Good evening, fellow Knicks fans! We may be a mere 24 hours removed from the indignity of watching former New York prospect and Greek national Kostas Papanikolaou humble the Knicks while playing for Houston, but Tuesday evening we were treated to the heroic exploits of a man so Greek, he makes Papanikolaou look like John Smith from Des Moines, Iowa. That's right -- I'm talking about Thanasis Antetokounmpo.
The Westchester Knicks took on the Los Angeles D-Fenders on MSG, with Al Trautwig and Wally Szczerbiak on the call. Thanasis did not disappoint, hitting a pair of clutch free throws and locking down Manny Harris on the second-to-last possession as the Knicks held on for the 115-113 win.
Thanasis' final line: 16 points on 8-15 shooting, five rebounds (four offensive), two assists, one turnover, three steals, six blocks. He's blocked six shots in two of his last three games. The New York Knicks have blocked six shots three times...as a team.
Also, by my unofficial count, he already has more chase-down blocks this season than the Knicks have in the past decade.
Offensively, Thanasis remains very much a work in progress. The jump shot simply has not worked for him this season -- he's hitting a paltry 16.7 percent on jumpers -- so he has to make his living at the rim for the time being. He has been a beast on the offensive glass over his last three games, which means there's always an opportunity to get an easy deuce on broken plays, like this:
Thanasis did show some offensive sophistication at the end of the first half, when he scored eight straight points for Westchester. He beat his man off the dribble for a layup, sunk into the post on the following possession and made the defender looks bad with this sweet pirouette:
That's just too much strength and quickness for most small forwards to handle. Thanasis doesn't have great touch around the rim, but I think that should come in time. The jumper may be another story.
The big-boy Knicks will face the NBA's No. 1 offense in the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night. If you find yourself growing tired of watching uncontested shots from yet another Knick opponent, perhaps you should head on over to YouTube and treat yourself to yet another montage of Thanasis Antetokounmpo spanking fools all over the court.