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Hornets 97, Knicks 93: New York no longer pre-undefeated


"If it bleeds, we can kill it."
"If it bleeds, we can kill it."
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks lost their first preseason game of the year. All the major rotation players either sat or played very limited minutes. This pushed Langston Galloway and Jerian Grant into more featured roles. Derrick Williams continued his fine play and Cleanthony Early showed enough positives to calcify some of his rubbery value to the big club.

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- The game ball probably goes to Langston Galloway, who was so poised and confident tonight. Always under control. Only missed once and had 15 points to go with 6 assists. He will get less to go his way against stiffer competition, but it's exciting to see him tear apart second units and hold his own against starters.

- The Hornets ran some pretty creative stuff -- some of it quite Triangular, with cutters orbiting around Al Jefferson isolations. Was nice to see the Knicks able to defend it reasonably well. Conversely, the Knicks were getting a lot more scoring opportunities out of pin-downs on both sides of the floor. That, in conjunction with their willingness to push off of makes, has given much more fluid access to the Triangle.

- Twice Clyde Frazier called Kemba Walker "shrewd, clever" but he never called him "slick". Mike Breen took him to task going into a timeout. For a Bronx native, I'll allow it. But you're toeing the line the, Mike. The Clydie is not your caged bird, man!

- Cle makes lots of attention deficit mistakes out there. He still had flashes of nice stuff on both ends. Love his unselfish nature but he's still pressing to make something impressive happen. Time and again he gets caught in bad spots looking to squeeze plays out of the end of the tube. Needs a little more seasoning.

- At one point an official correctly called for a review of a Frank Kaminsky shot-clock-beating layup. The play was never reviewed, however, and the basket was not discounted. Turns out a play is not reviewable when the shot clock is refreshed in error. It was called a "malfunction" and Mike Breen blamed it on a rookie official. I would rather blame it on a shitty way to interpret rules. Or just be like, "It's preseason...F it."

- Lou Amundson looks like a massive tennis player.

- Travis Trice looks like a tiny Jared Jeffries -- number 20 and everything. Decent game for him. Good patience and had a nice pull up in transition, a tricky pivot and pull-up out of two-man game, and didn't throw the wild lobs that Cle and Thanasis Antetokounmpo desperately wanted. Even had a nice over the top lob to DaJuan Summers to finish with force through Frank Kaminski.

- At one point we had Trice, Darion Atkins, DaJuan Summers, Thanasis and Wesley Saunders out there for almost seven minutes of preseason heaven! But Grant and Galloway came in to see if they couldn't dig the Knicks out of their six-point hole. It was great to see several bigger named Knicks really cheering them on. I don't recall much -- if any --  hooting nor hollering last year. I would assume some sideline whooping makes a big difference to on-court hooping.

- I expected a big Kevin Seraphin game. Hoping the starting nod and Al Jefferson's defensive allergies would help get the big guy rolling. Unfortunately the missed time looks to have dropped Seraphin into some choppy water. Kristaps Porzingis also looked a little lost on some of the set pieces, in particular a baseline out-of-bounds play where he just got in everyone's way one by one until finally he floated clear across the floor un-monitored like a Norse funeral. His rough night was punctuated by having a dunk attempt rejected by Cody Zeller.

There weren't many second-half minutes for either big man. They'll probably get another crack at quality minutes against Boston in the preseason finale on Thursday, when (hopefully) we'll see the entire New York Knicks rotation for the first time. I'll take another meaningless win over Boston over a meaningless win against Charlotte any day of the week.

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