The Knicks’ first possession of their 107-87 loss to the Dallas Mavericks was a turnover, fitting for the disorganized manner of this season.
And judging by head coach Derek Fisher’s disappointed demeanor, that was merely a microcosm of what this dreadful season has been all about, as the neophyte’s mannerisms were incredulous when breaking down the start of the game.
“I think the start was not the right way to start a professional basketball game,” Fisher said. “The guys that started the game were a disappointment to their teammates. Guys who start need to mentally and physically be ready to play and they couldn’t put that out there. So, we got another five to put in there to play with some energy and get us back in the game. …Overall, not being able to sustain high effort and high energy and elite-level performance is an issue for us.They [starters] put us behind the eight-ball from the jump.”
The Knicks are seemingly intimidated by the thought of achieving success this season, are a mess across the board, and are seeing how badly the loss of Tyson Chandler (who punished his old team to the tune of 14 rebounds Tuesday) has effected them this season. And Tuesday night, Dallas’ pivot did whatever he wanted in the paint
“You have to make them feel your physical presence,” Shane Larkin said. “If you don’t do what he [Chandler] does, and hit them [opponents], and start being physical when they come to the hole, then they’ll easily get in their sets and do what they want to do.”
During his Knicks’ tenure, Chandler used to be thatintimidating force. But injuries and illnesses stifled his performance in his final season, leading to his trade. He thought he’d return to New York this season, which is why he actually began his workouts earlier than any time in past offseasons, so he couldhelp them rebound from last season’s 37-45 finish. Instead, new president Phil Jackson dealt Chandler to Dallas in his first big move, as Jackson even hinted at addition by subtraction in improving locker room chemistry to justify the move.
Such alluding likely left a sour taste in Chandler’s mouth, but he insisted that the two thrashings he helped give the Knicks this season were just business, never personal.
“I wouldn’t say there was any vindication. My whole thing is just I want to have a successful year,” Chandler said. “I feel like I’ve got a great opportunity with this team and I want to help lead this team to something special.”
While Chandler is on to bigger and better things, his former team is in the midst of a horrendous season — with a road matchup against the Chicago Bulls (15-9) next on the docket, and no end in sight of this season’s misery. Seems like a trade the stalwart would do all over again.
- About the only surprises related to the game occurred during the players’ introductions, as the Garden faithfulmostly cheered Chandler.
- The ex-Knick got the ball rolling early when he hammered in three dunks during Dallas’ sizzling start.
- Chandler has 12 double-doubles this season, compared to only 16 all of last season, when he missed time early in the season with a broken leg.
- The Mavericks have won 22 of their last 27 meetings against the Knicks after sweeping the season series this year. They are 10-3 in their last 13 trips to the Garden.
- Chandler came in shooting 68.2 percent from the field and increased that with his 4-of-5 shooting night.
- When Fisher removed the entire starting five and replaced them with reserves, the gutsy move paid dividends, as the Knicks went on a 21-7 run to get back into the game, before succumbing to Dallas’ depth.
- Dallas shot 4-of-31 in 3s in the first matchup in November, but they recovered nicely and shot 15-of-33 from behind the arc, including 4-of-8 alone in the third quarter.
- Fisher essentially admitted what everyone already knows in that the Knicks don’t play a lick of defense:”We’re scrambling in terms of matchups, trying to find guys who can guard certain guys.”
- Carmelo Anthony, who tallied a game-high 26 points, has logged 40 minutes per game over the last week — and this while still recovering from a season-long left knee malady.
- It was the Knicks’ fifth-straight loss at the Garden.