Two minutes is a lifetime in the NBA...particularly when you suck at basketball and are dumb. The New York Knicks played a thoroughly mediocre Denver Nuggets team tough through the first 21:43 on Monday night, trailing only three when Langston Galloway's tossed the ball to Jason Smith in the post. Kenneth Faried casually ripped the ball out of Smith's hands, and the Nuggets were off to the races.
Smith (turnover, missed jumper) and Shane Larkin (two turnovers) collapsed the Knicks always-tenuous offense, while Faried partnered with the immortal duo of Joffrey Lauvergne (yes, Joffrey is a real name) and Will Barton to score a quick 10 points. When Lauvergne missed a free throw with 2.1 seconds left, Denver tipped in the rebound to make it a nice, tidy 12-0 run in the final two-plus minutes. The Knicks essentially withdrew from the sport of basketball itself in the second half en route to a humiliating 106-78 defeat.
Seriously, the last time I saw a tank run through Colorado like this, I was watching Red Dawn:
- I usually hate to make knee-jerk #HotTake statements like this, but screw it -- Langston Galloway and Alexey Shved were the only two Knicks who even remotely resembled professional basketball players throughout the entirety of this game. Both starting guards exploited the Nuggets' lack of rim protection, driving to the cup at will and rocking the drive-and-kick game with precision, particularly on the wings. The problem was that the recipients of those passes just so happened to be Knicks. And Knicks do not know what to do with passes on most nights.
Shved led the team with 19 points on 6-12 shooting, while Galloway chipped in 14 (on 7-9 shooting), three rebounds, four assists and a block.
- Galloway dove into the stands multiple times in this game. With the Knicks down 4-5 touchdowns. The kid deserves a freakin' medal.
- Jason Smith had been playing better for a few weeks there. Not anymore. This was vintage first-half butt-ugly Jah: horrible hands, grandpa-in-an-overloaded-golf-cart quickness, ill-fitting uniform with dumb black stockings, stupid hair...the whole she-bang.
- This was probably Shane Larkin's worst performance of the season on defense. Denver guards were consistently leaving him in the dust. Quickness is supposed to be your thing, Shane. Either stay in front of your man, or find a new thing!
- The streak is dead: Cleanthony Early actually hit a three-pointer! I don't remember it happening, but it's up there on the stat sheet so it must have happened. No backsies, stat sheet! Cleo might have had his most well-rounded game of the season, with 10 points on 3-8 shooting, seven rebounds and a team-high five assists. Yes, most of that was in garbage time...but when are the Knicks not playing in garbage time these days? He should be starting over Lance Thomas, not only because of his potential, but because he's legitimately less worse than Thomas right now.
- Derek Fisher drew up some nice out-of-bounds plays in the first half. I'm trying to remember them, but the second half fried my brain. Trust me...they happened. I mean, I think they happened.
Monday was game one of the Knicks' five-game Western Conference swing. Methinks they probably will lose several more games.