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Sometimes You’re the Hammer, and Sometimes You’re the Rock

By Jeff Koch on January 3, 2013.

The phrase in the NBA for tonight’s loss is “schedule loss”. As in, the schedule was so tedious, the team was more than likely going to lose the game. 4 games in 5 nights–with 3 on the road–will do that to you. Throw in the Knicks’ heightened defensive focus from their head coach, and this one was all but sewn up from the tip. The team fought hard through the first half, keeping it even. But it didn’t pass the eye test: the team was sluggish, sloppy, and not putting the work in to win a game. Eventually, that bore itself out as the Knicks pulled away rather quickly at the end of the 3rd quarter.

The circumstances surrounding this game were eerily similar to the game in Miami, right down to it being on a Thursday night, the NBA’s typical marquee night. (Ironically, and perhaps luckily, it wasn’t on TNT, the only Thursday night not booked, because of the College Bowl season.) During the fallout of the Miami game, I made the point that resting players, in addition to being sound long-term strategy, might also be decent short-term strategy. Role players get bigger roles and play their asses off, trying to prove something. They’re also less tired. The Knicks are thrown for a loop, their initial game plan out the window. Perhaps they let down against the “lesser” competition. Based on my very scientific observation (N = 2, after all), this is indeed true. Wouldn’t you had rather seen Mills and De Colo get extended burn, playing their asses off, rather than Ginobili running on fumes, picking up silly fouls all over the place, in between throwing the ball away? Or Parker not really fighting to get to the rim?

I’d rather lose like we did in Miami than the way we did tonight. It’s a loss either way, but in Miami (much like the infamous Dallas game last year), it still feels like something was gained. Tonight just feels like I wasted a couple of hours of my night.

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