In a league filled with skilled point guards, ultra athletic dunkers, and sharp shooting small forwards, certain aspects of basketball are forgotten. Sure, the SportsCenter Top 10 will be filled with Chris Paul-to-Blake Griffin alley-oops, LeBron James windmill dunks, and Kevin Durant buzzer beaters, but solid defensive play and bench scoring will never show up on the highlight reel. Sure, the occasional blocked shot will make it in, but these two boring aspects of the game are virtually forgotten. No team has been more forgetful than the 5-4 New York Knicks. The Knicks, led by their superstar small forward and power forward, are giving up 95.3 points per game, ranking in the bottom half of the league. In addition, the Knicks are really lacking production from their bench. In Monday’s home win against the Bobcats, the Knicks got three (3) points from their bench, their worst output in 41 years. This type of play will not bring a championship to Madison Square Garden.  With the season only nine games old, can fans expect the Knicks to turn it around on the defensive end and off the bench?

Is Melo Playing Hurt? The Bench Needs To Pick It Up!

As fast as the Knicks can score points, they can give them up on the defensive end. Last season, the Knick offense was able to score 106.2 points per game, but gave up 105.9 on the defensive end. That’s not going to get it done. When playing the best defensive team in the playoffs, the hard nosed Celtics swept the Knicks in four games. The Celtics don’t possess the same offensive power as the Thunder or Heat do, but the sweep proves that this Knick team will struggle to beat better defensive teams.

On the bench, the Knicks lack any true offensive threats. With rookie point guard Iman Shumpert being moved to the starting lineup, the second unit is having a tough time. Mike Bibby (no points), Toney Douglas (two points), Bill Walker (no points), and Josh Harrellson (one point), barely contributed to the Knicks bottom line. In fact, this foursome only played a total of 53 minutes last night. Every Knick starter played 35 or more minutes. In a condensed season, the Knick starters aren’t going to be able to consistently play 35-40 minutes per night. The bench must pick it up. And forget about Baron Davis coming back. Some Knick fans think that Baron Davis will find his inner John Stockton and lead the Knick attack. Baron Davis is finished and will solely serve as a mentor to Shumpert. Knick fans who actually think Davis will help are as clueless as Jet fans.

Carmelo Anthony called ‘holding’ the Charlotte Bobcats to only 87 points, ‘a great defensive effort’. Call it whatever you want, but the Bobcat offensive attack isn’t exactly striking the fear into the hearts of their opponents. Most people reading this couldn’t name more two players on the entire Bobcat team!

The Knicks will be tested as a the first place Philadelphia 76ers come to the Garden tonight. The Sixers are excelling in both defensive play and bench scoring. The Sixers are holding their opponents to 85.2 PPG (best in the NBA) and their second unit is led by sharp shooter and rap star, Lou Williams (17.1 PPG) and defensive specialist, Thaddeus Young (12.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG). The Sixers are an extremely deep team that the Knicks may have some trouble with. The Knicks are at home and will face the Sixers in the third game of their back-to-back-to-back.

The Sixers are for real, so the Knicks will have their hands full on both ends of the court. If the Knicks can get some bench scoring and solid defensive play, it’ll be a great game. Going forward, the Knicks must channel their inner defensive play and ignite their bench scoring or this team will fail to meet expectations.