VIDEO: Bulls vs. Knicks
NEW YORK — The New York Knicks have admitted freely that the Triangle offense would take time to learn. Exhibit A: Their 104-80 loss to the Chicago Bulls in the first game of the season on Wednesday.
The Knicks’ offense looked slow, robotic, disjointed, clumsy, and just flat-out brutal. They only had 12 turnovers, but there were some ugly ones, like passes going straight out of bounds because guys weren’t on the same page.
And the shots …
There was an occasional layup off a back-door play on the weak side, a Triangle staple. But most of the Knicks points were not a product of the offense, but of their ability to improvise after things broke down. They still have some talented offensive players on the roster.
But when Samuel Dalembert and Quincy Acy combine to take four 15-20 footers in the first quarter, something is very wrong. The Knicks took 21 shots from the restricted area and 17 3-pointers. They took just as many shots (38) from mid-range, with another nine from the similarly inefficient area of the paint outside the restricted area.
It wasn’t as old-school (and bad) as the Lakers’ shot chart on Wednesday, but that kind of shot selection isn’t going to win you many games. You can credit the Chicago defense some and also note that New York was without starting point guard Jose Calderon (strained right calf). But the offensive disfunction was just as clear in the preseason against lesser defenses and with a healthy Calderon.
“We’re going somewhere,” Knicks coach Derek Fisher said after Wednesday’s game. “But at the beginning of where we’re going, it’s going to be difficult to get wins.”
Knicks president was a little more blunt. “Not ready for Showtime, were we?,” he responded when asked by the Daily News for his reaction to Wednesday’s performance.
Not at all. If the offense was bad, the defense was worse. But with the personnel the Knicks have, the defense probably won’t get much better over the course of the season, so the pressure is on the offense to start functioning, because the wins and losses count now.
And the Knicks play a tough early schedule as they try to look a little less disjointed every game. They will help Cleveland welcome back LeBron James on Thursday (8 p.m. ET, TNT) and then head back home to face East playoff teams Washington and Charlotte.
Their worst opponent in their first eight games is probably the Pistons, but that game is in Detroit, on the second night of a back-to-back for the Knicks. The eight games are all against East teams that could push New York out of a playoff spot, and the stretch includes three back-to-backs.
So you have to wonder when the Triangle will start to work, at least to a point where the Knicks have a chance to score consistently against NBA defenses.
“There’s not a calendar date,” Fisher said when asked about his team’s learning curve on offense. “It really just depends on our team and our players and our willingness to stick with the process.”