NEW YORK -- The Knicks sometimes live and die by the 3-pointer ... but only three points off the bench?
While the Knicks pulled out a defensive win Monday night, 91-87, the bench only scored three points, one of their worst outputs ever. In fact, it was their fewest amount in a game in nearly 41 years.
Toney Douglas had two points in 13 minutes. Josh Harrellson only had one in 19 minutes. Going into the night, the Knicks' subs were only averaging 19.7 points -- the worst mark in the league.
With Iman Shumpert moving to the starting lineup, the Knicks are hurting -- literally -- in the second unit right now. Douglas tweaked his surgically repaired right shoulder over the weekend and some say he's losing confidence after being demoted. Bill Walker, who had a strained left groin when training camp started in December, has been a non-factor since returning to action.
Mike Bibby played well in Washington and Detroit, shooting 7-for-7 from three, but the 33-year-old's health has been inconsistent. He started the season fine, but then suffered back spasms during the Knicks' second preseason game against New Jersey on Dec. 21. After playing six minutes Wednesday night, Bibby said in the locker room afterward that he was limited because he hurt his knee on Saturday against the Pistons.
With the depletion of the bench, it's forcing Mike D'Antoni to front-load minutes on to his starting five, but that can't continue too much longer. Douglas, who the Knicks are currently counting on to be their sixth man, only played 13 minutes Monday. D'Antoni could also be feeling a sense of urgency to win games, after the team went 1-4 during a five-game stretch that ended last week.
Come February, Baron Davis should be available, and he could initially add scoring off the bench. If Shumpert continues to play well as the starting point guard, it's likely the Knicks wouldn't immediately start B-Diddy, or at all.
But the Knicks are clearly missing a sure-fire weapon off the bench. A trade for an offensive and defensive swingman/stretch four would definitely help, like a Wilson Chandler-type to back up Carmelo Anthony and/or Amare Stoudemire, but the second unit may be too banged up right now for that to happen. And at this point, there's no way the first unit gets touched -- even Fields because he's lowered his value.
What moves should the Knicks make, if any, to boost their bench? Leave us your comments below.
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