HOUSTON — First off, let’s get the Linsanity out of the way early.
That is, this notion of the Knicks as legitimate championship contenders.
In the past two games, the Knicks have given up 114 points to the Mavericks and now 131 to the Rockets. At this rate, they’d better hope that Jack Taylor and Grinnell College aren’t looming out there on the schedule.
“This was unacceptable tonight,” said coach Mike Woodson. “An awful performance on our part.”
The Knicks looked like your uncle during his post-Thanksgiving dinner nap, lying with pants undone on sofa while some kind of game was being played in the background.
They let James Harden look like a Formula 1 race car, making twists and turns and switchbacks all night long through the lane. They turned Chandler Parsons into a hybrid of Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain and for all anybody knows, he might still be out there on the Toyota Center floor hoisting jumpers.
“I thought we had lapses all over the place,” said center Tyson Chandler. I take responsibility for that. I got to get my team and myself better.”
It is hard to write it off as just one of those nights that happens from time to time over the course of the long NBA seasons when it happen twice in succession.
In Dallas and in Houston the Knicks did not defend the perimeter and did not contest anyone who showed the slightest inclination to take the ball to the basket. They allowed easy layups to be scored with impunity and they almost never got back down the floor on defense. The New York big men were never quick enough to adjust and stop anyone at the rim.
As if giving up 72 points in the first half wasn’t embarrassment enough, at one point in the second half, Jeremy Lin led a 3-on-2 fast break and was blocked on his drive by Chandler. Parsons scrambled to get the ball, looked around, and then flipped it to Omer Asik, who gathered himself and finally slammed it with both hands through the rim. At that point, the other three Knicks defenders had still not run past midcourt to get into the play.
“It was definitely unacceptable, embarrassing to lose like that,” said Carmelo Anthony. “We feel like we’re a good team, so we’ll bounce back…we’ll be fine.”
Not if Anthony wants to spend defensive possessions arguing with a referee with his back turned to the play while Patrick Patterson roars in for a dunk. Not if Anthony wants to stand in the locker room after the game and wonder how it was that he was only given two free throws on the night without considering that the dozen 3-pointers he jacked up might have had something to do with it.
Just the idea that the Knicks could attempt 39 treys on the night — making 17 — and still lose by 28 points said that all anyone needed to about where their heads were.
The 6-0 start is fading fast along with the “Linsanity” that it was going to last.