It feels so good when the Knicks close out a tight game, even a meaningless preseason one in October. The Nets tore into the Knicks from the perimeter and Jeremy Lin cut into the paint early and often, but ultimately their efforts fell short. Seriously, the Knicks couldn’t defend much of anything for most of the game and that probably doesn’t bode well going into the regular season, but that is a problem for another day. Tonight we celebrate victory.
Carmelo Anthony led the way in scoring for the Knicks with 21 points in 29 minutes. He looked about the same as he did in the last romp with Brooklyn: A little rusty, but still sharp enough to bend the defense towards him. The offense still gets a little bogged down when Melo goes into his iso plays, but hopefully the eventual return of Derrick Rose helps diversify the offense some. Some notes:
- The Knick defense was bad, real bad. Slow rotations, porous interior presence, and Sasha Vujacic led to various Nets shaking loose for open shots. Joe Harris and Bojan Boganovich both fit the Knick-killer description, and neither disappointed.
- Jeremy Lin did whatever he wanted against the Knicks tonight, notching the nostalgic Linsanity near-triple double of 24 points, 10 assists, and 8 turnovers. He looks like the Nets’ best player right now.
- Kristaps Porzingis had a quiet night, scoring just 5 points and generally letting Melo and Brandon Jennings run the offense. Porzingis was a mobile wall on defense, though, protecting the rim and doing this to a Bogdanovich layup attempt:
- I bet you didn’t expect Joakim Noah to dominate the Nets. I bet you didn’t expect him to score 10 points in the first quarter on sweeping hookshots and jumpers. I bet you didn’t expect him to actually give a somewhat disappointing performance on defense.
- Brandon Jennings has a huge impact on the Knicks’ performance, even when his stats look pedestrian. The team’s pace ratchets up when Jennings takes the court, and that energy is refreshing. Sometimes he gets a little too turnt and starts launching ill-advised jumpers without his feet set, but that’s part of the whole experience.
- Courtney Lee is very good. His jumper still looks like it juts out at odd angles but it somehow works. He’s usually in the right place at the right time and he’s going to be great for the Knicks this season.
- This should have counted:
- We’ve done this before, but what if Kyle O’Quinn is actually good? 13 points, 7 boards, 2 assists, and getting away with a probably illegal tackle to end the first half? I’m ready to get back on the O’Quinn train.
- What if Lance Thomas is not good?
- Mindaugas Kuzminskas Travel Tracker: 2 travels.
- He makes silly plays sometimes, but Justin Holiday is sneaky solid reserve. He’s clearly still learning his positioning in the Triangle offense, but he gives great effort on defense and has some burst to him. Still unlikely he sees playing time in front of Vujacic though.
- The Jennings-O’Quinn duet celebration makes me happy.
That’s it! Preseason is over and now the real games start. New York opens the regular season against the Cleveland Cavaliers next Tuesday. Here’s hoping the defense tightens up before then.