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Turmoil in Manhattan

NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. – Monday night, the New York Knicks looked to avenge an earlier defeat to the New Orleans Pelicans back on Dec. 30. Anthony Davis couldn’t be stopped and led the Pelicans to a 104-92 win in New Orleans. New York was in danger of losing its first season series to the Pelicans since the 2007-08 season, as Monday would be the last meeting between the two teams.

New York had to look for retribution against the Pelicans without Derrick Rose. Rose was unreachable prior to the game for a reason that is still unknown. There was no indication that Rose wouldn’t be at Monday’s game, being that Rose attended the team shoot-around earlier that morning.  Knicks team officials were so concerned, that they sent someone to Rose’s apartment to check for him. Rose contacted people in the organization after the game, and let them know he was OK and in Chicago.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes) Rose has been visibly frustrated with the Knicks' recent struggles.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes) Rose has been visibly frustrated with the Knicks’ recent struggles.

In the first quarter, the Knicks came out ready to compete. Carmelo Anthony got off to a great start, as he scored an efficient (5-7 FG) 13 points first quarter points. Davis looked primed to have an even better performance, as he had 14 points and six rebounds at the end of the first quarter.

The Knicks trailed 29-26 after the first quarter, and would be led offensively in the second quarter by Brandon Jennings. Jennings was announced as the starter in Rose’s absence, and was responsible for keeping the game close to end the first half. Jennings scored 13 second quarter points, including connecting three times from downtown.

Kristaps Porzingis on the other hand struggled offensively, and was held to just seven (2-10 FG) first half points. Porzingis along with the rest of the supporting cast, could not stop Davis nor step up offensively. Davis ended the half with a double double (22 points, 10 rebounds), and the Pelicans were hot from behind the arc (10-15 3PT FG). Both Davis’ hot start and New Orleans’ hot shooting, led to a 60-51 deficit for the Knicks at the half.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes) Coach Jeff Hornacek rushes to call timeout, as Davis breaks the game open with a dunk.

(Photo Credit: Barry Holmes) Coach Jeff Hornacek rushes to call timeout, as Davis breaks the game open with a dunk.

Davis exploded for 18 third quarter points, and helped the Pelicans to break the game wide open. New Orleans would lead by as many as 26 points, as it started to unravel for New York. Both Anthony (arguing a no-call) and Kyle O’Quinn (flagrant-two on Davis) would be ejected upon frustration. The Knicks were undermanned, and Porzingis was never able to find his rhythm.

New York fought at the end of the game to make it a little respectable, but still suffered an embarrassing 96-110 defeat to the Pelicans in Madison Square Garden. The Knicks dropped to a 17-21 record on the season, and now are 1-9 in games that they score under 100 points. It is extremely difficult to win, when your starting point guard is MIA and your franchise player gets ejected for the third time this season.

The underlying issue here, is the tumultuous state of the Knicks. The effort level defensively was not there from New York on Monday night, and has been absent all season. With Anthony getting ejected and Rose not even in the arena, it’s clear there is no eminent leadership in the locker room. You have to think about the poor example that is being set for young, developing players like Porzingis and Ron Baker.

When times are tough and there is frustration, that is when you need your leaders to step up and lead you out of the darkness. However, there is nothing but darkness and questions without answers following the loss to New Orleans. It is uncertain whether Rose will be back with the team for Tuesday’s practice, but it has been said by sources that Rose was frustrated after being benched on Friday night for Baker.

The Knicks right now do not look like a team that is destined for the playoffs. This team has a heap of issues to clean up, however may lack the personnel to do so. The New York bench has continued to struggle producing offensively, and the Knicks can’t stop a nose bleed. The Knicks’ fortitude was under question following Monday’s loss, and you have to wonder if the team can ever regain back its chemistry. There needs to be some serious soul searching done in that locker room, before the Knicks square off against the Philadelphia 76ers (10-25) on Wednesday night.

Stats Of The Night:

  • Davis finished the game with 40 points, 18 rebounds, three blocks and two assists.
  • Only two Knick players (Anthony,18pts & Jennings, 20pts) scored in double figures Monday night.
  • The Knicks had just 17 team assists against the Pelicans.
  • Porzingis finished with only nine points, four rebounds and two blocks in just 24 minutes.

Barry Holmes is a Senior Writer for PureSportsNY.com. Follow him on Twitter @BHO732

(Featured Photo Credit: Barry Holmes)

 

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