The New York Knicks lost on Monday to the Atlanta Hawks in the most devastating of ways. The Hawks beat the Knicks in Madison Square Garden, 108-107.
The Knicks had three separate chances to win the game on their final possession. Without Kristaps Porzingis playing (sore achilles), the Knicks went to their most reliable clutch-time player this season in Derrick Rose.
Rose stood atop the three point line as the clock winded down from 12 seconds. An opening appeared and Rose attacked. Rose was on his way to hitting the game-winner and being the hero of the day, but Paul Millsap challenged Rose at the rim and won.
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Millsap sent Rose’s layup back across the paint and into the hands of Carmelo Anthony, who promptly took his patented turn around jumper from eight feet away.
Clank, off the back iron.
Joakim Noah desperately fought for a last second tip in, but didn’t get enough air under the ball, miss. The ball leaked out towards Dennis Schröder and the rest is history. Atlanta beat New York in a gut-wrenching holiday game.
New York lost another game, but this was the first time in a while the Knicks competed, hustled, and looked determined to win a game against a formidable team. This loss could prove valuable to their confidence going forward.
New York lost the game, but may have found their late game lineup in the process: Rose, Justin Holiday, Anthony, Noah, and Mindaugas Kuzminskas. When Porzingis comes back from injury, the Knicks will substitute him for Noah, and we could have ourselves a lethal small ball lineup.
Anthony has excelled playing the 4 spot dating back to his first days a Knickerbocker, but for some reason, the Knicks have been hesitant to play him there.
New York’s defense has been downright bad, and losing 11 of their last 13 games gives them a reason to try something new. New York has a chance to adopt the small-ball craze, space the floor, and try to outscore everyone who crosses their path.
Rose is still elite when it comes to penetrating defenses. New York needs to encourage Rose to drive and kick by surrounding him with 3-point shooters. Rose should be the main point of attack for the Knicks.
This would put pressure on defenses to collapse and help, opening up shooters all around the perimeter.
Spacing the floor and adopting small ball could be the answer to the Knicks’ woes this season.