It seems to appear that the New York Knicks have fallen in love with the three-point shot. Despite the return of Amar’e Stoudemire, and Carmelo Anthony’s success on the blocks, it has been bombs away with Coach Mike Woodson’s crew. However, someone should remind the Knicks that if you live by the three, you will die by the three!
I was watching the Knicks-Nets game the other night and everything was going as predicted. The Knicks raced out to a 21-point lead behind Anthony’s white-hot shooting and their precise ball movement. Then the second unit entered the game and someone must have evoked a new rule that the team could not shoot below 23’ of the basket. Led by the mad bomber himself, JR Smith, the Knicks were raining threes from every where on the court. Even when the starters returned, it was still bombs away. There was a point in the third period where it seemed as if every shot the Knicks took was from beyond the arc. That 21-point lead was reduced to five at one point and Coach Woodson put an end to the nonsense.
He got the Knicks to run some pick and rolls for Melo and order was restored. The Knicks eventually won by an eight-point margin but the game should not have been that close. But then, against Cleveland, the Knicks reverted back to the Mad Bombers, as Stoudemire returned and the offense looked discombobulated against the Cavs. They played better against the Hawks on Sunday where Amar’e and Melo looked more comfortable together. At least the Knicks cut down on the threes and moved the ball more in the win against Atlanta.
Former Knick coach Pat Riley once called the three point shot Fool’s Gold. You can take over a game with this weapon and loose control of a contest with it as well. The Knicks are at their best when they move the ball around several times before even looking at the basket. In this case they take shots within a natural rhythm of the offense and they take higher percentage shots even if they are beyond the three-point line. It is about shooting in rhythm and not coming down and jacking up shots at will. When Steve Novak and Smith catch the ball within the rhythm of the offense, they are generally successful. But when they shoot after one pass or forced up shots, the success rate plummets.
As the Knicks proceed with their playoff run, I hope that they realize they have more success when they move the ball, sharing it among themselves in order to get an open shot. They can’t rely on three pointers. Ball movement will be the key to their success.