Just over a week ago, things looked great for the New York Knicks. Now, after losing 103-80 to the Brooklyn Nets, their fourth consecutive defeat, it’s back to that lowest of the low point, while their rivals are playing the best basketball in the Eastern conference aside from the Indiana Pacers.
Carmelo Anthony had a good game with 26 points and 12 rebounds, but the awful defense and selfish/foolish (you decide) offense the Knicks have regressed back to is too easy for worse teams than the Nets (in their current form) to take advantage of.
Deron Williams coming back from his injury didn’t change the lineup that has been working so well for the Nets since the beginning of January (7-1). Shaun Livingston remains in the lineup, the defense looks great, the ball movement as well, and above all is Joe Johnson, continuing his scorching form. He scored 25 points in 30 minutes, averaging 24.5 points per game over the last six.
Williams played 27 minutes off the bench to score 13 points. The Nets looked great no matter who was on the floor, even with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett combining to score only 9 points. By taking the game away from them the Nets are doing much better, with Pierce mostly adding with his vision and defense, and the same goes for Garnett.
And the Knicks? Some are talking about trading Carmelo Anthony. None of them have anything to do with the team itself, but those looking out for Anthony’s own benefit. One interesting change has been the return of Tyson Chandler, backfiring in an unexpected way.
The Knicks won five straight games with Kenyon Martin starting at center while Chandler sat out with an illness. Since the return of their former Defensive player of the year, the Knicks are winless in 4 games and are allowing 109 points per game, 20 more than when Chandler was out of the lineup. Sometimes it’s not about talent, but about a certain combination of personalities on the floor that creates energy sparks that push a team without a plan, like the Knicks, to better achievements than they’re supposed to reach.
The Nets are happy – this was something of a revenge for them after being destroyed by the Knicks last month, but the bigger goal of making the playoffs and looking like one of the best teams in the Eastern conference.
Obviously when we first played them, they embarrassed us. o obviously we needed to come back and get a payback, and kind of redeem ourselves because lately we’ve been playing better basketball and today was a great job of what we’ve been doing lately. It’s been fun. We want it to keep going, so we’re going to keep working hard. We know why we’ve won seven of the last eight, so we’re just going to keep working hard, keep playing together.
The Knicks? They keep talking about doing better, working harder, on both ends of the floor. The truth? It seems a lot closer to giving up and falling into despair than actually making a change, and that the short spark of wins was nothing more than the last shreds of energy this team had before falling apart once more.