After Two Solid Games, Knicks Slide and Lose Two

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Updated: November 7, 2014
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Fisher: New offense still a work in progress

NEW YORK – The Triangle Offense will take a while for the New York Knicks to get used to. In some cases the offense is downright offensive. And that would be offensive in a disrespectful way. But to the teams credit they knew it would take time. The problem with that legal excuse is that the record whether they are from wins or losses will still count on the ledger. If the Knicks lose more than they win, they will more than likely miss the playoffs again.

Carmelo Anthony, who signed a highly publicized new contract for 124 million this summer all but, guaranteed a playoff berth this year. That was despite the team’s inability to land a big name free agent this offseason to pay alongside of Melo.

A few other things that are noticeable that gives the Knicks complete fits. One is the same thing that plagued the Knicks last year and in prior years. They don’t seem to be able to win the battle under the boards. The then winless Detroit Pistons (they beat the Knicks 98-95 on Wednesday, November 5th) out rebounded them 55-43. The one thing former Knicks coach used to say as a rallying cry, “no rebounds, no rings.”

When the team isn’t shooting particularly well, second chance points in some ways has to be incorporated into offense. But in order to do that, you almost have to have dedicated board men to make that happen. The Knicks really do not have such a tiger of sorts under the boards. The team in essence is taller and longer than in previous seasons, but the girth and ruggedness just isn’t there. The team is missing Andrea Bargnani, who is seven-feet tall, but he’s an offensive minded only power forward/center type.

The other main sticking point to the Knicks’ troubles is the handling of or not handling of being pressured. The opening night loss against the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards exposed that. “We’ve got to figure out how to counter the pressure,” Amar’e Stoudemire said after the 98-83 loss against the Wizards. The Wizards who have a nice mixture of veteran and young guns played without future All-star, Bradley Beal. Beal is nursing a left wrist injury.
The Knicks shot a combined 37 percent against both Washington and Chicago.

It would be an exaggeration to say this is Derek Fisher’s first strategic challenge (not to mention who should start at power forward) as Knicks head coach, but it’s certainly something worth keeping a keen eye on.

The ball pressure seemed to bother the Knicks most in the third quarter against Washington. Specifically, the Wizards denied the pass from the primary guard to the wing or high post in the third quarter. That pass plays a crucial role in orchestrating the triangle offense.

“As time goes on, we’ll get better at it,” Fisher said. “We saw some of it in preseason, struggled initially with it, but figured out a way to get better. We’ve gotten better a little at it the last month or so. But some teams with length and athleticism at certain positions can cause more problems. We saw it out there tonight [against Washington].”

Jerald L. Hoover
jeraldhoover@blackathlete.com

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