Knicks again decide not to play D, blown out by Timberwolves

By on November 20, 2014

Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire actually had strong and efficient offensive games, respectively scoring 20 and 19 points on 14-for-19 shooting between them before Fisher rested both for the entire fourth quarter. The remainder of the team combined to shoot 40%, and the Knicks committed 23 turnovers to fall to 3-10, including losses in the past week to four teams who − like them − also missed the playoffs last season: Orlando and Utah at home, and Milwaukee and Minnesota over the past two nights on the road.

Iman Shumpert missed 10 of 11 shots and scored just three points, while J.R. Smith scored the same amount and logged just 13 minutes, including none in the final quarter.

“Our offense and whether or not we understand the triangle is not what’s costing us these games,” Fisher said. “I think for a while, that was our out, but that’s no longer our out. We’ve talked about that from the beginning; defense had to be the end that was gonna hold us together and it’s not right now.”

Indeed, Fisher’s Knicks again applied zero perimeter pressure and trailed by 13 at the half. They allowed the Timberwolves eight 3-pointers (of their 11 overall) and a whopping 64 points through two quarters. That included 18 of Kevin Martin’s game-high 37 and 12 points from No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins, who was acquired over the summer from Cleveland in the Kevin Love deal.

Iman Shumpert’s hair is the highlight of the Knicks season so far.David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images Iman Shumpert’s hair is the highlight of the Knicks season so far.

Minnesota outscored the Knicks 37-26 in the second quarter, one night after the Bucks went off for 35 in that same period.

“A lot of things have to change. But it’s not really to talk about, it’s just for us to do the work and get there,” Fisher said. “(It’s) just reminding them that success and winning at an elite level requires a very high degree of sacrifice and it really requires you to kind of lay your basketball life on the line for those around you.

“You have to give some things up to get some things back and we’re still trying to break through that as a group.

Individually we’re making a lot of progress, we still haven’t put it together collectively, and we have to figure out a way to do so.”

Carmelo Anthony scores 20 points on 7 of 10 shooting in just 27 minutes. David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images Carmelo Anthony scores 20 points on 7 of 10 shooting in just 27 minutes. Enlarge J.R. Smith looking not very pleased. David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images J.R. Smith looking not very pleased. Enlarge

One game after the Knicks’ late comeback bid from a 26-point hole fell four points short (117-113) against Jason Kidd and the Bucks, they trailed by as many as 24 in the third − but never got closer than 13 this time − against an unproven Timberwolves squad that came in with a 2-7 mark and was without three of its top players: Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic and Thaddeus Young.

And this was the follow-up after Smith had categorized it as “embarrassing” on Tuesday that Fisher had to implore his team “to play hard” after falling behind by 20-plus points?

“Defense is going to have to be what we hang our hat on… All successful teams play defense,” Smith said.

“We got to come up with something. It’s not fun anymore. It’s not fun losing, so until we get the mindset, camaraderie in practice on defense, whatever they think it is, whatever the case may be, we got to find it soon.” 

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