The Knicks have lost a few games already this year — more than they’ve won, as of Monday night’s 112-103 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, in fact. But this loss — THIS LOSS — really stuck in my craw. The Knicks came out playing their usual brand of effective home-court basketball, building a double-digit lead early in the first quarter. Then the Thunder raised the intensity level, thanks to their bruising front line and the human dynamo himself, Russell Westbrook.
And the Knicks just wilted. They couldn’t come close to matching the physicality of guys like Steven Adams and Enes Kanter. Not only that, but Jeff Hornacek pulled a vintage Mike Woodson, as he tried to match OKC’s frontline with a heavy helping of his own two-big lineups. Putting two large men on the floor does not necessarily negate another team’s size, particularly when one of those large men is Kyle O’Quinn. The Knicks couldn’t space the floor with two non-shooters out there, and the Thunder demolished them on the glass anyway. Responding to a rugged frontcourt by tossing out tissue-soft bigs instead of playing to your offensive strengths ... yep, same old Knicks.
Derrick Rose had his best game as a Knick, dropping 30 points and doing his best to match Westbrook.
Carmelo Anthony learned absolutely nothing from the Charlotte game, as he stubbornly tried to find his shot in the midst of tenacious OKC D. Kristaps Porzingis started the game hot, but was brutalized by Adams and Kanter. He’s just not ready to handle that kind of strength. He still wound up with 21 points and five blocks.
Matt Miranda will have the recap. I hope he lights into this crew.