I said in my last column that I would be ready for whatever happens this game. Well, its going to take a little more chewing before I can swallow this loss. It was a game that I thought would have a lot of potential for excitement on both ends of the court. Unfortunately, the Nets were the only team to live up to their end of the bargain.
The Knicks played better this time out, but better was nowhere near good enough. The closest they got was to cut the lead to 10 in the third. They did it with their defense, holding the Nets scoreless for 7 minutes. Rodney Rogers made sure that it would be as close as the Knicks got. Rogers drained a 3 on the right hand side to put the Nets back up by 13, and the Knicks never got close again.
I was disappointed at the lack of the X-factor that I was looking for prior to the game. Dermarr Johnson didn’t appear until garbage time, despite the poor play by Shandon Anderson. Sweetney was a non-factor. Dekembe Mutombo was the only interesting new character in the series. He played well, and showed a little fire, exchanging words when he was the recipient of a K-Mart hard (technical) foul.
Shandon Anderson played downright awful. He was just as ineffective on offense (9pts 27% eFG%), as he was covering Jefferson (20pts 54% eFG%) on defense. Anderson looked like that guy at the park that everyone leaves open because they’d rather have him shoot that anyone else on the court. Kurt Thomas rebounded (no pun intended) nicely from his poor first game, with 18 points and 12 boards. Clearly the Knicks miss having another scorer. Someone else should have been taken Shandon Anderson’s 15 shots.
The Nets employed a trap at times that strangled the Knicks. The first time they let loose on it, Marbury choked the ball up for an easy New Jersey 2 points. Only once during the time I was watching (I shut the game off with 3 minutes left) did they beat the press the way you’re suppose to, getting the ball down court for a 3 on 2 advantage. Even then they didn’t convert any points, due to a fantastic strip by Kenyon Martin. It’s going to be a quick series if the Knicks can’t beat what every high school in the country faces.