Efficiency lacking during recent Knicks skid

February, 27, 2013
2/27/13
12:52
PM ET
By Rachel Stern, ESPN Stats & Info
ESPN.com

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty ImagesJason Kidd and the Knicks are scratching their heads after losing four of their last five games.
On February 2, the New York Knicks were in a virtual tie with the Miami Heat atop the Eastern Conference standings with a 30-15 record. What a difference a few weeks make.

Since then, the Knicks have gone 3-5 and lost four of their last five games. They have dropped to third place in the East, trailing the Pacers by one game and the Heat by seven games.

So what has gone wrong in the Big Apple?

INNEFFICIENT OFFENSE
For starters, the Knicks’ offense has been less efficient. It was averaging 109.0 points per 100 possessions through the first 45 games this season, but, since then, is scoring just 104.2 points per 100 possessions.

One reason why the Knicks’ offense has struggled is that they aren’t scoring as efficiently on catch-and-shoot opportunities. During their first 45 games, the Knicks ran catch-and-shoot plays 33 percent the time on offense and scored 1.14 points per play. Since then, the Knicks are spending about the same amount of time in this play type, but scoring only 0.94 points per play.

The drop in production could be due to the fact that teams are guarding the Knicks in this play type more often. The Knicks were unguarded on catch-and-shoot plays 62 percent of the time in their first 45 games but have been unguarded only 57 percent of the time since.

LIVE BY THE THREE…
No team relies on the three-ball more than the Knicks, and it has not been falling like it used to. They lead the league in percentage of points from three-point field goals this season at 32.5 percent. However, over the last eight games, that percentage has dropped about five percentage points.

The breaking point has been 35 percent. On the season, the Knicks are 27-7 when they shoot 35 percent or higher from three-point range as a team, compared to 6-13 when they shoot below 35 percent.

No player represents their struggles more than veteran point guard Jason Kidd. Through February 2, Kidd shot 40.4 percent from three-point range. That percentage has plummeted over the last eight games, as he is shooting just 15.2 percent during that span.

STOUDEMIRE’S STRUGGLES
Though Amar'e Stoudemire has looked increasingly effective on the offensive end since returning from his knee injury, he has hurt the Knicks defensively. Over the last eight games, the Knicks have allowed 115.8 points per 100 possessions with Stoudemire on the floor, compared to just 99.3 points per 100 possessions when he is on the bench.

That on-court defensive efficiency of 115.8 would be the most points per 100 possessions allowed by any team this season. His off-court efficiency (99.3) would put the Knicks among the league’s five best.

This trend does not bode well for the Knicks, as they get set to welcome the Golden State Warriors to town Wednesday night (8 ET on ESPN). The Warriors’ high-powered offense averages 104.1 points per 100 possessions this season, good enough for ninth in the league.

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