Dag. That could have been something special, man! New York was scrambling and frenetically closing out to shooters right from the early stages of the game and they held serve for most of the match. Kristaps Porzingis put his imprint on the game right away with a three. From there he started letting it fly and he carried the team as far as he could. Some uninspired ball from the starting backcourt and a tough shooting night for Carmelo Anthony compounded matters.
The Ghost of Kristaps Past said in the post-game thread, "that's all you can ask for". Even though it hurts to be that close only to fall short, really what more could you expect? A basically brand new collection of talent got together this off season and the hard work is starting to pay off. Naturally had they won this particular game it may have helped validate their recent success. Without this win, though, they are just another sub-500 Eastern conference team until they prove otherwise. They have talent rising, but they have work to do and the window is a really funny shape.
- The reality of Kristaps present is a tantalizing one. Porzingis came out gunning. Averaging nearly a shot a minute in the first quarter. He ended up with 28 points and 11 rebounds. He really seems to be turning the corner right along with the rest of the team. The Latvian Lamppost had so much success pump faking the Spurs' bigs out on the perimeter to create driving lanes that he instinctively tried the same set up on Patty Mills. Problem is: I see over the top of Patty Mills. Seems like you oughta just fire that sucker over the top.
- Carmelo trailed into a couple 3-pointers on the secondary break in the first half. I feel like I haven't seen that as much lately. Anthony didn't score a 2-point field goal until there was 3:45 left in the game. I feel like I've never seen that! Thankfully Carmelo was working his way to the line for points. Even though he struggled shooting the ball, he continues to do plenty of the other stuff that make him worthy of all the minutes. One of those things was giving the ball up in the closing seconds of a one point game. Jose Calderon missed the game winner and he had a tough shot to begin with, but he had a better look than Melo, so he got the ball. I can live with that.
I have no illusion of Melo being a better player than Kawhi Leonard, but I do feel like Carmelo played a better game than Leonard tonight. Anthony was obviously not perfect and he got blocked six times. At half time Carmelo was one for nine and the Knicks were only down three points. That's not ideal, but I'll deals with that. Shouldn't be so often that Melo is so tightly bottled and he started to figure things out near the end of the game.
- Langston Galloway made some sensational plays on offense. He continues to be a nuisance pushing the ball in transition and scooping it home from lots of tough angles. He jumps directly into the trees and pops it through branches somehow. On one critical possession he grabbed a rebound and pushed past four Spurs all by his lonesome to finish with the foul. A bit earlier he pushed against David West and Kawhi Leonard, both of whom beat him back. No trouble, Langston just seared an inside-out dribble to stick Leonard behind West and he snuck past the much slower big fella.
On the other end he has been just face planting into screens way more than he did at the beginning of the year. I wonder if teams are paying extra care and attention to him these days. Maybe he's just an adjustment away from scurrying over the top again. He also tapped home this incredible buzzer beater:
I bet your hand eye coordination would have left you with a huge gash on your nose that would never fully heal. You would suffer from bloody noses whenever it was even slightly dry or the air was thin. I actually feel bad for you.
- I feel bad for Arron Afflalo too. He got absolutely scorched by Many Ginobili and all variety of Spur. It wasn't that Ginobili had a million points or anything, he just utterly picked him apart when they were matched up, losing him on screens and smoke screens time after time. Arron redeemed himself behind a pair of late threes that kept the Knicks in it. He got roasted, though. A lot of the deficit can be traced to him somehow. It's gotta hurt to be so completely outdueled.
- Lance Thomas was awesome at first, canning a pair of threes and scoring a spazzy transition layup. After the second three connected, it hit me. Lance has added some vintage Melo to his game this offseason. He could use a dash of the current, revolutionary Melo. Lance missed some wide open teammates under the hoop a couple times and just flung some junkers instead.
- Seth was very much on the pulse in his past couple articles here on Posting and Toasting. One touched on the effectiveness of Robin Lopez's hook shots. The other was about how the Knicks are moving the ball to beat defenses that are fronting the post. Fake game thread commenter Ime Udoka's Coffee Cup must have reneged on his Once a Knick, Always a Knick vows and given these scouting report to San Antonio's bigs. The Spurs sunk way down underneath on that and dared Lopez to make a play. For his part, Robin alternated between trying to jam it in and just putting it up on the rim. Adjusting to the adjustment mid stream is nice to see!
- Not enough Derrick Williams tonight I thought.
Well this one sorta hurts. Maybe I'm just too close to the scene of the wreck. Oh well, good game, Knicks. I think it's safe to blame the Robert Randolph curse on this evening. As opposed to the Posting and Toasting meet up. Next game is Sunday against a team New York should know quite well by now, the Milwaukee Bucks. That will close out their season series as did tonight for the Spurs. Won't have to go back to San Antonio until the finals. Until then, meet me at this sideline out of bounds happy spot, where Gregg Popovich is eternally furious.