Josh Smith had a rough game yesterday… if you prefer to look at it that way. Twitter (reporters and fans alike) had a field day with Josh after last night’s game, saying he played shoddy defense on Carmelo and lost the game late by making too many mistakes.
I found myself defending Josh there, and have had to do so increasingly more often this year. Be reminded, that I thought trading Josh for Antawn Jamison’s expiring contract, plus Cleveland’s pick, would have been a good idea for the Hawks (cap space, lottery pick), so the fact that the tide has turned on him this much seems like overkill to me.
However, Josh took a lot of the blame for Carmelo sinking a Knicks’ record nine threes last night. So, let’s look at each of Carmelo’s makes from behind the arc and see how he got so open.
1st quarter, 0:45 remaining: Josh cheats off a bit, and Prigioni is able to get off a good pass to Melo. Josh is able to give a good contest, but Anthony hits the shot.
2nd quarter, 2:50 remaining: Knicks run a Felton-Stoudemire pick-and-roll. Atlanta’s defense collapses on the PnR, forcing Josh to switch onto Amar’e to avoid giving up an uncontested dunk. Josh successfully contests the shot, but the Knicks rebound and get the ball to Melo, who is open because Horford did not rotate properly after coming off of Amar’e. (seriously, he just stood out by the elbow and watched this play unfold after he switched off of STAT.) Continue Reading…