Who is to blame for the Knicks' failed final possession against the Thunder?

JR Smith's fadeaway at the buzzer doesn't fall; who's to blame?

3/8/13 in NBA   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

I understand that isolation is a big part of the modern game, but that final possession was not the right time for it. Iso plays are best served for when your offense is in a slump, and you isolate your best one-on-one scorer to try and get your offense going again. I've seen just about every Knicks game from start to finish this season, and every quarter that the Knicks have the final possession, Carmelo Anthony generally goes iso for the final shot - it's an extremely low percentage play. I don't like it when Anthony (arguably the best offensive one-on-one player in basketball) does it, so I obviously don't like it when Smith does either.

Smith's points throughout the game came mostly as a result of ball movement that resulted in open three-point attempts, and screens that he was able to work off of and penetrate. All of a sudden, at the end of the game, Woodson decides to put all that "team basketball" behind him and tell Smith to go out on his own and do something amazing.
Blog Photo - Who is to blame for the Knicks' failed final possession against the Thunder?
Yes, Smith has hit two ridiculous game-winners already this season, falling off-balance with a hand in his face, but that does not mean those looks are desirable. His crazy game-winner against the Suns was forced because there was one second left in the game. The inbounds pass hit Smith in stride, rather than forcing him to post up and spin around to get a shot off. Against the Bobcats, the play was designed to Raymond Felton, but he couldn't get open, so Smith was once again forced to take a miraculous game-winning shot, which was not a high-percentage look, despite the fact that he made it.

Keep in mind that Smith did not drive to the basket on either of those plays.

I'm not just saying this because the shot didn't go in - if Smith made that game-winner, I'd be ecstatic, but I'd still believe that the play call was not smart. I remember when Woodson ran a similar play with Carmelo Anthony at the end of a game against the Mavericks in November. I hated that play then, and I still do.

For all of you who place the blame on Smith for last night's final possession failure, I completely agree that Smith was out of his mind to not take the ball to the rim. However, as the head coach, I think Woodson has to put his player in a better position to succeed. I do not consider one-on-one with Russell Westbrook from the three-point line to be a good play.
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