Friday, December 28, 2012
Halftime Report: Kings 71, Knicks 50
By Jared Zwerling
When was the last time the Knicks were down 27 points in a game this season? Only once -- to the Rockets on Nov. 23 -- and it happened again towards the end of the second quarter on Friday night.
The Kings completely dominated on offense. They shot 25-for-42 (59.5 percent) from the field, 10-for-15 (66.7 percent) from 3-point range and 11-for-13 (84.6 percent) from the free throw line. The Knicks' performance was a complete 180. Their numbers in those categories were 20-for-45 (44.4 percent), 6-for-15 (40.0 percent) and 4-for-9 (44.4 percent), respectively.
While the Knicks' defense was disastrous, they were also off offensively. They were clearly missing Raymond Felton and Carmelo Anthony. You can add Amar'e Stoudemire to the mix, too, as the Knicks struggled to produce off the pick-and-roll.
Here are three main observations from the first half:
1. Where's the D? It all started in the first quarter, when the Kings dominated inside and out. They shot 10-for-10 from the foul line and 4-for-7 from beyond the arc. They also took a page out of the Knicks' book, as they played very efficiently. They had seven assists and only two turnovers in the opening period. Every Kings player in the first half scored.
2. Sloppy point-guard play. In the first quarter, the Knicks had six assists, but five turnovers. Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni had two fumbles each. They forced some difficult passes and didn't get deep enough in the lane to get the ball flowing. Instead, the Knicks banked on J.R. Smith (13 points) and Chris Copeland (13 points) to get it going in isolation. In the starting five, Tyson Chandler (11 points) was their only offense.
On the flip side, the Kings' speedy guards Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Thornton, Aaron Brooks and Jimmer Fredette got right around Kidd, Prigioni and the Knicks' perimeter. Thornton and Brooks both scored in the paint, and all four of them had at least one 3-pointer. Fredette (15 points) had three 3s off the bench.
3. Copeland's impressive progression. In four out of the last five games he's played in, the rookie scored in double figures, including a season-high 29 points on Dec. 17 against the Rockets. With the Knicks' interior and Anthony hurting, Mike Woodson has turned to Copeland for points -- and he keeps looking more and more comfortable on the court. Tonight, he showed off two impressive drives, in which he attacked with a quick first step, then spun and finished strong at the rim. He also extended his game, knocking down two 3-pointers and a Melo-esque one-dribble-hesitation-to-quick-release jumpshot move.