WASHINGTON – The Knicks went on the road feeling themselves a little bit with their modest two-game winning streak.
Then they were slapped back to reality in Washington, of all places, because we should all remember that a night of Kristaps Porzingis brilliance can only distract from the losing for so long.
In this case, the positive vibes lasted less than 24 hours.
“This is bull,” backup point guard Brandon Jennings said afterwards. “These are games we need to win.”
It’s only Game 12, but Jennings is right. If the Knicks want to be a playoff team and save themselves from lottery embarrassment, they can’t lose games like Thursday night.
Not against the Wizards. Not with another no-show on defense.
It was a non-competitive affair for most of the 119-112 defeat at the Verizon Center, as the Knicks failed to match the Wizards’ energy and sense of desperation until it was too late.
Carmelo Anthony put up 19 points but went just 1-for-8 from three-point range.
Jeff Hornacek blamed the lethargy on playing in the second game of a back-to-back, but that’s a poor excuse when juxtaposed with these ugly truths: the Knicks (5-7) are 1-5 on the road; they have one of the worst defenses in the NBA; they just lost to a Wizards team that lost to the Sixers — yes, the Sixers — a day prior.
The thought of losing secondhand to the Sixers prompted Jennings to make a disgusted face.
“From here on out we need to be desperate every game,” he said. “This was a team desperate for a win and they got it. They just lost to Philly last night and they come and beat us.”
These are premature alarm bells from Jennings, and there’s a three-game homestand coming up with a chance to right the ship for the Knicks. But Washington was just another example that this team can’t find traction or consistency. It couldn’t last season before the bottom fell out and Derek Fisher was fired. It hasn’t through 12 games this season.
A day after he exploded for 35 points and heard MVP chants at the Garden, Porzingis was stifled by Washington’s Markieff Morris and managed just 16 points on 7-of-16 shooting. Carmelo Anthony wasn’t much better with 19 points on 7-of-17 from the field. Joakim Noah disappeared again, logging only 19 minutes (with the Knicks being outscored by 18 points in those 19 minutes).
Hornacek blamed Porzingis’ dud on tired legs. He also took it on the chin and blamed himself.
(Rob Carr/Getty Images)
“(Playing 40 minutes) probably had an effect on (Porzingis). A lot of his shots were short. That’s usually a sign of fatigue. But he’s young. He’s going to have to learn how to play in back-to-back games,” the coach said. “It’s tough on a guy that’s 7-3. That was probably my fault for playing him too much (Wednesday night).”
The Wizards (3-8) were in the midst of an early-season mini-crisis until the Knicks came to town and served as the remedy. A Wizards team that couldn’t shoot suddenly knocked down 54 percent of its attempts, including 15-of-25 from beyond the arc. It was the most points the Knicks allowed all season. And that’s stacked up against some other impressively inept flops.
The defense was so bad that the Knicks scored 47 points in the fourth quarter and still lost.
“The fight defensively wasn’t there,” Hornacek said.
That type of stuff keeps teams out of the playoffs.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News