Another evening simply resulted in yet another defeat for the Knicks, who have proven unable to win without Carmelo Anthony this season.
To be fair, Anthony's health hasn't been as much of a concern as it has been in past seasons. Still, the team looked absolutely lost against Sacramento. A lack of fluidity on offense in the first quarter was arguably what led to the their eventual demise, putting a very quick nail in New York's coffin.
Sacramento has a worse record than the Knicks, and at many different points in Sunday's matchup, they showed why. Much like their opponent, they too were in disarray quite often. In what may have been his last audition of sorts before the Knicks ponder signing him in free agency, Rajon Rondo had one of his sloppier games of the year, tallying just 2 points, 6 assists, and committing 4 turnovers. He didn't look to have command over the Kings' offense.
But alas, though there wasn't much organization or flow to their offense attack, Sacramento was firing on all cylinders with all of the weapons in their arsenal healthy. A balanced attack, with multiple players heating up at various points in the contest, was too much for the Knicks to handle once the early deficit was created.
Here are some more observations from the loss.
- The one player who did step up in Anthony's absence was Robin Lopez; he was phenomenal. It's no secret that the big man has received a more central role in interim head coach Kurt Rambis' tweaked offensive blueprint, but this was different. Lopez was a dominating presence on both ends of the floor. In addition to attacking and seeking out his own offense (23 points, 20 boards), he held DeMarcus Cousins under his season average, and made him work for the points he did get.
- There was a coming out party for rookie Jerian Grant, whose 10 points off the bench in the first half helped keep the Knicks afloat. He finished with 14 points and 2 steals, looking as confident as he ever has this season. The Knicks need to encourage more of that behavior and give him more opportunities as the season concludes. They need him to help him grow, because even through a solid performance, his insecurities still peeked out.
- There's been a lot of talk as to whether Rondo could fit in the triangle, but following his unsteady performance, it's safe to say his veteran leadership wasn't on display in New York. It'll be interesting to see if he's a target for the team this coming summer.
- Sunday's game was just further proof that the Knicks' have mismanaged Langston Galloway's continued development this season. After serving as somewhat of an offensive spark last season and the early goings of this one, Galloway seems to shy away from the basket more often these days. It's one thing to preach a more balanced effort with a higher awareness on the defensive end, but his offense (or ability to attack the basket) has seemingly faded away. It's no longer a priority, and New York doesn't encourage him. When the Knicks are actually in need of offense, such an ability is sorely missed.