Second Verse, Same as First: Knicks Lose to Pacers Again

Danny Granger's shot sends Knicks to three straight losses.

By Josh Alper
|  Wednesday, Mar 16, 2011  |  Updated 9:00 AM EDT
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2nd Verse, Same as First: Knicks Lose to Pacers Again

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If you want fodder for anger about Tuesday night's 119-117 Knicks loss, you have no shortage of places to look.

You can fume about the fact that the Knicks tried a no-chance lob at the hoop with 0.3 seconds left in the game instead of giving an open Carmelo Anthony a chance from the top of the key.

They brought Anthony here to hit shots like that, after all, and he'd hit a shot on the previous possession to put the Knicks in the lead.

Alas, Jared Jeffries's pass went nowhere after Danny Granger put the Pacers on top and Anthony was left to voice his displeasure with the forward's decision.

If that's not your bag, you could consume yourself with the fact that Chauncey Billups played like he's still hurting too much to be on a basketball court. The point guard got beaten badly by Darren Collison all night and made two crucial turnovers to help give away a game that the Knicks were leading after a comeback from 15 points down early in the contest.

Billups's injury hasn't helped the team gain any kind of consistent flow on offense. Anthony had 29 points and Amar'e Stoudemire had 21, but the points came from a bunch of individual operators instead of a team.

Feel free to be peeved by any or all of these things. Just know that they had nothing to do with the Knicks losing the game.

The Knicks lost because they refused to play defense or show up with the kind of effort necessary to win a game in the NBA. That was a straight repeat of Sunday night's repugnant play at the Garden, right down to making Tyler Hansbrough look like the league's most dangerous player.

Hansbrough scored 30 on Tuesday, bettering the career high of 29 he set on Sunday, and did it against a defense that showed no interest in stopping him. They never forced him to do anything he didn't want to do, choosing to let him remain in his comfort zone and score at will. There are players who you can accept doing that, but Hansbrough stopped being one of them when he started playing for pay. 

Atrocious as the defense was, it was more galling to watch the team fall down to the level of the competition once again. The four losses to the Cavs and Pacers since Anthony and company arrived in New York have boggled the mind and must be pinned to Mike D'Antoni as much as any player.

The coach has made it clear he's not thrilled with the makeup of the team and he hasn't had much time to work with them in practice, but that doesn't excuse not figuring out the buttons to push to make the team look as good as they have against the Heat, Hawks or Grizzlies. 

Something's rotten with the Knicks right now and it is up to D'Antoni to eliminate it and eliminate it quickly.

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.

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