As packed of a punch as the Knicks hit the Kings with on New Year's Eve for a 114-92 victory, that's how unbalanced their attack was against the Raptors in a 90-85 loss at the Garden on Monday night.
The team was once again without Amar'e Stoudemire, who sat out his second game with an ankle injury. Though Coach Mike D'Antoni admitted the flow of the offense came more naturally on Saturday without Stoudemire, the fact of the matter was that the Knicks struggled to score without him on Monday.
Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with 35 points, but from there it was slim pickings for the Knicks, who lack a truly potent offensive option beyond STAT and Melo.
Toney Douglas and company continued to fail to move the ball effectively. There was clear confusion between Douglas and Anthony on the court, as each's desire for the ball caused their teammates to lack efficient spacing and clump up along the three-point line. Anthony and Douglas, who added 22 points on 8 of 19 from the field, combined for 50 of the Knicks' 78 total shots.
It's unusual that D'Antoni-coached teams struggle to score as much as the Knicks have so far this season. A level-headed point guard usually changes that, as a strong floor general takes charge to create offensive opportunities for his teammates no matter how aggressive they are on that side of the ball.
STAT or no STAT, the Knicks are still left without a point guard who gets his teammates involved. Douglas is a shoot-first guard, and Anthony struggles when it comes to creating opportunities for others besides himself.
There's only so much of an effort Knicks fans can make to not beat a dead horse when it comes to finding a reason for this loss. The lack of a point guard who can help the offense flow will continue to plague the Knicks, because if Anthony continues to be featured in isolation situations, teams will figure things out quickly, just as the Raptors did last night.
Even so, though the Knicks played decent defense and even outscored the Raptors 24-16 during a run in the third quarter, it simply wasn't enough to overcome missed free throws and an atrocious shooting performance from downtown, with the Knicks only converting on 10 of the total 34 three-point field goals they hoisted up.
The Raptors were paced by DeMar DeRozen and Andrea Bargnani, who each scored 21 points.
Tyson Chandler also added 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Knicks, who only had three players in double-figures. They will look to avenge the loss Wednesday night as the take on the Bobcats at home.