New York came out flaming on Atlanta and getting up by as many as 15 in the first quarter. Everyone looked energized and crisp. Then in the second half Atlanta tightened the screws and New York looked as petulant and lazy as they have all season. Sloppy passes went right into the hands of unsuspecting Hawks, who then freely pushed for transition buckets. The Hawks really demoralized the Knicks on the secondary break by rapidly streaming the ball to the open man and sliding to the open spaces. It was one of those days.
- Carmelo Anthony looked refreshed and spiced up. Everything was popping right from calle salto. He had a double-double by half time and looked to be setting himself up for a masterful performance, barely missing and hitting the open man when double-teamed. Sloppiness took over in the second half and the team stopped finding Melo in the post.
- Lance Thomas got an early introduction, coming in for Porzingis rather abruptly. The Knicks never exactly recovered from that confusing swap. Lance played well wrestling the ball loose on defense, canning jumpers and even a floater or two. The starters were cruising, though. One reason for the swap may be a soon to be amputated shooting hand for Kristaps Porzingis.
At one point Roger Hinds attempted to put a headband on Porzingis' hand but Kristaps simply lifted his flipper above his head and Roger was no longer able to inspect it, despite climbing on Rasheed Hazzard's and Joshua Longstaff's shoulders. On a (hopefully not) related note, after being reinserted, Porzingis caught a pass in the post and it seemed to just fumble away.
Thankfully it seems to be nothing. A light bash is all.
Knicks say Kristaps Porzingis had an X-Ray on his right index finger that came back negative.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) December 27, 2015
- Derek Fisher seems to be stuck in mud with his substitution patterns. He's sticking to the script a little too mathematically. He'll need to be more willing to let a good thing play out. Spurning "feel" might come out in a wash over the long haul, but each game is it's own journey. I don't think the Knicks are some great team, but I think pushing the right buttons could get them into the playoff picture. Hopefully we don't find out that Derek has been reading up about millennials lately.
- Jerian Grant be sneakin'. He also be boppin' around accomplishing next to nothing.
- Robin Lopez, possibly offended to his core by Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer mistakenly calling him "Brook" before the game, took out his rage on the Atlanta front line. Frustration with Harry the Hawk must be partially to blame as well. Plenty of sweeping hooks and drain clogging on defense.
His efforts stabilized what proved to be a shaky Knick platoon when he was off the floor. Then he got clocked by Kyle Korver's gi-mungous gourd and started leaking all over the court. Six stitches for Rollie Flingers. He's gonna have an awesome black eye! I'm so jelly. If there's one thing the chicks love, it's black eyes.
- After that the Knicks had multiple slip and slides on that end of the floor. It seemed that Lopez's blood was just everywhere.
- With the Knicks on fire early and scoring out of the low block Walt Frazier hit the namesake from every angle:
- Melo with a post and toast.
- Little post toasties.
- Hawks being posted and toasted.
- Knicks dishing and swishing, posting and toasting.
And while talking about an ad for a Knicks training camp for the common folk among us, he said he is undefeated against 10 and 11 year olds, claiming "I post and toast them." Further Clyde gemology led us to "Jose can you see?" as Jose Calderon snuck through the lane unabated for a layup near the end of first half. A great play by Jose that left just enough time for Jeff Teague to run the length of the floor and nail a 30-foot pull up at the buzzer.
- Knicks had 19 first half assists. However! They countered the good stuff with 10 trashy turnovers. Big leads and small margins, how very Knicks-y. For parity's sake the Hawks were down by big chunks and never let the lead swell out of control by limiting turnovers. The 15:3 ratio for Atlanta was quietly much better. At the end of the game New York had a 25:22 ratio and Atlanta registered a 33:9. That was the difference.
All told that was quite the beating. Even when New York held a nice lead, Atlanta was a quick surge away from closing the gap and busting open New York's piñata (aka Robin Lopez). Knicks get right back at it tomorrow in Boston, so even though Starks&Rec said this one was depressing-- I think we agree that there's no sense in crying over it.