Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
We're still in November, so it's way too early in the NBA season for a must-win game. But Bobby Portis knows that the Knicks need to play with a sense of urgency on Sunday against Brooklyn.
"We need a win bad," he said on Saturday after the Knicks' loss to San Antonio. "Obviously we had three heartbreakers the last four games…. (Sunday) is really, really critical for us to go out there and be really prepared."
The Knicks weren't prepared on Saturday. They fell behind by 16 in the first quarter and 28 early in the third. They closed the gap late in the fourth but ultimately lost, 111-104, to a Spurs team that was playing without PG Dejounte Murray and that had dropped eight straight.
"I don't know how to explain it. We were in mud. And they were a desperate team. So we got punched in the face and we dug a hole," David Fizdale said after the loss.
New York is 4-12 and has dropped four of six since team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry had an impromptu press conference after a 21-point loss earlier this month.
The general sentiment coming out of that press conference was that - win or lose - the club needed to be more competitive. In the games since, New York had mostly been competitive. But Saturday's ugly loss was a step back.
"We were all out of sync, both ends of the floor, out of rhythm for some reason offensively and not working the game and really moving them," Fizdale said. "Defensively, we were a step slow on everything. We lacked a sense of urgency defensively, which is just something I preached over the last two days, but we just didn't have it."
New York's primary goal on defense is to defend the paint. That seemed to come at the expense of the perimeter on Saturday. San Antonio, which came into the Garden as one of the league's least potent 3-point teams, hit 12 of 23 against New York.
"Just a bad start. You do that, you have to play perfect down the stretch (to win)," Julius Randle said. "We gave ourselves a chance but if we eliminate the start, we probably win by 20."
Whether that's accurate or not, the Knicks need to turn the page quickly and give a competitive effort against the Nets. Brooklyn will be without Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert. Fair or not, another blowout loss could renew external speculation about Fizdale's job security.