The New York Knicks were just as good as the Cleveland Cavaliers last year, but it wasn’t all that surprising to see the league’s second-worst team drop to its fourth-worst mark.
ESPN’s preseason preview was the most comprehensive look at what the Knicks are capable of as a team, which is why we had to take a look at their first-half struggles to find their true flaws.
There’s a lot of talk about Carmelo Anthony and his future in New York, but there’s also plenty of talk of Kristaps Porzingis.
The big man has been an absolute beast, and the Knicks will need him to step it up to make things happen on the other end of the court.
With that said, the team’s first half was far from spectacular, and that will continue to be the case heading into the playoffs.
The Knicks were 0-9 when Porzingys first-quarter points were converted, and they’re 3-7 when they’re not.
They also scored just 18 points in the first quarter when they took over the game, which was just a fraction of their second-quarter output.
The team’s offensive struggles started in the second quarter, as they couldn’t convert their third-quarter shots, but they weren’t as bad as the Knicks had been in the regular season.
The offense struggled a bit with Porzingas bench play, as he was the only player on the team who was able to put up a double-double in the game.
With Porzingus scoring just 10 points in just over two minutes of playing time, he was certainly out of the equation.
He was replaced by Kyle O’Quinn, who scored 12 points, including four in the fourth quarter.
It was clear the Knicks were in a funk heading into this game, and even with the bench, the offense was nowhere near where it needs to be to compete.
The only bright spot for the Knicks was Porzingias play, especially after the team lost its lead to the 76ers.
The shooting struggles continued with Porzys offensive struggles, as the team shot just 34 percent in the third quarter.
Porzingos struggles continued throughout the second half, as his team shot only 39 percent and just 28 percent from the field in the final quarter.
The Bulls also shot just 38 percent in that time, which wasn’t great, but that wasn’t enough to overcome the Knicks’ poor shooting.
There were a few bright spots for the Bulls, as Derrick Rose had his second-highest scoring game of the season, hitting a game-high 26 points.
The rest of the team was far less effective, with just three players hitting double-digits, which meant that they didn’t help the team out much in the post game.
The second-best team in the league is on pace to finish with the league-worst shooting percentage, which will surely lead to even more struggles from Porzinges team.
The Cavaliers are in a similar situation, and there’s a good chance that Cleveland’s bench could be the reason they don’t reach the postseason.
The Cavs finished the regular-season with a shooting percentage of just 49.3 percent, which ranks 29th in the NBA.
They’ll be fighting for their fourth playoff spot in four years, which could be a big problem for the second-year team.