Isolation Plays Are Killing the New York Knicks

By A.J. Speier
Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

After the New York Knicks 8-1 start, there were talks that they might be able to challenge the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ best regular season record, but the Knicks are starting to struggle.

The Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets have exposed the Knicks’ biggest weakness defensively. They can’t defend isolation plays.

After falling from the best defense to the 11th-best defense, the Knicks have allowed a league-high 1.04 points per isolation.

The Rockets were the most efficient team to use it against the Knicks. They scored 1.21 points per isolation. James Harden and Chandler Parsons were the key players using it. Harden had 33 points and Parsons had 31 points.

Carmelo Anthony is the worst defensive player when it comes to guarding isolations. Opponents are shooting 6-for-8 in isolation situations against Anthony.

“They’re getting in the heart of our defense,” Tyson Chandler said. “They’re allowing offensive rebounds, easy shots on the perimeter, dump-offs for layups, just a lot of easy baskets. Early in the year we were making things tough; now we’re letting guys in easy.”

The Knicks have a winnable game to get back on track against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, but they’ll face two premier isolation players in Deron Williams and Joe Johnson against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.

The Knicks could definitely use Iman Shumpert’s defensive presence, but he’ll be out until at least midway through the season. Rasheed Wallace will be back on Sunday, but defensive specialist Marcus Camby hasn’t practiced enough to get playing time. Amar’e Stoudemire is still trying to recover from his knee injury and is at least a month away from being able to play.

Follow A.J. Speier on Twitter @Ajbisons for articles, news, and all things NBA

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