The second game of the NBA season for the New York Knicks was something of a wake up call: They’re not that good. It especially went banging on the head of Carmelo Anthony, putting in another awful performance in the loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
Anthony doesn’t seem to know or care that there’s a better group of players around him this season. He’s still playing as if it’s all up to him, and only him. Like that’s worked in the previous seasons to win a championship or get even close. They haven’t made the playoffs in the last two years, and while it’s far from just Anthony’s fault, he has to know by now that this “old school” way of winning on his own isn’t going to work, and there has to be a head coach that gets it through his head.
The Hawks looked a lot better on their second night out with a 112-101 win, with Jeff Teague leading the cause on a 23 points, 8 assists performance. The Hawks looked like the team from last season, with 26 assists, excellent movement with and without the ball and 3-point shooting that opens up a defense. They made 41.7% of their shots from beyond the arc and while the Knicks looked good offensively on opening night, defense is going to be a problem for this team throughout the season.
Anthony finished with 10-of-27 from the field, including 0-for-7 from beyond the arc. Yes, it was also one of those days when things just didn’t go in, but he took a lot of bad shots and is now shooting 32.5% from the field to start the season on 21.5 attempts per game. Anthony insists it’s nothing mechanical and more of a ‘flow of the game’ kind of issue, but that doesn’t fix the big problem: He shouldn’t be taking that many shots to begin with.
While Robin Lopez scored 18 points did give someone something to smile about, one has to remember that centers often don’t run into too much difficulty in the paint against the Hawks. They’re trying to fix that with Tiago Splitter who had a decent game with 10 points in 23 minutes, but maybe the Spurs knew what they were doing when they got rid of him. The Knicks got 16 offensive rebounds in the game, six by Kyle O’Quinn with the 10-10 double double.
The disappointment of the game was Derrick Williams. After a fantastic debut in Knicks uniform at Milwaukee, he scored just 8 points while shooting 3-of-9 from the field. Williams has been inconsistent his entire career, and the Knicks brought him in to fill a bigger role than he’s ever had before. They can’t have him going from stud to dud on a nightly basis. Not with Anthony looking so shaky while shooting the ball, and Arron Afflalo still not playing.
Kristaps Porzingis played well at times, scoring 10 points with 8 rebounds. It’s going to take time for him to completely adjust to playing in the NBA, but you have to admit he seems a lot more league ready than anyone thought he would be when the Knicks took him on draft night. Jerian Grant, another rookie, finished with 5 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. The Knicks didn’t land an immediate star in this draft, but they did a good job, despite the frustrating loss.