Would the 2015-16 New York Knicks have succeeded in an earlier NBA, when size mattered more than speed? Perhaps. At this point this team is only good for hypothetical discussions; right now, they're just plain ol' dookie.
The Knicks fell 109-98 to the Brooklyn Nets Friday night. They were at full strength, facing a terrible team in front of a road crowd that wasn't exactly ruthless. They built up a quick lead, and then they just fell apart. Bigs couldn't corral post entry passes, guards were stripped naked on the perimeter. Players couldn't bend over to pick up loose balls. They looked slow, rickety, defeated.
Oh, and they play again tomorrow night.
- The story of this loss was the story of Robin Lopez and Carmelo Anthony. Both started out on fire -- Melo working his magic on the offense, Lopez pushing dudes around like an offensive lineman. After one quarter Melo had 11 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks.
It wouldn't last. Lopez was eaten alive by his twin brother in the second quarter. Brook scored 13 points in the frame, most of them coming on the same damn one-handed floater from the foul line. Melo cooled off considerably, and the rest of the starting lineup was unable to pick up the slack.
- Except for one dude. The Knicks were +1 in the 34:31 Kristaps Porzingis played; -12 in the 13:29 he sat. He played serious second-half minutes at center, and did a fine job containing Brook Lopez until running into some foul trouble. He finished the night with 18 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks (all coming at the expense of Thaddeus Young).
- Kristaps nailed a 30-foot three and I yelled "'Staps Curry!" and laughed way too loudly at my own joke. Nobody around me was amused.
- Kurt Rambis started the second quarter with an all-bench lineup, which predictably coughed up pretty much all of the lead. I caught myself thinking, "Well, he doesn't know the roster yet" before realizing he has been on the bench the entire friggin' season!!! I'm trying not to be hard on him, but that was just brutal.
Rambis, finding a positive in the loss, says he likes how Grant & Galloway played. But said he has to find 5 guys who are willing to defend— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) February 20, 2016
- I'll give Rambis credit for one thing; Jerian Grant played his first minutes in a lonnng time. He got stripped at halfcourt on his first possession, but settled down and generally played a solid game.
- Arron Afflalo had ... 17 points? On 6-9 shooting? Having watched the game, there's no way those numbers can be accurate. Remember the good old days, when this kind of shooting night from AA all but guaranteed a Knicks victory?
- The Knicks made an early fourth-quarter push playing a lineup of Grant, Langston Galloway, Afflalo, Derrick Williams, and Kristaps. Now this is a reserve lineup, baby! Obviously you can't play Kristaps all the time, but Afflalo just fits so much better with these guys -- Grant, Galloway and Williams push off misses, and Afflalo is there to pick up his customary crazy-difficult buckets against opposing scrubs when the initial attack fails.
- I'd say Lance Thomas looks rusty, but I'm still kinda scared that this might be the real Lance Thomas. He looked like 2014-15 Lance, the guy who couldn't dribble or catch a pass or even walk in a straight line. He played only a few minutes last week coming back from a concussion, so let's just hope it's rust. Lance Thomas is a basketball Rube Goldberg machine -- a ridiculous, clunky contraption hundreds of moving parts. He's hilarious to watch, and can get the job done, but only so long as every component is moving exactly as planned.
As knicksfanhere96 noted -- along with several other astute commenters -- the time has come to pull out the classic Jim Mora press conference clip:
The Knicks now head to Minnesota to play yet another terrible team Saturday night. I just hope we can win a game!