The Knicks ditched the much talked about triangle offense but, unfortunately, the result was still the same – a 95-90 overtime loss to the Conference leading Toronto Raptors. As the team found yet another way to lose a winnable game, coach Derek Fisher said post-game that veering away from the basics of the triangle cost his team late at Madison Square Garden.
“It cost us,” Fisher said. “We have several things we do to start possessions that is still inside of our offense. We have to continue to add things as our guys have become more comfortable with our basic stuff. Once you open that box it is hard to get guys back to our basic things. That is what cost us in that overtime.
“We didn’t get back to our basic things in overtime.”
Coming off a week in which stories in the N.Y. media suggested that players are privately complaining about the new offense being installed under the Phil Jackson regime, the Knicks went back to what they primarily ran under Mike Woodson the past two seasons – a pick-and-roll focused offense for much of the game against the Raptors.
Late in the fourth quarter Jose Calderon, a pick-and-roll specialist, found Amar’e Stoudemire (10 points, 8 rebounds) for a dunk and then Carmelo Anthony (34 points, 9 rebounds) for a three-pointer on back-to-back possessions.
The players insisted that they were not abandoning the triangle, merely adding something to it.
“I thought we ran it [pick-and-roll] a couple of times and it worked,” Anthony said. “At the end of the regulation we stuck with it. We were very productive. . . . Down the stretch and regulation that’s what we were running that was working.”
Anthony, who the reports indicate was the focus of some of his teammates’ ire for being a ‘ball-stopper’, was careful when answering the questions about the Knicks’ offense post-game.
“I don’t know, today was just one of those days that it was working.
“So I don’t kind of want to get away from the system and what they have been implementing and what we have been taught to do out there. Tonight was one of the nights where it worked, it was productive, we got some things that we were happy about and satisfied about so to answer your question, I really don’t know what’s the mind-set when it comes down to kind of implementing that.”
Stoudemire is a guy who thrives in pick-and-roll situations. Post-game he told media that he feels that both pick-and-roll and the triangle should be utilized by the Knicks, possibly in that order.
“I think there is a way to get the pick-and-roll action involved in the game,” he said. “If it doesn’t work, then you have plenty of time to get into the triangle offense.”
“With the 24-second shot clock you have plenty of time to get two types of action.”
In the overtime period, however, the Knicks struggled to get buckets when it mattered, missing their first six shots – with or without the triangle/pick-and-roll.
“We had five minutes of basketball to play and we didn’t just get back to some execution things that we talked about between the fourth quarter and overtime,” Fisher said. “We talked about being able to execute in that overtime and we didn’t do it.”
Feature image credit: Associated Press.