The New York Knicks lost to the best team in the NBA last night. Is it the end of the world? Of course it’s not. It showed us that to be in the class of the Heat, the upper echelon of the NBA, there needs to be some more work put in by the Knicks.
Being New Yorkers, we usually are quick to focus on the negatives; and there were many. So let’s play a quick game of “Oh no, Okay, WTF”, shall we?
Let’s go over the Oh no’s first.
Is this what we are going to continue to see from Baron Davis?
Baron is just getting back, and I realize that. So I’m not much concerned about the actual physical play of Baron. The shot percentage and tangible things will come together. But what I am actually concerned about is the mentality and style of play I’m seeing. He seems to be trying to really impress, but in the wrong way. It seems to be style over substance thus far. He looks to make the spectacular play, and not the right play. Yes, this can be fun to watch if he can throw an alley-oop here and there. But I’d much rather see him make the smart play, smart pass and right decision. I’ll put this under Oh No category for now with the ability to move into either the Okay or WTF areas.
Landry Fields just hates the Miami Heat.
After two very good weeks of play, Landry once again did not play very well yesterday. He did not have a horrible game, but he just does not pose much of a threat on offense for the Heat to worry about and defend. I can see that even if J.R. Smith does not eventually start, he will see big minutes against teams like the heat, when the Knicks need another 3pt threat and player who can create his own shot.
Now let’s move on to the Okay’s.
Will the real Jeremy Lin please stand up
I honestly feel the moment got to him. After the first two turnovers, you just see it on his face. Let’s not forget this is only his tenth game, as Carmelo pointed out. In the games he has played well, you could see the confidence dripping off him. Last night though, it was a deer in the headlights look. The Heat came out and blitzed every pick and roll. They trapped him with Lebron or Wade almost every time. It was a great game plan. But you have to chalk this up to a learning experience for Lin. I’m not really worried about Lin after a bad game against the best team in the league. The Heat might also be the best defensive team in the league. Lin is definitely not my biggest concern after last night.
Carmelo’s offensive game
Carmelo’s shooting less than 40% from the field, the worst shooting year of his career so far. With all the minor injuries he has faced so far I’m willing to give this a pass for the moment. I’m fully confident that he will get back to stroking the mid-range jump shot at nearly 50%.
But his jump shooting is not the only small problem. He needs to be a little more aggressive. He is doing everything in his power to show he can fit in the “so called system”. I think it’s a good thing that he is putting the team first, but at times it’s a detriment to the team. Again, I think with more time playing together, things will fall into place.
And this brings us to the ever popular WTF portion of the piece.
Paging Amare Stoudemire’s Athleticism!
Let’s just get this out of the way right off the bat. I have two younger brothers. I cannot even begin to imagine how it feels to lose one of them. My heart and prayers go out to him. I completely understand the mental and emotional struggles he must still be going through. But this is about his physical ability. It has been missing since the opening game. He is not finishing strong at the rim. For the first time ever, I have seen Amare go to the basket, with someone standing in between him and the rim, and instead of trying to make a poster out of him, he attempted a finger roll. A finger roll! One more time, A FINGER ROLL! He has no lift on his jump shot, and is getting his shot blocked at an alarming level.
Let’s just get it out of the way now. Jeremy Lin could not turn the ball over one time, Melo can go for 30 a night and Tyson can get 10 blocks a game, but if Amare cannot hit a 15-19 footer or go to the basket with any type of gusto, the Knicks cannot and will not win a championship.
As I said yesterday prior to the game, this is no time for moral victories. I’m not going to be happy if we had lost by 1 or 100. But you can take away from the game that with time and practice, yes, we are talking about practice, this team can become a contender this year. This Knick team is as deep as there is in the league. But there is work to be done. The Knicks have to opportunity to get in about five practices over the next two weeks. They need to spend their time wisely, or this season will pass them by before you can say Linsanity.