No matter who they play or what the situation is, Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis and the New York Knicks cannot get over that magical .500 hump.
New York Knicks (22-23)
Charlotte Hornets (20-23)
Today, 7:00 PM on MSG, FSSE
Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NC
By Robby Sabo
If there was ever a right time to head out on the road for a few days, this is it.
The New York Knicks could stake a claim in their own happiness that they’ll take their show on the road in Charlotte tonight to take on the Hornets, instead of possibly suffering the consequences the entire Northeast is facing during the first blizzard of 2016.
The major problem for Phil Jackson’s franchise, is no venue has been able to solve their inability to get past that magical .500 mark.
Regardless of opponent or situation, these Knickerbockers falter every time they sit at an even .500 on the season. Last night was just their most recent failing in this area, in their blowout loss at home to Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers.
They entered the game riding high on a two-game win streak, only to allow Paul to run wild and DeAndre Jordan to dunk all over MSG. The 116-88 defeat was the Knicks worst defeat of the 2015-16 NBA campaign.
Albeit the Clippers are no joke, perhaps this is just what the Knicks are: a very average .500 basketball squad.
Their last shot at gaining the distinction as a “.500 squad” came 10-days ago. In Brooklyn, New York squared off against the Nets without Carmelo Anthony.
They couldn’t even defeat the awful Brooklyn Nets.
Win a few, lose a few. Get on a roll in a couple, look terrible in a couple. Derek Fisher‘s squad is the walking contradiction of consistency. In fact, the only time they’ve been over .500 all season long was after their opening night victory against the Boston Celtics.
Whenever they get one game from the magic mark, or actually achieve it, they then take two-steps backward.
This time, however, it’s worse. Not only did they lose to a good team in the Clippers, they were completely exposed.
DeAndre Jordan dunked all over the Knicks in the 1st quarter https://t.co/QDnJrVeHzg
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 23, 2016
Doc Rivers decided to expose the Knicks lack of any perimeter defense – especially when defending the opposition’s point guard – and allowed Paul to run wild. Jose Calderon had no chance. Paul was moving and grooving and dancing and prancing to the tune of 16 points and 13 assists.
Rivers also decided to go right after the rookie Kristaps Porzingis.
It had to be a humbling experience for the young Latvian. Forget the fact he shot only 4-of-17 from the floor, the Clippers went right at him on the majority of pick-and-roll plays. Instead of allowing KP to stay low in a freelance position and protect the rim, Los Angeles forced him to commit to the ball-handler early.
This is what’s so troubling: The Knicks defensive integrity is so easy to abuse when a good team, or good coach does the right thing with the right personnel.
I get it. The Knick fan is ready to absolutely bust at the seams with enthusiasm over their team who is suddenly “back.” But despite the giddiness over Porzingis, the resurgence of Melo, and the bevy of terrific signs we’ve seen this season, these Knicks still have a long way to go.
At times they look close to figuring it out, but until they prove it on the court, they’ll forever be a mediocre .500 squad.