Published on: 17th November, 2013
by Scott Mandel
New York — The Knicks came out tonight looking to break a four-game home losing streak at the “World’s Most Famous Arena” against a very beatable Atlanta Hawks team. Instead, in their weird orange uniforms, the hometown team became an unbearable eyesore for their fans and for their coach, Mike Woodson, losing their fifth straight at home, 110-90. It dropped their season record to 3-6 and solidified what many fans have been thinking about this team since Day One of the season, there ain’t going to be a championship season in Dolanville.
The boos began to get a little louder for Woodson’s firing although to be truthful, none of this roster mess was created by him. He has been given a bad hand to play with, consisting mostly of long past their prime players like Amare Stoudemire, Kenyon Martin, and Raymond Felton as well as mismatched skill levels of these players, which prevents Woodson from creating advantageous matchups against opposing teams.
Woodson is struggling to find combinations that will work on both ends of the court but he’s discovering the fatal flaw in his coaching machinations: he simply doesn’t have the talent this year to compete for a championship. Worse, as early as it may be in this season, there are growing signs that this team may be competing for the worst record in the league.
Tonight, Woodson tried to play a front line of Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and Andrea Bargnani. All scorers and none particularly concerned with guarding the other team. It was a disaster, as the weak Hawks took advantage of Stoudemire’s lack of defensive instincts to run pick and rolls on him, leaving him in no man’s land with nobody to guard. Bargnani lost his man a couple of times on backdoor cuts to the basket so Woodson put an end to that experiment quickly.
The most telling post-game comments came from Woodson himself, who called his team “soft.” That’s a major indictment in the NBA that speaks volumes about the character of a team.
Anthony spoke about similar themes at his locker, as well.
“It is frustrating,” he said. “It is a messed up and nasty feeling. We have to play harder. We start worrying about other stuff other than playing basketball, we are going to dig ourselves a hole.”
“We are not defending and we are not giving effort. We are not playing right now.”
The Knicks locker room emptied out quickly after the game, with players like Felton and Kenyon Martin walking out without talking with the press. It’s not something you see a lot of around the Knicks but clearly, the frustration is beginning to mount for a team whose owner is on the record as expecting a championship this season.
A reporter asked Anthony if he has compared this season to last year, when the Knicks won 54 regular season games and won a playoff round. Anthony said he doesn’t compare one year to the next, adding, “I really don’t know what it is.”
The difference between last year and this can be found in Jason Kidd no longer playing on this team, Tyson Chandler being injured, and even, Steve Novak, who could hit three-point shots with his eyes close, is gone, playing up in Toronto.
It says here, the Knicks roster is missing those guys, as much for their intelligence and character on and off the court, as they are missing the particular basketball talents of this group. They have not been replaced.