I dunno, I didn't really think the Knicks were gonna beat the Cavaliers, let alone without Carmelo Anthony. It was frustrating to see Arron Afflalo and company freeze out an occasionally-open Kristaps Porzingis down the stretch, and all the defensive switching and shoddy rebounding before that sucked as well, but ... oh well. The Knicks acquitted themselves pretty well against an elite defense and did a workmanlike job battling LeBron James. They still lost. Let's look at some things!
Kristaps played a fine 3 quarters and made some fantastic plays:
Quick instincts. Block party. pic.twitter.com/KALl2lSzCf— Daniel (@benchwarmerdan) December 24, 2015
REPLAY: @kporzee w/ the jam! Porzingis now w/ a game-high 23pts. CLE 62 NYK 61 3Q. pic.twitter.com/hKvyONFyOW— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) December 24, 2015
REPLAY: @kporzee buries the triple & is now 3-of-3 behind the arc. 16pts/7rebs for the rook. #NYKvsCLE pic.twitter.com/HNsbglpIES— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) December 24, 2015
I do wish he went up a little stronger sometimes!
Lance Thomas (and even Derrick Williams) had some really strong moments guarding LeBron...
... but at other times, some very lazy switching (and not enough talking!) trapped the Knicks in horrid defensive match-ups:
Down the stretch, Arron Afflalo got some tough buckets against active Iman Shumpert defense ...
Afflalo w/ 6pts in the 4Q & 14 in the game to help NYK grab the 80-79 lead 4:58 4Q. #NYKvsCLE pic.twitter.com/pIrh1cIxoF— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) December 24, 2015
... but maybe a few too many?
(He scored on this play, but it is indicative of a team-wide inability to get Porzingis the ball when he was open. Part of that is on Porzingis for his positioning, part of that is on Derek Fisher for not stomping his feet, but the brunt of it is on New York's guards for repeatedly missing their windows of opportunity to feed the leading scorer. Several pick-and-rolls and pop-outs directed toward Kristaps went unfulfilled.)