Knicks Offense Showing Positive Signs Amid Defensive Struggles

Jazz 114, Knicks 109

Let’s start with the positive: The Knicks offense is starting to take shape. Derrick Rose has become a catalyst with his buzzsaw-like drives. After the first quarter, it seemed the Knicks carried the momentum of Friday’s win in Chicago over to this game, but then some undisciplined play on the defensive end — fouls — slowed down a game that started with great pace. But then the Knicks committed nine fouls in the second quarter and the Jazz got exactly what an overwhelmed road team needed: A momentum-stopper.

So while the offense seems like it’s trending upward — though Jeff Hornacek wasn’t completely happy with it — the defense remains Hornacek’s main concern. You hear all the cliches after a game like this: Communication, “get to our spots” and “be on time.” You can say these players are still new to each other so it takes time to develop the trust on defense, it sounds more like Hornacek is suggesting some players aren’t taking on the responsibility of defense and relying too much on getting help.

Knicks Rose Jazz Home 110616

Despite the issues, the Knicks held a two-point lead going into the fourth quarter. But then a 7-0 run against the Knicks bench happened and Utah put up 36 points in the final quarter. That’s troubling.

Also troubling: The Jazz came in averaging 94 points per game, the second-lowest in the NBA, but put up 114 points, thanks to 30 from the free throw line.

Here’s a trend the Knicks need to end Wednesday against the Nets: The Knicks have allowed 100+ points in every game so far this season. That’s the longest streak to begin a season since they went seven games allowing 100+ points in 2009-10.