Yes yes! After a tentative start, the SummerKnicks rallied then plowed ahead to take a playoff win over the scrappy D-League select. I want to leave, so this'll be brief. Some notes!
- Thanks, I assume, to the video scouting of Dylan Murphy (I'm serious), the Select blew up damn near all the Knicks' early sets and attempts to feed the weak side. Post guys kept tossing passes behind people or getting bottled up in the pivot. The D-Leaguers kept turning long rebounds and turnovers into big transition finishes, and I got worried and sad.
- Things settled down. Tim Hardaway Jr. started cooking soup in kinda broken sets, and then the Knicks started to get their action working. Tim didn't chuck *so* horribly, but he definitely got his shots up, and he mostly called his own number in transition (I recall one nice dish-off, but that's it).
- One thing that was weird and didn't work: The weak-side (pinch post) guys like Cleanthony Early and Jeremy Tyler kept crossing to the strong-side post without any of the three primary triangle bros trading places. So you'd see someone trying to run a quick pick-and-roll amid friendly traffic-- just four guys on one side of the floor with nowhere to go. It seemed the most frequent response to the Select walling off the weak side and it never worked.
- After he busted his chin floor-sliding and got some stitches early on, I liked the way Early moved on defense. Decent work holding his ground against fakes, decent shot contests, and so forth. He finished a few plays on offense, but didn't do much else.
- Thanasis Antetokounmpo hardly got to play on his birthday. He spent his 11 minutes or so fouling people really hard and contesting shots somewhat effectively.
- Jeremy Tyler hit his mid-range shots, but played a pretty sluggish game away from the ball as the Select made it difficult for him to get in weak-side position. He was also all over the place defending pick-and-rolls, and often failed to recover in time when he drifted toward the ball-handler.
- I feel like I've harped on Shane Larkin's tendency to gamble a lot, but I was kinda blown away today by his ability to zip into passing lanes without a jump start. Any remotely long or lazy pass is at risk for getting picked off, because he's constantly looking for interceptions and appears to cover ground instantly. He's also remarkably adept at stopping short to corral loose balls without tipping out of bounds. His cornerbacking contributed to a lot of the transition buckets that feed the Knicks rally.
- Jordan Henriquez can definitely block shots if given the opportunity. He looked totally flummoxed with the ball in the post and kinda lackadaisical around either rim once the ball was in the air.
- This dude in the crowd spun a pen around his finger for like 40 straight minutes. It was amazing
- It's fun watching Phil Jackson watch the triangle. I kept peeking at him after offensive possessions. He did a lot of smirking, a lot of grimacing, and a lot of texting using just his pointer finger.
- Travis Wear, who I'd totally forgotten about, had one very impressive finish with contact in the fourth quarter. Sign him.
- It's funny how Shannon Brown, by all accounts a mediocre NBA player, looks so much crisper in his movements than the rest of the guys. He can just move defenders around and get to the ball in a way other guys can't yet.
- I dunno:
- Today's MVP: Me
That doesn't even show the tight entry lob I threw to the lady ref over the fronting cameraman.
The SummerKnicks' next playoff game is 1 PM Saturday against the SummerHornets, who they've already crushed. WE'RE GONNA DO THIS Y'ALL.