The reviews are coming in on the Knicks opening night loss to the Bulls and if this were a Broadway show it could be closed within a week.
The Bulls routed the Knicks Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden, showing the difference between a contender and where New York is right now. The Bulls took control of the game when the teams went to their benches near the end of the first quarter (a 25-10 Chicago run) and sealed it by pulling away in the third.
It took the fight out of the Knicks, something J.R. Smith owned up to after the game, as reported by Ian Begley at ESPNNewYork.com. Iman Shumpert concurred.
“When we stopped competing the end of the third quarter, fourth quarter, we could all tell,” Smith said. “I think they looked at it as if they felt they smelled blood in the water. We just couldn’t do anything about it. We put our heads down and tucked our tails. We can’t do that at home.”
“We never recovered,” Iman Shumpert said. “We can’t die like that. I think our energy died and we can’t do that.”
Phil Jackson put it this way.
“Not ready for showtime, were we guys?” the Knicks president said to reporters before getting into the passenger seat of his SUV.
Things are not going to be better Thursday night when the Knicks are the sacrificial offering for LeBron James’ homecoming in Cleveland.
It’s going to be a rough transition in New York. Phil Jackson is trying to bring a system and a way of doing things to the organization and the current roster is a terrible fit for that system (save for Carmelo Anthony and a couple others). Plus the triangle itself really takes teams a season to really start to use properly even when they have the right style of players.
It’s going to take time (like a couple seasons), but New Yorkers have to be patient (not always their strong suit) and trust Jackson. Just having a direction for this team and everyone rowing in the same direction is a good first step, but results on the court remain a ways away.