For all the talk coming from the Kings in the previous day, and the fact that New York was missing one of it's best players, to come out and play the way they did tonight was simply inexcusable. The Kings lost this game in the 1st quarter, going down 22 points early and never really getting it close. Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 23 points, but the real star for them was rookie big man Josh Harrellson, who filled in for Amar'e Stoudemire nicely by chipping in 14 points (including 4 threes) and 12 boards.
Transition defense, the biggest weakness for the Kings, wasn't an issue tonight surprisingly. The Kings only gave up 8 fast break points to New York. Unfortunately, almost everything else was a problem.
The ball movement was once again abysmal. New York is a great example of how to move the ball despite not having a true point guard. The Kings too often resort to over-dribbling and standing around on offense. They also do a terrible job at getting the ball to guys who are in good position to make a shot, or they'll also go from a position to make a good shot and take a tough one instead. One example was John Salmons catching the ball at the top of the key with nobody on him and instead dribbling into four Knicks defenders. Another was Cousins dribbling straight into Tyson Chandler who was clearly set for a charge when he could have either shot the mid-range jumper or hit Jimmer who was wide open next to him. As a result, we're taking tougher shots than we need to, and it shows in our shooting percentages. This team is not cohesive offensively and something needs to change.
This was also the first game where our halfcourt defense really looked bad as well. The Knicks helped spread us out with their unbelievable barrage of threes in the first quarter, but they should never have gotten as many open looks as they did. I knew we were in serious trouble when the Knicks got up to such an early lead and Carmelo Anthony hadn't even done anything yet. As it were, when he did get going, the Kings had nobody who could stop him without fouling him and sending him to the line.
Speaking of the line, it was yet another terrible performance there by the Kings, hitting only 63.4%. The incredibly frustrating part of it is that we are getting to the line a LOT, over 30+ times each game, but we can't take advantage.
If I had to identify a couple bright spots, I'd give it to Isaiah Thomas for coming in late and still playing with a lot of energy and intensity even though the game was long gone. I'd also credit Chuck Hayes with another spirited effort on the glass and on defense. Donté Greene showed why he is both so tantalizing and frustrating, coming into the game and having an immediate impact with a couple threes, but he then proceeded to kill a couple offensive possessions with bad decisions.
Individually we had some terrible performances. Tyreke actually has been alright shooting from the field and taking it to the basket the last few games, but he's not always making the best decision out there, particularly on fast breaks. He's going to need to learn some new tricks if he wants to excel. DeMarcus is just shooting atrociously from the field, and especially around the basket which is surprising. Jimmer had by far his worst game as a rookie, going 2-10 from the field.
The most frustrating part about this team is we saw just how good they can be in that first game against Los Angeles. That team seems to have gone somewhere else ever since the midpoint of the 2nd quarter of the Portland game. They better get it together quick, or these next few weeks are going to get really ugly.
New Orleans comes into town tomorrow. It remains to be seen which Kings team shows up.