New York Knicks still lacking a consistent identity

Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

Ahead of Saturday’s noon start the Knicks imposed a 10 PM team curfew.  It did not help, as the New York Knicks fell to 8-18 on the season in a Saturday matinee loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Knicks got off to their usual slow start in weekend afternoon games where they are now 0-3.  The final margin was only 8 points (95-87), but the Knicks comeback attempt fell short in the 4th quarter after they came back from 19 to cut the lead to single digits.

The telling stat of the game was the rebounding advantage.  The Grizzlies outrebounded the Knicks 56-29. Memphis was led by Zach Randolph, who pounded the Knicks inside scoring 30 points and grabbing 15 rebounds.

The Knicks started Tyson Chandler, Andrea Bargnani,and Carmelo Anthony to attempt and match up with the size of the Grizzlies, but obviously it did not help much.  The Knicks also allowed 60 points in the paint.

Offensively the Knicks were led by Carmelo Anthony (30 points), J.R. Smith (16 points) and Tim Hardaway Jr. who also had 16 points. The Knicks starters not named Carmelo Anthony shot 6-25 from the field.  Iman Shumpert was 1-7 for 2 points.  Hardaway Jr.’s emergence may force coach Mike Woodson to bench the struggling Shumpert.  New York continued their struggles with three point shooting going 6-22 (27%).

The Knicks are 10 games under .500 and they do not have a consistent identity.  They attempted to change their lineup again to provide more defense and it backfired.

After the game Carmelo Anthony was asked to compare this year’s team to last year’s team that won 54 games and won the team’s first Atlantic Division Title in 13 years.  ”Last year’s team had an identity from the jump, Anthony said, this year is different.”  ”We come in and look at the board to see who is starting, and adjust to that,” continued last year’s scoring champion.

It is no question that the constant tinkering of the lineup has affected the Knicks players.  They have had to make adjustments due to injuries, but from the beginning they have never had continuity on either end of the floor.

Right now, the only player you can count to give you consistent production is Carmelo Anthony.  The rest of the roster has been up and down or injured.  The inconsistency of players like Iman Shumpert also makes it hard to build a rhythm with the starting group.

J.R. Smith hinted that perhaps the Knicks need to pick up the pace of their offense and get easy baskets. It would help but it is hard to get in transition when you don’t get stops and miss a lot of shots, as the Knicks are doing.  It is an uphill battle for the Knicks.

The curfew did not work, and the city will only get more restless as the Knicks continue to search for their missing identity.