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Tim Jr. having 'Hard' time against top defenses

Tim Hardaway Jr. #5 of the New York

Tim Hardaway Jr. #5 of the New York Knicks looks on late in overtime against the Sacramento Kings at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Tim Hardaway Jr. has been one of the season's few bright spots for the Knicks, who are off until Friday when they take on the Raptors. As solid as his play has been, is the rookie only good against bad teams?

While he is fourth in scoring (9.9 ppg) and fifth in 3-point shooting (.358) among rookies, Hardaway has failed to show up in games against the top three defensive teams in the Eastern Conference -- the Bulls, Pacers and Heat.

Hardaway was 0-7 from the field in 12 minutes against Miami on Sunday. In four meetings against his dad's former team this season, Hardaway averaged 7.0 points. He shot .275 from the field and a ghastly .182 from behind the arc. As bad as these numbers are, they would be much worse if Hardaway didn't score 17 points on 7-14 shooting against Miami on Feb. 1.

Indiana also has contained Hardaway. In three games against the Pacers this season, he failed to hit a 3-pointer, the bread and butter of his game. He only averaged 2.7 points in 13.7 minutes per game, and shot .167 from the field. On March 19, Hardaway was 0-7 in 15 minutes, with his lone two points coming from the free throw line.

Although he has been better against Chicago, whom the Knicks play Sunday, his numbers are still down. While his 10.3 points per game is solid, his .353 field goal percentage and .294 from downtown are not.

While the Knicks likely are happy with what they have gotten from Hardaway thus far, he must learn how to be more effective against good defensive teams.


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