I was at the game, it seemed like the entire team, including but not only CP3, was just not in it. It’s very difficult to quantify but if you were there you could just feel it, there was a conspicuous and equally strange lack of enthusiasm & energy from our players tonight, like they just didn’t care.
1) Why is CP3 taking 9 shots? I have a theory/feel like there is a legitimate but difficult to prove answer here: Paul is (over)compensating for the past years where he had to be the scorer and the distributor, but now overcompensating because he thinks we have a good enough supporting cast that he can continue to solidify his name in the history books as an unselfish team leader that could be the attention-grabbing shooter if he wanted to be but didn’t need to be. Does that make sense? Call it a hunch, but this is something I really, strongly feel is at work here.
1 Cont’d) If true CP3 needs to wake up, he is a PG and the load is off of his shoulders but he still needs to take as many shots as his backcourt counterparts, especially against a defensively-challenged fast-break team like the Knicks.
2) I won’t be redundant, the defense was atrocious. CP3 couldn’t stop awful Raymond Felton, Okafor rebounded incredibly but defensively was sliced like warm butter by Stoudemire, and we were lit up from behind the arc by guys named Wilson Chandler and Shawne Williams.
3) Our 3 point shooting is very bad – Ariza’s inability to make 3’s is especially disturbing; we knew he was a low-percentage shooter, but his incapacity to make scantly challenged treys is something I at least did not expect and expect him to improve pretty soon or he’s going to have to see his shots reduced, because people are going to let him drift out to the arc and let him clang those all day.
4) The backcourt bench of Pondexter, Thornton, Jack, & Green was punchless.
5) We only had 2 blocked shots (both by DJ Mbenga) against a team that flies by the seat of its pants/offers copious blocked shot opportunities
1) We rebounded like monsters again, 47-29 overall and had 11 offensive rebounds to NY’s 6. Okafor and Ariza especially were monsters off the glass, nabbing 14 and 9.
2) Disclosure: I like DJ Mbenga. That being said, he was extremely helpful tonight, scoring a bucket with a pretty hook, making both of his free throws, grabbing 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks while fouling only once in 9 minutes. Let’s hear it for the (popularly voted) 6th man of the game.
3) Jason Smith was terrific. In only 15 minutes he made 5 of 8, shot cleanly from the charity stripe, grabbed 5 rebounds and showed along with Mbenga about the only glimpses of energy from Hornets players tonight, especially on that nasty put-back dunk early in the game.
My take is it’s really hard to lose it with Ariza taking 21 shots, since we’re not used to having usually durable Mr. West out of games. That being said, to me the most objectively disturbing stat. is CP3 taking 9 shots. There is no possible rationale for that, and it hurt us badly. I hope he learns that he himself needs to use his sick skills to nail a reasonable amount of buckets, but I strongly feel like he associates any scoring mentality with/like turning back the clock to the old, bad days where he had to play 45 minutes a game, was the sole focus of the offense and had to score 25+ for us to win. Come on CP3, we love your unselfishness but you’re overcompensating.
With David West, I think we can take the Knicks easily. His offense would have been much more more helpful than our tactic tonight of going small re the 2nd-team with the ineffectual quartet of Pondexter, Thornton, Jack, & Green.
Also, I was stunned to hear alot of uninformed fans around me screaming for Monty to speed up the offense. As stated in the post, this is ridiculous, the way to lose against the Knicks is by playing their style of game, allowing them to essentially race you to a win rather than beating them by slowing the pace down to how we’ve played consistently and more effectively against better (and similarly slower) teams like Portland this year. I say keep this offense slow (although that to me smells like an undeserved euphemism for afraid, stupid, or plainly bad), methodical, and deliberate. We have so many good niche personnel, with a floor chief like CP3 marshaling the offense with these guys, being conservative is much more effective/likely to lead to Ws than going to the races and seeing if we can perchance win there.