As the Knicks continue to struggle, Coach Mike Woodson desperately hopes to crack the code for the perfect lineup. At the same time, fans and media alike from all over have been taking a stab at what could possibly be New York's biggest problem. It's easy to see there are plenty of them to choose from.
Defense often wins championships, and under Coach Woodson, Tyson Chandler and the Knicks have undoubtedly prided themselves on putting forth a formidable effort on that side of the floor night in and night out. So as the team continues to sink, it's easy to point to the absence of Chandler and the team's rather feeble effort on the defensive end as the source of the team's problems.
But the truth of the matter is, things haven't been flowing much on the offensive end, either. Carmelo Anthony hasn't been the superstar New York depends on him to be. The cold and erratic J.R. Smith has resided in The World Most's Famous Arena (as opposed to the hot and rather clutch one) most often this season. Andrea Bargnani may knock down a few shots early in contests, but often fades later on when things count the most. As of late, Raymond Felton has sat out with a nagging injury, and of course, Amar'e Stoudemire hasn't gotten on the court long enough to truly regain his offensive rhythm just yet.
But on Saturday night, many of those offensive woes appeared to fade away, if just for an evening. The team moved to the ball well and found good shots. For what it's worth, that showed. Anthony had one of his more efficient games of the season (he shot 9 of 19 from the field for 23 points), and though Bargnani and Smith both missed their fair share of shots, such attempts came within the flow of the offense. Thus, the Knicks kept things moving despite the misses, and managed to make up for them.
Of course, the most positive thing from Saturday night's matchup was the roaring and soaring that came from Stoudemire. Perhaps not looking truly like the STAT of old, the big man at least showed flashes of being the efficient and effective player he proved to be off Coach Woodson's bench last season. Playing aggressive with an assertive attitude, Stoudemire looked like he was beginning to gain more confidence as he scored 12 points (on 5 of 5 shooting from the field) in just 22 minutes of play.
But for whatever reason, all of that success and efficiency on the offensive end only amounted for a total of 89 points. Thus, such a low amount made it easy for the Wizards to charge full speed ahead, and never look back.
After all, the nation's capital does host John Wall in town. Without a doubt the fastest guard in the league, the young gun once again proved to be the Knicks' kryptonite. Wall is so quick and so deadly on the offensive end when charging to the basket, that there's often not many that can stop him. Needless to say, New York certainly doesn't have a point guard worthy of stopping, or at the very least, even matching up with Wall.
Wall's effective at all times. Similarly to J.R. Smith, Wall has a burning hole in his offensive game. For him, it's his turnover rate. Still, like Smith, Wall somehow overcomes such a weakness to stay just as dominant. On his way to scoring 31 points, the Kentucky product shot 10 of 18 from the field, and converted on 10 of 11 free throws. Such a stat-line equalled pure dominance against the Knicks, despite seven turnovers.
Washington had three other players hovering around 20 points as they won by a score of 98-89. Just 5-8, expect the Wizards to turn things up a notch as the season continues. They're a playoff contender.
Regardless of what their record says at a given time, Wall and the Wizards often seem to have New York's number. Unfortunately for the Knicks, yet another defeat could not have come at a less opportune time as the team continues to sink with no obvious end to the suffering in sight.no comments