The New York Knicks lost a heartbreaking game to the Washington Wizards on Friday 90-89. The Knicks had trailed earlier in the game, but gained momentum and took the lead sometime in the second half. However, they have committed several costly mistakes that helped the Wizards win at Madison Square Garden.
Despite Carmelo Anthony‘s uncharacteristic nine turnovers during the game, there was one glaring bad habit that’s never been fixed in a very long time. Amar’e Stoudemire rarely sets a screen correctly. In the final possession of Friday’s match when Anthony held the ball at the top of the key anticipating Stoudemire’s screen, he decided to move away and was cornered by two defenders before losing the ball. Had Stoudemire made a reputation for helping out the ball handler when setting a screen, Anthony may have preferred to dribble in his direction.
Tyson Chandler is probably the best screen setter in the team, but Knicks coach Mike Woodson decided to take him out and place Stoudemire for the final seconds that night. Stoudemire has played his best basketball in quite a while, even his shooting percentage is the team’s second best. But he shouldn’t be subbed in to set screens because he likes to slip away instead of trapping defenders.
Even when Stoudemire and Steve Nash revolutionized the pick-and-roll for the Phoenix Suns, Stoudemire rarely blocked Nash’s defender. A move like that is perfect for the smart point guard like Nash, but Stoudemire can’t get away with slipping screens on a half court offense.
By now, the Knicks’ coaching staff should have trained him to set screens to create space for his teammates. Unfortunately, Stoudemire continues to slip on screens on a daily basis with a team that does not have a high-octane offense like Phoenix did. It’s great to see him shine again, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.