The New York Knicks lost every single friggin’ game last season when deprived of the talents of one Carmelo Anthony. They won Wednesday’s preseason matchup with the Celtics, however, despite Melo sitting out, which means the curse is broken, right?
Sweet! The curse is broken!
Yea, the Celtics sat four of their five starters as New York cruised to a 121-96 victory. Don’t care. The Knicks played unselfish, efficient offense and got contributions from up and down the roster. I enjoyed it. I enjoy watching the Celtics lose. So sue me.
- Kristaps Porzingis dropped an efficient 20 points in 22 minutes as the team’s primary option. He was long on all four of his attempts from beyond the arc — too strong, my friend, too strong. With his outside shot not working, the Unicorn used all that strength to get buckets closer in, galloping past Celtics on the break and cutting with authority for dunks and layups and free throws. Perhaps the most encouraging sign of the night was Kristaps getting his body into defenders on drives, holding the ball high to avoid the strips which plagued him last season. ‘
- Two times a Celtic youngster—first Jaylen Brown, then Jordan Mickey—scored on Kristaps by waiting until the very end of their jump and flipping a bullshit high banker that somehow went in. Both times Kristaps would go on to get his revenge a few possessions later with a block. The Brown block was just magnificent—the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s drafted hurled himself toward the basket on the break, hanging in the air for an eternity, a paragon of majestic athleticism, only oh shit Kristaps was with him the entire time. Tough break, sucka.
- Courtney Lee isn’t an All-Star. The shooting guard was brought in because of his impressive competence. But with Melo and Rose out, Lee became the starting unit’s second option by default, and he was up to the task, dropping 11 points in 13 minutes of playing time.
- Weird-ass game from Lance Thomas, who started in place of Melo. He continues to struggle from distance, missing all three of his attempts from downtown, but hit a couple of tough shots in the lane, grabbed 4 rebounds and dished 3 dimes. Rebounds and assists aren’t usually his thing.
- Kyle O’Quinn definitely lost weight in the offseason—it is apparent the moment you look at him. Tonight, however, was the first time O’Quinn actually played like a dude who lost a bunch of weight. KOQ looked downright explosive at times—by his standards, at least—en route to a 13-point, 8-rebound game. I swear to God, I actually saw him out-jump professional basketball players for a contested rebound.
- Sasha Vujacic continued to hit shots (5-8 for 13 points) and dish the rock (4 assists, zero turnovers). I have a theory that the flatter his jumper, the more likely it is to go in, demonstrated here by this science chart:
Obviously, the shot must reach at least a few inches above the rim, but once he hits that sweet spot, right around the 10.5-foot mark, that baby is going in.
- Sharing is caring! The Knicks finished the evening with 33 assists and only 13 turnovers. Sasha, Lance, Justin Holiday (4), Joakim Noah (4), JP Tokoto (3) stood out, but nobody topped ...
- That’s right, Ron Baker led the team with 5 assists, against zero turnovers. He could have had 2-3 more if he hadn’t spent the fourth quarter playing with Marshall Plumlee and Lou Amundson, who farted away numerous point-blank attempts off wonderful feeds from Baker and Holiday. Ron also scored 12 points on 5-6 shooting because he’s Ron and that’s how Ron rolls. As commenter fracon pointed out, it’s easy to feel confident, even while missing a future Hall of Famer like Melo, when you have Ron.
- Happy birthday, Mindaugaus Kuzminskas! Hornacek gave our boy Cheese a fabulous b-day gift by letting him start the second half, where he drained a quick three during the Knicks’ big run.
- Dear Brandon Jennings,
You can cut out that “shooting threes while running” bullshit right now. Please set your feet.
The Knicks played Thursday night in Brooklyn, their final game of the preseason. It’s getting close, folks.