Five Takeaways: Knicks' Streak Ends In Battle With Bulls

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1. Explosive First Half Offense


Despite tiring as the game progressed, the Knicks offense was incredibly fun to watch in the first half. They buried 7-of-13 three-pointers and ran some really interesting and effective sets. New York was basically running a "5-out" offense - all five players playing towards the perimeter as threats to shoot the ball, with Copeland (listed 6-foot-9) playing center.

The Bulls like to defend pick-and-rolls by dropping the big man into the paint and forcing the ball handler away from the screener. To counter this strategy, Copeland would set a pick and then space the floor at the top of the key - this is known as a "pick-and-pop" because the screen setter is popping out rather than rolling to the hoop. Because of this, Copeland was often unguarded at the top of the arc past the three-point line. He was getting good looks at threes and when Chicago rolled help, he made the right passes to get teammates open looks on the perimeter. Copeland played well in the first half, hitting a pair of triples and dishing three assists.

Mike Woodson runs a very diverse offense and we saw some interesting "Horns" sets in the second quarter. Horns is when the offense stands two players at the elbows who usually set screens for either the ball handler or shooters coming off the baseline. The set is usually run with two big men, but obviously the Knicks don't have any healthy bigs. What they were doing was running Horns with Copeland at one elbow and either Jason Kidd or J.R. Smith at the other, which made for some very interesting action. On one play they pitched the ball to J.R. at the elbow and Copeland came over and ran a pick-and-roll with him. On another, they pitched the ball to Kidd with Melo coming underneath to get a low post touch.

NBA offenses are diversifying more and more by the day and the Knicks boast one of the top offensive coaches in the league. Though the team ran out of gas in the second half, demonstrated by their poor three-point shooting late in regulation and overtime, it wasn't because of poor coaching or bad offense. Woodson continues to run an effective and innovative small ball attack that's proven to be one of the league's elite offenses this season. We saw that again tonight.

Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images