The New York Knicks lost a heartbreaker today in Boston, 115-111 in overtime. Despite being a deeper, more athletic team that should be running the aging Celtics off the court, the Knicks could not get the job done. Until they start winning games against playoff caliber teams on the road, they are going to flounder between the 7 and 8 seed and set themselves up for a likely first round exit.
When it came down to it, Paul Pierce was just a little more clutch than Carmelo Anthony. Rajon Rondo was much better than Jeremy Lin, who now has two ugly performances in the last three games against big time Eastern Conference opponents and Amare Stoudemire just wasn’t good enough…again.
The talent is there. The depth is there. The mental toughness and ability to consistently win big games is not yet.
Jeremy Lin must protect the basketball. Between him and Baron Davis, who does seem to finally be getting his stroke back, the Knicks can’t sustain so many turnovers from the point guard position. It is hard to get on Carmelo Anthony too much for today because of how many big shots he hit down the stretch but they still need more from him on defense and in the leadership department. Amare must be more physical on defense around the rim and has to start finishing at the basket especially if Tyson Chandler’s wrist becomes a bigger issue.
There were positives today, notably Iman Shumpert who was terrific at both ends of the floor, especially on defense. If he has a few more performances like he did today, it won’t be long before he is in the staring lineup. The rookie isn’t shy in a big spot and is a great offensive weapon when he is attacking the basket.
The Knicks remain what their records says they are, a .500 team who now has two tough road games coming up in Texas against the Mavericks and Spurs. We know how brutal the upcoming schedule is but the clock is ticking on the Knicks making their move to catch Philadelphia.
They couldn’t get the big road win they needed today, hopefully they will be up to the challenge on Tuesday.