Thursday, April 26, 2012

Los Angeles Clippers vs. New York Knicks Post Game Recap April 25

Final Score: Los Angeles Clippers 93 New York Knicks 99

The Knicks were able to come tonight and again protect their home court, finishing the season 22-11 at Madison Square Garden.  That is the highest winning percentage at home for the Knicks since the 2000 season.  With the win, the Knicks remained in contention for the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference, but will not be able to move up any more.  With the Magic defeating the Charlotte Bobcats, the Knicks are officially out of the running for the 6th seed.  This locks the Knicks into a first round match-up with either the Bulls or Heat. 

-Bench Shows up Again

The Knicks bench again was on fire tonight.  J.R. Smith led the charge, leading the team with 21 points, five assists and four steals.  Smith set the tone at the end of the first quarter putting the Knicks up 24-19 behind five points from Smith.  Steve Novak then picked up right where Smith left off starting the 2nd quarter off with two straight 3 pointers within a minute time span.  Bench production did not stop there as Landry Fields later got into the act with six points of his own.  Before you knew it, the Knicks had built a double-digit lead and were in command of the game.

The stellar play of Smith as a playmaking point guard and Novak continuing his hot shooting in the 4th quarter really helped put away the Clippers.  Mike Woodson decided to let it roll with the bench giving the starters pretty much the whole 4th quarter off and they did not disappoint him.  The Knicks bench finished with 43 points compared to the 20 scored by the Clippers bench.

-Two Different Halves

In the first half, the Knicks were dominant in the paint.  The Clippers scored only four points in the paint compared to 10 for the Knicks in the 1st quarter.  The Knicks were able to limit the dynamic front court of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan to only six points combined in the first half.  What was even better was the Knicks did not allow either player to a get a dunk.

The second half was a different story for the Knicks.  They allowed Griffin and Jordan easier access to the paint, leading to a combined four dunks between the two.  The game was no longer out of hand once the Knicks allowed the Clippers to get to the basket.  Again, it was mostly against the Knicks second unit, so it was a positive at the same time they did not allow the Clippers to take the lead and held on for the win.

-Stoudemire Struggles on Defense

Everyone is aware that defense is not the top priority for Amar’e Stoudemire.  At times, it even looks like it is not in his top five while on the court.  But Stoudemire has to do a better job of buying into Mike Woodson’s team first approach.  Carmelo Anthony has bought in and he is playing some of the best basketball of his career; it is time for Stoudemire to follow suit.  Stoudemire was the culprit on multiple post ups by the Clippers and was easily exploited numerous times.  This led to multiple break downs on rotations and the perimeter defense, allowing the Clippers to shoot 11-25 from downtown in the game. 

-Get Flow on Offense

The Knicks have to figure out a way to work everyone into the offense.  Tonight, at least early on, they relied too heavily on Carmelo Anthony isolation.  The Knicks barely ran any pick-and-rolls for Stoudemire or Chandler, leading to a combined one point between the two of them.  Anthony did have nine points in the quarter, but it would be nice to see more people worked in.  It should be noted though as the game went on, Anthony was finding Stoudemire and Chandler more often rolling to the basket for easy dunks and lay-ups.  

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