I have often defended D'Antoni in the past.
However, in my view he committed two unforgivable coaching errors in Game 2, squandering one of the most incredible individual playoff efforts ever (Carmelo) and a solid team effort as well.
Error #1: 13 seconds to play, down 1, Knicks have the ball coming off a timeout. You know they will double Carmelo, Carmelo is doubled and makes the right play (pass to the open man). However, D'Antoni has failed to make the traditional offense-defense switches and you do not have your best offensive players on the floor. Predictably, they fail to execute. Unbelievable.
Error #2: 6 seconds to play, down 1, Celtics in-bounding, you need to foul. If you foul immediately, you may get a chance to tie and go into overtime. Carmelo at that point has four fouls and is tired (played the whole 2nd half). You make the same error again, fail to switch to your best defensive players, to fresh players who can stay sharp and who can afford to give up a foul (because you will need Carmelo in the full overtime - so you don't want him to commit the foul); and you can bring Carmelo back in after the foul (during the shots at the line) for the final attempt to tie the game (and in the process give him a minute of rest - so that he has a better chance of hitting the three you will probably need to tie the game after the foul shots).
These are both really unforgivable basic 101 coaching errors that most high school coaches would not make. I just don't understand. It is mind-blowing.
How can D'Antoni be so bad at this part of the game? I mean, he has them playing well, so he is not completely incompetent, maybe even a good coach overall, except he has this huge hole in how he handles the last minute of games.
It seems like a mental weakness in the coach which has infected his players. And the difference between a talented team which falls short, and a championship team. I really have to question if they can ever win a championship no matter what players they acquire over the summer or next year, with this coach. I mean you cannot win a championship winning by twenty every night. You are going to actually have to coach the final two minutes of the game at some point along the way.