|Amar’e Stoudemire, PF 30 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -11Mike Woodson : Amar’e Stoudemire getting important minutes :: The Captain of the Titanic : The TitanicHere’s a quick shot of Amar’e looking slightly out of position while trying to defend Chris Bosh:
|Carmelo Anthony, SF 44 MIN | 4-17 FG | 4-5 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | 0After the Knicks opened the game on a 16-3 run, they attempted long twos on five of their next six possessions, missing all five and immediately letting the Heat back in the game. Three of those misses were Melo’s, none of them especially open or at a juncture in the shot clock where settling for them was necessary. I’m not of the mindset that a team that builds is offense around Melo has inherently limited its ability to compete with the NBA’s elite but plenty of people are of precisely that mindset and when they have their day in court, they could do worse than choosing for their Exhibit A the middle four minutes of the first quarter of this afternoon’s game. 4-for-17 in the end and I suppose the bumps and bruises will bear the brunt of the blame but unless those bumps were to his head they don’t explain why someone who has basically plead no contest to the argument that he can’t be a scorer right now is still shooting so much.|
|Tyson Chandler, C 34 MIN | 4-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | +6Of everything the Knicks might at some point regret about the 2013-14 season, not trading Tyson Chandler while he was still perceived as an elite rebounder/finisher/rim protector will likely stand out the most. And I’m on the record going the other way on this one: I love the guy and hope he retires a Knick just because I’m a sappy sentimentalist who has been given far to little to latch on to and care about and stick up for this past decade and change. But he’s rapidly approaching “commodity big” territory which still makes him an asset with some market value but not the kind of piece for whom you’re going to command high-end building blocks. Anyway, a 10 and 11 tonight and a C+ on the defensive end and just a whole lot of nothing that a dozen or so other guys who make less money couldn’t have given you and not caused you to give a second thought to it.|
|Raymond Felton, PG 31 MIN | 6-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 5 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | +1015 and 5 on 12 shots with 4 steals and 3 turnovers? Seven days a week and twice on Sundays, friends, even if it wasn’t enough for us to win this one.|
|J.R. Smith, SG 43 MIN | 11-28 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 32 PTS | -5Everybody acts like J.R. Smith is some big mystery that needs solving. He’s not. Let me spoil the ending for you: when he 1) makes his threes and 2) gets to the free throw line, he’s very good. When he doesn’t, he isn’t. The rest is basically in the eye of the beholder and we’re all a lot more willing to focus on the good and gloss over the bad when he’s getting his points efficiently. Which he did today so that’s Good JR and a good grade and a “this one’s not your fault” but it says nothing about what J.R. he’ll be tomorrow or the day after or in Round 1 of the rapidly evaporating postseason.|
|Jeremy Tyler, PF 0 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0No need.|
|Cole Aldrich, C 0 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0Nahhhhhh.|
|Pablo Prigioni, PG 17 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -21No me gusta.|
|Iman Shumpert, SG 28 MIN | 3-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | -6Getting his mojo back just a little bit to my eyes: smarter defense (less of the cartoonish over-helping), better rebounding, three point stroke looked cleaner today (though 2 of 6 is about the dictionary definition of “pedestrian” from that range). Once again leading the war of attrition with Tim Hardaway, Jr. to determine who the Knicks most promising young player is.|
|Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 12 MIN | 0-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -26Good Lord, look at that line! Brutally, painfully awful and with a streak of insult to injury when he wrapped LeBron up on a fastbreak and the King still finished the layup like he was placing it through a Little Tikes hoop in his backyard with his young son hugging his leg. What a nightmare. This is why we can’t have nice things.|
Two Things We Saw
- I started watching this game from the beginning on my TiVo at a time when I already knew the Knicks to be down 11 in the fourth quarter. This only served to make it a fact, rather than a strongly-held suspicion and a general testament to my well-honed cynical streak, that the Knicks’ 16-3 start would ultimately prove meaningless.
- In itself, this was a garden-variety loss to a very good team and not much reason for alarm (aside, of course, from the small and vanishing margin of error that the Knicks have afforded themselves). It’s just that you get the sense from this team that they have spent the whole season expecting a moment to come when a switch would flip and all of the chances that they’ve spent the better part of 6 months squandering would fade into irrelevance and they would make their run and it would take them where they had to go. And slowly over these past few weeks they’ve built up enough steam to let the guys on the court and in the front office and, to some extent, up on the terraces finally get to say “here it is, now it’s happening.” And losses like this – against the kind of team that knows the value of a shot and a possession and a victory and a title – feel worse than they really should, if only because they reek of reality and of broken optimism. They shine a light from the summit that the Heat have scaled. And the light casts a dark shadow whose shape is that of the towering precipice to which all NBA franchises aspire. And the length of the shadow tells us just how far it looms above the ledge where we’ve set up camp for the evening.