Frustration Level Rises With Third Straight Knicks Loss

Knicks fail to show up in San Antonio, lose 118-105 as a result.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Parker was treated to a night of smooth sailing thanks to his friends on the Knicks.

    Linsanity feels like it was going on about 10 years ago, but you probably can still recall hearing crowds at Madison Square Garden chanting "MVP" when Jeremy Lin would head to the free throw line.

    It was silly, but not just because Lin was a handful of games into his NBA career. It was ridiculous because there's no one even close to being as valuable to this year's Knicks team than Tyson Chandler.

    That's been apparent throughout this season as Chandler has spurred rally after rally with his defensive skills, but it was never more clear than during the Knicks' 118-105 loss to the Spurs that wasn't nearly as close as that score would have you believe.

    The Spurs scored 60 points in the paint and outrebounded the Knicks by 10 over the course of an evening that made you wonder if the Knicks made a pact to not even bother trying in Chandler's absence.

    We're all well aware of the fact that Lin, Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire aren't crazy about defense, but there are moments where they at least go through the motions. None of that on Wednesday night as Tony Parker was waved into the lane like a conquering general returning to Rome.

    It was more than just defense, though. There wasn't a single 50-50 ball all night that the Knicks wound up with, seemingly more afraid of tearing their uniforms than they were excited to get possession and have a chance to win.

    The total unwillingness to compete should be shocking, but we've seen it happen so often this season that it was easy to predict the way things would unfold the second we learned of Chandler's absence with a hamstring injury. The players deserve much scorn, but that fellow with a mustache and a suit on the sideline needs to bear some of the blame as well.

    How can a team show up to a game so ill-prepared to play unless Mike D'Antoni's indifference to the outcome mirrors their own?

    It was impossible not to get angry while watching the Knicks play the way they played on Wednesday night, which is the only explanation for Spurs coach Gregg Popovich deciding to get himself ejected while his team was up 24 points in the third period. There were probably plenty of Knicks fans at home starting fights with their spouses at the same moment in hopes of getting kicked out of the house for the night.

    They probably weren't as lucky as Pop, though, and that meant they also had to watch the next night of the great lurching monster that is the Knicks offense trying to find itself. Anthony had a better night than he did in Dallas -- 12-of-24 for 27 points -- but a lot of it came late as the offense reverted back to letting 'Melo do what 'Melo does without much concern for the overall system.

    It worked, which is probably something of a lesson about getting your best scorer the ball in spots where he feels comfortable, but the real answer here is that this is going to be a serious work in progress.

    Zach Lowe of SI.com did a great job breaking things down, pointing out that the Knicks weren't as good on offense, especially when you factor in competition, during the Lin-led winning streak as you probably think they were, and that a workable solution to the problems likely isn't right around the corner.

    Not that anything about the offense matters all that much when the team refuses to even bother trying on the other end of the court.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.