- Teams: New York Knicks (21-39) at Detroit Pistons (23-36)
- Date: March 3, 2014
- Time: 7:30 p.m.
- Television: FSD
What to look for
The Detroit Pistons are mired in a four-game losing streak, which is causing them to lose ground in the race for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. What’s more, the defeats have not been all that close.
During the streak, Detroit has been losing games by 8.8 points per game. They need a change in fortunes, and perhaps tonight is when that occurs. The Pistons will host the stumbling New York Knicks.
New York is in the midst of a six-game losing streak that makes them look practically like the Philadelphia 76ers. During this run, the Knicks are losing on average by 15 points per game.
Philly (currently on a 14-game losing streak) is losing games on average by 10.8 points this season, which suggests that they are closer to New York in terms of output than most would be willing to acknowledge.
It’s an interesting place for New York to be considering that owner James Dolan reportedly stated earlier in the season that he thought the team had enough to win the title this year. Yikes!
The Knicks were never truthfully talented enough to contend for a championship this season, but they should be much better than what they have looked like this season.
One of the issues plaguing the team is the inability to play in concert with each other on offense, and the complete lack of accountability on defense. Knicks players routinely are the last people in the arena to notice their own defensive breakdowns.
For instance, in yesterday’s loss against the Chicago Bulls, Joakim Noah conducted a basketball clinic on backdoor passing. For all the talent Noah possesses, none of the Knicks ever realized that the Chicago players wanted to be overplayed so that they could cut hard to the basket for scores courtesy of the Bulls center.
In related news, New York is second to last in defensive efficiency.
Fair or not, this will be a mark on Carmelo Anthony, who just happens to be playing the best basketball of his career during this mess of a season. I have been critical of Anthony previously, but this year from hell is one of the most fascinating developments in recent memory.
All-Stars that are playing at the peak of their powers usually produce wins, but that simply has not been the case in Gotham. Since the All-Star break, the Knicks have only been victorious once in their eight tries despite the fact Melo has been sensational.
During this timeframe, Anthony is averaging 32.5 points, 8 rebounds and 2.8 assists on 47.4 percent shooting from the floor and a sizzling 44.1 percent 3-point shooting. In addition, Anthony has played hard and remained engaged throughout the course of this stretch.
An argument could be made that Anthony has ceased caring about the season, and that he is instead focused on securing the biggest deal possible elsewhere this offseason when he hits free agency. Obviously, there is little proof to suggest this, but it has to be in the back of the minds of fans.
The Knicks are on the verge of becoming the league’s laughingstock… again (remember the Stephon Marbury years?). Last season, some New York fans were convinced the Orange and Blue were going to make it to the NBA Finals, and it resulted in this amazingly comical fan commentary (language not safe for work, but it’s worth a few giggles, especially when we know how their season ended).
This time around, the mood is much more somber in the Big Apple, and it’s certainly warranted. New York is now looking for very little victories (perhaps even moral ones), because of the way this season has gone. The team is losing games and perhaps even its franchise cornerstone in the process.
As bad as Detroit needs a win tonight, New York needs it more. That doesn’t mean they will play like it though based on their recent string of games.