Without the services of Amar’e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin, the New York Knicks had no answer for Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers, losing 109-95 on Friday night. After a five-game winning streak the Knicks have now dropped their third consecutive game.
The Knicks were once again bullied in the paint (outscored 36-24) and just could not make a run to topple the league’s fifth-best team. The Knicks also shot themselves in the foot by only making a miserable 34.9 percent of their shots.
Let’s asses 5 initial observations from Friday’s game:
It’s can’t be overstated enough how well Carmelo Anthony is rebounding the ball lately; However, he was dreadful shooting the ball against Clippers
In one game, Anthony probably had his worst shooting night of the season while also having his best night rebounding the ball. That’s because Anthony shot 4-23 from the field, scoring 26 points (he was 16-16 from the free-throw line) to go with a season-high 20 rebounds. It was quite a peculiar night for Anthony and if he was on tonight, perhaps the outcome would have been more favorable for the Knicks.
J.R. Smith comes alive
You have to give Smith credit when credit is due. Smith probably had his best game of the season on Friday night as he scored 24 points on 9-18 shooting from the field (3-7 from three-point territory). Perhaps Smith is making a conscious effort to behave and concentrate solely on basketball. With a trade (even though it’s been put out there) not likely to happen, the Knicks are likely stuck with Smith and if he can play and behave like he has in the last week or so it will certainly help the squad. Maybe the last couple of benching’s by Mike Woodson is getting through to Smith. One can only hope.
Jeremy Tyler shows some signs of life
Although he only appeared in 14 minutes of action, Tyler showed off some of skills that made him a hot commodity in the summer league. Tyler scored six points (3-3 from the field) and grabbed two rebounds on the night. With Stoudemire and Martin out a few weeks, Tyler has the chance to make an indelible impression with the Knicks. It will be interesting to see what the kid has in him.
Beno Udrih stays glued to the bench
Whether it was his knee injury flaring up or not, Udrih sat the whole game on Friday night. With Toure Murry playing well in his stead, perhaps Woodson moved Murry ahead of Udrih on the depth chart. Udrih has hardly given the Knicks what they wanted when they signed him over the summer and he will likely remain bench fodder for the foreseeable future.
Iman Shumpert disappears again
Shumpert had another off night on Friday night and was held scoreless after shooting 0-4 from the floor in 25 minutes played. With Anthony off on this night, Shumpert could have helped out with the scoring load, but he disappeared again after struggling in Thursday's game with the Pacers. All in all, it’s been a maddening year for Shumpert.
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