Friday, March 9, 2012

New York Knicks vs. Milwaukee Bucks Post-Game Recap

Final Score: New York Knicks 114 Milwaukee Bucks 119 

The game could not have started and ended any worse for the Knicks. Right from the beginning you knew this would be a crazy game seeing the starting lineups both teams were throwing out there. Neither team disappointed, delivering a fast pace game with lots of excitement. But, like in good ole Knicks fashion, they could not deliver 4 solid quarters of playing. After starting the game hitting their 11 first shots, the Knicks still managed to trail going into the 2nd quarter and for the remainder of the game. It was only one game, but this looks like a team that is not built to play at an up-tempo pace for a full 48 minutes. This is the 4th straight loss for the Knicks, who are losing their grip on the 8th seed in the playoffs. They are 1-4 since the All-Star break, seemingly losing all momentum after going on a 7 game win streak in mid-February. They now lead Milwaukee for the last seed in the playoffs after losing 7 of their last 10 games overall. 

-No Chandler, Jeffries=No Defense 
For a second straight game, the Knicks sorely missed the defensive presence of Tyson Chandler in the middle and Jared Jeffries on the perimeter. The Bucks shot 48 percent from the field, including a lights out 13-26 from 3point range. The overall shooting percentage is scary enough to look at as a Knicks fan, but the inability to stop them from the 3 point line is even more startling as the Bucks entered the game ranked 19th in the NBA in 3 point shooting, averaging only 6.6 makes per game. Iman Shumpert you would think could help solve that problem, but he only played 5 minutes total early in the game. It is unclear if Shumpert was injured or benched, but one has to think he would have slowed down the Bucks a little on the perimeter. The Knicks were also out-rebounded 39-34 overall, and 17-9 on the offensive glass. Chandler is hopeful to return for the Sunday afternoon match-up against division leading and rival Philadelphia 76ers. A return for Jared Jeffries is not as clear. 

-Flashback to 2005 
Baron Davis put on a show for Knicks fans in the 4th quarter, delivering his best game as a Knick putting up 9 points 9 assists 5 rebounds 2 steals and only 1 turnover. It seemed that Baron Davis got pumped up after his ex-teammate Stephen Jackson was talking trash from the Milwaukee bench. Davis playing well off the bench will help the Knicks immensely as his shot improves because of the problems the Knicks sometimes have executing their offense. 

-Little Production from the Wings 
Once again the starting Shooting Guard position for the Knicks had very little production. Landry Fields scored only 4 points against the Mavericks on Tuesday night, and Iman Shumpert had half of that against the Spurs when he drew the start on Wednesday. Tonight, J.R. Smith drew the start at the 2 and managed only 3 points. Fields started at the 3 tonight, his natural position, and scored 18 points. 

-Superstars Show up…For Half the Game 
Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony had arguably their best game while playing together this season, combining for 49 points. Stoudemire took advantage of the pick-and-roll opportunities presented to him tonight with the absence of Chandler, shooting 11-15 from the field. The only problem was they gave up that much, if not more on the defensive end of the court, showing little to no urgency until the last 4 minutes of the game. The Knicks were unable to stop Mike Dunleavy, Carlos Delfino, or Ersan Ilyasova, who combined for 24 makes from the field, resulting in 65 points between them. 

-Lin Bounces Back On Offense, Stays Consistent On Defense 
Jeremy Lin had his strongest game during this tough stretch for the Knicks, finishing with 20 points and 13 assists, but also had team high 5 turnovers. Lin and Davis played in the backcourt together for a period of time and ran the team with some success, cutting a 15 point lead for the Bucks in the 4th quarter to 1, but weren’t able to get all the way over the hump. Again, Lin struggled on defense though, unable to stop Brandon Jennings. Jennings seems to play differently against the Knicks compared to other NBA teams, presumably because the Knicks passed him up in the 2009 NBA Draft for Jordan Hill. Jennings finished with 25 points and 10 assists, putting on a show to start the 2nd half when he knocked down multiple straight buckets and handed out a number of assists leading to a 32-18 edge for the Bucks in the 3rd quarter. Add Jennings to the list of PG who has torched the Knicks recently in lop-sided affairs. 

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