Coach Mike D’Antoni declared the Knicks (6-8) are in “crisis” after they were dismantled 91-88 by the Suns led by Steve Nash (26 points, 11 assists, 5 boards) in a game that resembled a death march. Except for Nash’s performance and an attempt at late game heroics by Iman Shumpert, the game was a constant B-roll for a basketball disaster movie. Both D’Antoni’s former team and current team showed no sign of the fire power and speed that led the world to label the coach an offensive genius.
The Knicks only shot 37.2% with stars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire combining for 12 of 44. At lease Landry Fields looked more comfortable and aggressive as he scored 17 points on 6-12 shooting and added six boards and four assists.
In the end, the Suns beat the Knicks because the game was too close and two-time MVP Steve Nash had the ball in his hands to control the game in the final minutes against a rudderless Knicks team . Iman Shumpert (20 points, 4 steals, 2 assists) surprisingly was, along with Carmelo, the go-to player who drained two well-shot three pointers before heaving a wild three pointer as the Suns tried to foul him at the end of the game.
D’Antoni is coming increasingly frustrated as he is unable to make the adjustments to make this team offensively effective despite having two of the most prolific scoring big men in the game. D’Antoni who must be lamenting the lack of players who can run and play his offensive style, has placed the onus on his players lack of ball movement and the need for a point guard, as Baron Davis waits to get into the Knicks mix .
Although, I didn’t hear it on the telee, I was not surprised to learn that the part of the Garden crowd was chanting “We want Mike Woodson.” a call for the firing of D’Antoni and an opportunity for his coach-in-waiting. It is so easy to be a naysayer, but given the poor play of the Knicks defense and the improvement of the Hawks defense since Mike Woodson left Atlanta, one should not be overly optimistic that Woodson can make this team much better. It is most likely that this team will be unsuccessful until it picks up a very good point guard and an offense that focuses on getting players better shots at the end of excellent ball movement and pick and pick and rolls.
Side outs: Mike D’Antoni’s time is coming to an end finally. He has never been a great coach here in New York. Although he has not had the pieces, he has always done a poor job of managing the pieces he has. Unfortunately, he is not strong at managing a team that has a non-scoring big man like Tyson Chandler. He proved that was not his strength when he had Shaq in his waning years slow down his 7 seconds or less offense. . . . D’Antoni refuses to use his youngin’s to speed the game up and get his guys into fast break mode. The youth and athleticism of his squad makes that a viable option. Shumpert, Fields, Melo, Balkman, Jeffries and Walker can run the floor. So can Toney Douglas. . . . Tyson Chandler is doing what he was brought here for. He had 17 rebounds and 2 steals.