Monday, March 24, 2014

Knicks have Knicks-like second half, end streak with loss to Cavs

That terrible Knicks ball that hasn't been nearly as present over the past eight games returned Sunday night, as the team bungled a 17-point lead.

"They beat us, they won the game," said a dejected Carmelo Anthony following the game. "It's tough, we should have won this game, we gave it away."

Melo scored 32 points in the loss, but laid an egg in the fourth, going 0 for 5 from the field. After the game, Melo said double teams caused him problems and also admitted the ball just wouldn't go in the basket. It also felt like player movement also stopped at times and it became Melo versus the world. The team also settled for a number of perimeter jumpers rather than going to the basket. Amar'e Stoudemire, who has been a strong point in the teams streak, also disappeared in fourth, scoring only a single basket.

On the other side of the ball, while the Knicks stars were fading, guard Jarrett Jack went off. He scored 23 points in the second half on 10 for 13 shooting and dished out 5 assists.  Jack -- who scored an unsurprising season high -- was unstoppable in the second half and in the final minute, scoring  a crucial basket to help put the game away.

"Those guys got hot," said Raymond Felton, who was responsible for guarding Jack for a majority of the half. "Jarrett Jack got hot coming off that screen-and-roll... once a guy gets hot like that, it's kind of hard to guard him."

"He hit a lot of tough shots, contested by me, contested by Tyson. I mean, he just had a good night."

The players and coach Mike Woodson both seemed to target the slow start to the third quarter for their downfall.

"In the third quarter we came out a little flat," said Tyson Chandler. "We had some defensive breakdowns to start that quarter. It kind of gave them a bit of a rhythm and from their they just fed off it."

Coach Woodson said, "I thought we started off well, and we came in after the half time, I thought we were playing pretty good basketball. And then we went dry early in the third. I thought we came out of the third so slow, they scored the first five points and then we decided we wanted to play."

"Once Jack and Waiters really got going, it was tough."

This is an especially disappoint loss considering the streak the team was on and the push they are trying to make for the playoffs. Woodson said before the game he thinks the team will need to hit the 38 to 40 wins area to take the spot, meaning they will have to be almost perfect over the final 12 games.

Something that Carmelo Anthony says is more than possible. Despite the loss on Sunday, he seemed eager to move ahead and continue the push.

"I got faith that we can make a run, we've been playing extremely well," said Anthony. "As far as how many wins it's going to take -- who knows? We got to go play. We can't worry about how many wins it's going to take."

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