings us to the first semi-crisis of the Knicks’ season. After looking like a revelation through the first nine games, the Knicks have been the sloppy, defensively-challenged team many feared they might be over the last six or so quarters. It’s been jarring.

And yet, it doesn’t have to be a terribly bad thing. Only the most optimistic among us thought the Knicks would simply blitz the league and take no prisoners, not that I’ve really ever seen anything wrong with taking a few prisoners (Right? Why not? Help yourself).

But to have some hiccups this early in the season could actually be a good thing. One, it gives head coach Mike Woodson a chance to refocus the team while actually still in a very good position. The struggles of the recent games have also given a glimmer into how a future role for Amar’e Stoudemire might actually work swimmingly. The Knicks are clearly asking an awful lot on the offensive end of Carmelo Anthony, and using Stoudemire as scoring punch for the second unit is looking more and more like a no-brainer.

There’s obviously plenty of other things to pour through, like whether this whole “lose our collective heads over every bad call” thing will continue — if it were up to me, I’d just assign Kurt Thomas all “glaring at refs until they’re a shell of the men they once were” responsibilities — and figuring out exactly what’s wrong with Marcus Camby, be it injury, or a lack of fitness so pronounced we should be amazed he can make it to the arena.

But this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. The Knicks had their first bad loss of the season Friday night, let’s see how they respond.

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