The Knicks lost an absolute chore of a game, tumbling to 12-49 after losing a battle of attrition to the Pacers. Unlike Wednesday night's shellacking, the Knicks managed to compete with Indiana for nearly 48 minutes, but the more talented team pulled it together to avoid an ugly loss in MSG. The Knicks' magic number for missing the playoffs is now 5.
It is somewhat amazing to watch the Knicks struggle to do that which we have grown accustomed to seeing from NBA basketball players. Simple passes to the wing become an adventure in gripping the ball; open shots from the three-point line continue to prove outside the range of nearly all of the Knicks' perimeter players. These Knicks must put forth a massive amount of effort to do that which other players accomplish with relative ease. I wanted to laugh at certain points, but the consistency of defeat has really begun to freeze the chuckles in my chest. I'm kind of over it all.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Roy Hibbert's nose-blood sponge fell out and the MSG feed zoomed in uncomfortably close to it. Knicksfanhere96 remarked on how gross the view was, but it fit right in with the rest of this ugly game. Some notes:
- Hibbert made his return tonight after missing Wednesday's romp, though his appearance was only somewhat triumphant. The mercurial center missed all six of his field goals in 34 minutes of action, and looked fairly lost on offense. As mentioned earlier, he had a sponge in his nose-hole during much of that time. For the blood.
- Fisher flexed his 31st starting lineup of the season, incredibly. This is truly a season of experiments, and I'm not mad at it, but it really must be approaching some sort of record at this point.
- Andrea Bargnani continues to shine as the sole veteran scorer on the Knicks' roster. Well, maybe shine is too strong a word for it. Glisten, perhaps. He's averaging 18.6 points on 55% from the field over his last five games, and the two-man game he's working with Langston Galloway remains one of the Knicks' only consistent method of generating offense. He also sails like a dove:
- This stat sheet is telling me the Knicks only turned the ball over 12 times tonight, but it definitely felt like 20. The team manages to highlight every possible way one could imagine the giving a ball away to the other team.
- The Knickerbockers definitely showed more defensive intensity tonight. Much of the Pacers' 38% shooting from the field was just them being the Pacers, but the Knicks dove on the floor and harassed Pacer ballhandlers on the perimeter to help make the opponents uncomfortable.
- Tim Hardaway Jr looked pretty bad. He finished 0-9 on offense and his three-point shot seems completely gone at this point. He's still dreadful on defense, and without a jumper Tim looks borderline unplayable out there. He was the only New York starter to end the night with a negative in the plus/minus column.
- Alexey Shved plays a really aggressive brand of offense, and while he isn't necessarily very good, Shved is very much needed on a team lacking capable scorers. Shved has attempted 29 free throws in his last six games. He's pretty adept at creating little scoop shots around the basket, too. Not great at, like, making those shots. But he'll flip 'em up in the air.
- I'm a fan of Cleanthony Early. He still needs to adjust to the speed of the NBA, but his temperament and body language are both impressive. He's a tough player, and doesn't seem too fazed by his awful shooting. We're at 17 consecutive missed threes for Cle, if you're wondering.
- Things got a mite chippy between Quincy Acy and Ian Mahinmi during the third quarter. They had words for each other, leading to a double technical call on the pair. Acy, if nothing else, can add chippiness to a game. He'd be welcome on my rec league team.
- Speaking of guys I'd love to play with, Langston Galloway continues to impress. Tina Cervasio asked Gallo2 about the most difficult part of this season for him, and he cited working to establish himself as a leader on this team. You love to hear that from an undrafted rookie. It's impossible to not root for him.
- Clyde Frazier turns 70 years old on March 29th. He plans on buying another Rolls-Royce. Me too, tbh.
Another game down. Fisher and the Knicks continue to lay what foundation they can found in this losing season. Losses like these are probably the best outcomes, with the NBA draft edging closer and closer. Both teams played hard, but the Knicks really can't seem to keep up with anyone for a full game. For twenty-one more games, that's okay.