Left elbow. (Screencap via @TheKnicksWall)
That, in case you can't believe your eyes, is the New York Knicks' fractured big man literally turning around to stare at the basket in the middle of a live play on Tuesday night. The man he is closest to, and is nominally defending, is Detroit Pistons guard Peyton Siva, and he has the ball.
Credit to the Louisville product for not overthinking Stoudemire's bold gambit, assuming it was some sort of veteran's trick and passing the ball away; instead, the rookie attacked. Naturally, though, given the often-awful nature of the level of play in this particular matchup, he traveled, giving the ball back to the Knicks. That's right — the Knicks got credit for a stop on this play, and were afforded a chance to cut into Detroit's lead before the end of the third quarter. (They didn't, trading a J.R. Smith layup for a Rodney Stuckey buzzer-beater, making the whole thing a wash.)
It is not exactly news that Stoudemire is one of the league's worst defenders, especially in pick-and-roll and help-defense situations, but seeing his confusion laid so bare had the disorienting effect of confusing many viewers, too:
— Farmer Jones (@thefarmerjones) November 20, 2013
In that respect, Amar'e and Andrea Bargnani really are two birds of a feather. This lapse was the most glaring and flabbergasting, but it was far from the only one the Knicks committed on Tuesday. With coach Mike Woodson evidently looking to amend his switch-heavy defensive scheme, just about nobody in a New York jersey seemed to have much of any idea where they were supposed to be at any given time, which is the kind of thing that can get you in heaps of trouble, even against a Pistons team that at times seemed determined not to move the ball despite the Knicks' polite insistence that if they did, they'd be allowed to score with minimal resistance.
The Knicks allowed the Pistons to shoot 69 percent from the field in the midst of a third-quarter collapse that ultimately cost them the game, and as they stubbornly attempted to walk down Detroit in the fourth quarter, they declined to intentionally foul Pistons center Andre Drummond — he of the 17.6 percent mark from the foul line, who had air-balled a freebie earlier in the game — to take the ball out of other playmakers' hands, despite Woodson showing a willingness to turn to that tactic against Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets last Thursday. (The Knicks apparently never discussed going that route.)
Woodson, in a somewhat surprising statement, said he felt the defense was good tonight. Thought the offense stalled at bad times, tho. — Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) November 20, 2013
You're right about the offense, Coach — everything's stalling at this point — but on the other score, you might want to head back to the top of this post and watch again.
The Knicks now sit at 3-7, tied with the similarly sad Brooklyn Nets for last place in the woeful Atlantic Division. They head home Wednesday to face the Eastern Conference-leading 9-1 Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night, which seems like a recipe for very, very bad things. Maybe, at least, they'll be funny.
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