Dominating Centers Create Problems For New York Knicks

By A.J. Speier
Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Not many teams have been able to solve the mystery on how to stop the New York Knicks so far this season, but following a 110-106 loss to the Chicago Bulls, we might finally have the answer.

While some experts believe Carmelo Anthony is the best scorer in the NBA, the Knicks have been employing a pick-and-roll offense with Tyson Chandler rolling to the rim to finish off alley-oops. Chandler’s picks have also set up perimeter shots for other shooters as well.

The one way to stop this is to have a dominant center that can matchup with Chandler, which is something the Bulls and Houston Rockets have with Joakim Noah and Omer Asik. The Knicks are 0-4 against those teams, but are 19-3 against the rest of the league.

Entering Friday night’s game against the Bulls, Chandler was averaging an NBA-best 1.41 points per play as the roll man. Noah kept Chandler in check, holding him to just the two free throws he made after getting fouled. Chandler had just five points.

The Knicks were forced to take a gamble and allow Anthony, J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton to take 66 of their 91 shots from the field. Anthony ended up with 29 points, Smith had 26 and Felton had 21.

While the strategy managed to get the Knicks 106 points, their defense took a hit as they were out-rebounded 51-40. With Anthony playing out of position as a power forward, Chandler had little help as Anthony finished with just three rebounds.

Without Amar’e Stoudemire, the Knicks will be forced to live by 3-pointers when they face other teams with dominating centers that can take away the pick-and-roll and clear the paint.

Anthony has been consistent this season, but Smith and Felton have been streaky shooters, so it’s fair to wonder if opposing teams should make it their focus to stop Chandler, who is the league’s best field goal shooter at 70.5-percent and let the inconsistent shooters try to beat them.

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

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