Last night, they beat the Bucks, but at what cost?
Tyson Chandler returned to the lineup after missing most of the season but was worked through over 36 minutes. Topping those 36 minutes were Carmelo Anthony's career-high 55 minutes. Anthony played the entire fourth quarter and every minute of overtime.
In the win, which is feeling more and more like a loss, ball movement was non-existent and led to a ton of isolation basketball. Anthony scored 29 points, with Beno Udrih kicking in 21 and J.R. Smith adding 19. The issue was almost no off-the-ball movement. When Smith or Anthony got the ball, it was almost certain that they would end of hoisting up a shot. Often times, these shots were errant threes. Smith and Anthony combined to take 24 threes, making nine of them.
It's hard to say with any certainty why the ball movement has disappeared. Could it be that Raymond Felton is a better point guard than we're giving him credit for?
There were moments during last nights game when Chandler was walking around aimlessly, trying to set screens and get people open while the rest of the team ran around like chickens with their heads cut off.
At this point, I think it's on the coach.
Without more ball movement, good teams like the Pacers and Heat are going to destroy the Knicks. Even the Bucks figured out the method to beat them and came within a few seconds of doing so.
If you take Anthony out of the game, it forces other guys to beat you. On the Knicks there is no other guy.
Smith, Iman Shumpert and Andrea Bargnani have been those guys in the past, but right now, they are not. It will be interesting to see which of these guys can step up in the next few weeks to take some of the heat off Anthony.