Jan. 18, 2017
Knicks hit rock bottom with buzzer beater loss to Sixers
Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse for the Knicks they suffer their worst loss of the season last night in Philadelphia. With the season spiraling out of control each passing day the Knicks somehow managed to make matter's worse by losing at the buzzer to the 76ers last night. Not only did they lose but they blew leads of 17, 13 and 10 to maybe the worst team in the NBA. With seven minutes left in the game the Knicks were up 84-71. With 2:29 left they were up 93-83, but proceeded to give up 15 points down the stretch to lose 98-97 on a T.J McConnell buzzer beater. The same T.J McConell who's averaging 4 points on the season put a dagger in the Knick's hearts with a baseline jumper over Carmelo Anthony.
Obviously the game should never have come down to the last shot, but for the second time in a week the Knicks blew a 13 point fourth quarter lead and lost by one on a buzzer beating jumper. Last week they blew their lead to a quality Milwaukee team in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. Last night they blew a 10 point lead with 150 seconds left to the third worst team in the entire NBA. Again it was the defense that allowed the 76ers back in the game as they went 5/5 in the final minutes from the field. Even despite two clutch buckets from Derrick Rose in the last 90 seconds the Knicks still couldn't get a single stop to put the 76ers away. That's all they needed was one freakin stop and they couldn't get it against the freaking Sixers.
The Knicks actually played a decent defensive game until the last two minutes holding Philly to 38% shooting from the field while shooting 49% themselves. But their lack of killer instinct cost them another win as they lost for the 9th time in their last 10 games. Even with the lack of defense down the stretch the Knicks still had a chance to ice the game with 27 seconds left and the ball up by one. They executed a nice play leading to a wide open three for KP in the corner, but he came up with air. It led to a wild scramble up the court from the Sixers before they found McConnell for his jumper at the buzzer. Anytime you lose 9 out of 10 you're going to catch some bad breaks. KP's failure to even graze the rim was just another bad break for the Knicks. Had he hit the rim things could have gone the Knicks way, but it was their failure to put the game away earlier in the quarter that led to their demise.
Up until his airball KP was on the bench for the final seven minutes after he had struggled for most of the night. He was 3-10 with 7 points and seemed to still be fatigued by his recent achilles injury. Any time you come off the bench cold after sitting for an extended period for time it's tough to take the big shot and make it when you're out of rhythm. It's still no excuse for KP and he knows that. He's still growing and last night was another learning opportunity for the Knick's young star.
Obviously now is no time for learning opportunities for a Knick's team that is collapsing before our eyes. Frustration is at an all time high for the entire roster right now after losing in the fashion they did last night. Courtney Lee called the loss embarrassing while Carmelo Anthony called it unacceptable. Both of them are spot on in their assessments, but when is it going to stop. It's going to take more than just one or two players for this team to get back on the winning track. This team has lacked a killer instinct all season as evident by their inability to hold on to leads. They need to change their mindset and their effort in these situations. They can't be complacent with big leads and take their foot off the pedal like they have all season. In order to win in the NBA you need to play hard for a full 48 minutes and the Knicks just don't do that.
Bad breaks happen to bad teams and that what this Knicks team is right now. The bad breaks are going to continue until this team starts putting a better overall effort together as a whole. I think it's really that simple especially against teams you have more talent than. It starts with the leaders in Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose. They combined for 53 points last night to lead the Knicks on offense, but they also combined for a -34 on the court because of their lackluster defense. Melo's defensive effort has been terrible all season and Rose can't stop the ball or keep anyone in front of him anymore. Not to mention the drama off the court with Rose and there's no wonder why there is a clear lack of leadership on the Knick's team right now. When you're top gun refuse to change his game for the betterment of the team and your point guard abandons his team for a game without notifying anyone it's no wonder why the Knicks have lost 9 of 10.
This team has more than enough talent to be a playoff team in the mediocre Eastern Conference. However, I don't think they have the drive and the will to be one. Some guys do, but you need more than that. Until they get a commitment to playing hard for a full 48 minutes from all 12 guys this season is only going to get worse. It's a shame, but I truly don't think it's ever going to happen.