Another tough loss for the Knicks on Friday night. This time, however, it provided more head scratching moments and heartbreak then a run of the mill blow out. Here are 5 things from New York’s 100-98 loss to the 76ers.
1. Why is Shawne Williams taking the last shot – If Mike D’Antoni has one weakness (and many will argue that it’s way more than one), it’s been poor end of game management. While the good ol’ Mike D head “what the blank was that” call hasn’t made an appearance in a few weeks, it was out in full force in the city of brotherly love on Friday night.
After Philadelphia took a two point lead, Williams had the ball in his hand and missed an ugly runner that would have tied the game. Obvious question: Why was the ball in Williams hand in that crucial a moment? For this, I have no answer.
Although Danilo Gallinari was 1-4 from behind the arc, he had hit a big three in the final two minutes. He would have been a better option. Raymond Felton had one of his better nights in weeks. He would have been a better option. Amar’e Stoudemire is, well, Amar’e Stoudemire. He would have been a better option.
But no, it went to Williams.
And why was it a runner? If he’s going to take the final shot, why wouldn’t he shoot the ball where he received it- behind the three point line? After all, he leads the league in three point percentage and had hit one earlier in the quarter. Instead, he chose the path of awkwardness and lost.
All questions, no answers.
2. The run – But at the end of the day, you have to score in the fourth quarter of close games. The Knicks, after falling behind early in the game, looked to have this one in hand. They led by 12 at the start of the final period and led by eight with under 10 minutes to go.
Then they stopped scoring.
Stoudemire hit a jumper with 8:47 left, giving the Knicks an 86-78 lead. They didn’t hit another shot until Raymond Felton made it 93-88 Sixers with 2:33 left. That’s over six minutes in a close fourth quarter with no points scored.
Games are never won with this formula. Never
3. Raymond Felton – Nice to see Felton play like it’s December again. The point guard had 26 points and nine assists. He also, as previously mentioned, broke the fourth quarter scoring drought. The point total was the most he’s had since the victory over San Antonio on January 4. It may have been nice to see him take less threes while going three of eight from downtown, but that’s something that can be overlooked with 26 and nine. This is the third time in four games he’s had nine or more assists.
4. Bench play – The Knicks got above average production off the bench. Timofey Mozgov had 9 points and 7 rebounds. Mozgov’s recent success brings up an interesting question. Should Mike D’Antoni let Mozgov fight through his struggles on the floor a little more than he did (straight up benching him for basically two months. It’s obvious he has something to offer. Mike D has to learn that sometimes rookies don’t play well for long stretches. That’s not necessarily a reason to bench them.
Elsewhere on the bench, Ronnie Turiaf has eight points. Wilson Chandler played 20 minutes in his return and scored three points.
5. Three point shooting – While the percentages weren’t great on either side from behind the arc, it’s worth noting that one team was 5-13 from three point land and won the game. Those other guys? 8-27.
See the difference?
About the Author
Written by Jordan Lauterbach
Jordan Lauterbach began his career in sports media when he was just 15 years old at WKWZ - Syosset. He hosted a sports talk show for nearly four years before moving on to WCWP - Brookville in 2006. Lauterbach currently hosts a sports talk show every Wednesday night from 9pm - midnight (eastern) and a College Football talk show on Saturday mornings from 11am - 12:30 (eastern) (can be heard online at wcwpsports.com and on Long Island on 88.1fm). Follow me on twiiter: jlauterbach1