The Knicks Need a Closer More Than the Suns Need a Diesel
The Knicks led the Pacers by 7 points with 7 minutes left.
They lost by 3.
The Knicks led the Clippers by 11 points in the 3rd quarter.
They lost by 9.
The Knicks were in a tie-game with Sonics with 1 minute left.
They lost by 1.
The Knicks led the Blazers by 8 points with 7 minutes left in the 4th quarter.
They lost by 6 in OT.
The Knicks just got flat-out beat by Utah last Wednesday.
They closed within 3 with about 7 left in the 3rd, but never even tied it.
The Knicks led the Lakers by 9 with 9 minutes left in the 4th.
They lost by 11.
The Knicks led the Warriors by 4 early in the 4th.
They lost by 2 points.
This is the anatomy of a seven-game losing streak in which the free-falling team has actually been playing very well. They were in control of 6 of these 7 games at various points during each. Aside from the hiccup in Utah, where they came out flat, each game, looked at by itself, was filled with positives. Except for the ending. Because the Knicks cannot close out a game.
The Knicks, as constituted can go up and down the floor with almost anyone in the league for the first 40+ minutes of a game. They proved this by winning the early track meet against the Warriors. However, they cannot cope in the final minutes when the game slows down and you need to execute a half-court offense and stop an opponent's half-court offense.
The reasons that they can't stop the other team are legion and well-documented.The reason why their offense stutters is that they DO NOT HAVE A POINT GUARD in the game.
We were all quick to notice how well-adjusted and cohesive the team seemed to be without Stephon, but now we are seeing the downside. Crawford and Nate are shooting guards in point guard bodies who are struggling running the game in 24 second intervals as opposed to over the long haul. This is about not knowing what to do rather than not being able to do it.
Therefore, the Knicks consistently fritter away the key possessions even in games when they've shown that they can exert their will on the other team. In other words, they need a closer.
Or a point guard.
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