The Two Sides of the Knicks

The Knicks play tonight. But before all you Knicks fans get all excited, you should be just a little scared. You see, we’re not entirely sure which Knicks team will show up tonight.

Sometimes the Knicks show up to play. They step out on the floor, play from tip-off to the final whistle with intensity and heart. They take pride in their defense, and actually look to stop the other team from scoring. Then, other times, they step on the floor and, well, yea, that’s pretty much it. And they showed both those sides in their last two games.

When that first Knicks team steps on the floor, they’re capable of some scary things. And by scary, I mean a playoff run for the first time in over a decade. Take their game against the Bulls three days ago. The Knicks started off the game with intensity, shooting 12 of 16 from the floor, building a 27-6 lead. They eventually took a 21-point lead. But it wouldn’t be a Knicks game without a little disappointment, as they eventually lost that lead. Carmelo Anthony eventually led them to an overtime win behind 43 points. But the real story was the passion they played with. It beamed off them. It showed from beginning to end. They played like a team that’s fighting for their playoff-lives. They played defense, forcing 20 turnovers, and giving it up only nine times.

Last night, it was a completely different story. The Bulls had more fast-break points (14-10), more points in the paint (40-28), more second-chance points (25-5), and a better shooting percentage. They also out-rebounded the Knicks 51-33. They looked defeated and apathetic as soon as the ball was tossed and the game started.

It’s those types of games that show the Knicks’ problems. Without Lin and Stoudemire in the lineup, no one is stepping up to take the offensive load from Melo. Landry Fields is fading, spending some more time in la-la land. Novak isn’t hitting those back-breaking three’s he once was. J.R. Smith is taking on five defenders, dribbling, and dribbling, and over-dribbling some more, forcing bad shots. And on defense, no one is stepping up to help Tyson Chandler. He’s the only one that doesn’t take a play off. Jarred Jeffries is looking like the Jeffries of two years ago, the one no one wanted on the team, rather than the one who’s been a flat-out defensive force.

The Knicks just flat-out not playing like they’re fighting for a playoff birth. They can very well be knocked out of position to make the post-season. They’re only one game ahead of Milwaukee for the eighth and final playoff spot. So lets see if they show up tonight against the Bucs. If I were you, I wouldn’t hold my breathe.

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