The Knicks definitely took this loss lying down. They just happened to be painting a beautiful masterpiece the whole time. Detroit opened the game just bombing on New York from the opening tip, instantaneously going up 12-0 and leading by as many as 27. I didn't like it.
Derek Fisher laid into the team during a sideline interview with Craig Sager leading into the second quarter. Sager asked Fisher if he needed to extend the defense, and Fisher- with no hesitation- snapped that they'd need to be playing defense in order to extend it. Fisher went on to mention that the only good thing he saw was Craig himself. He was right, Craig Sager, daffy as he may be, is simply fantastic at his job. Speaking of which, he followed up with Fisher and from his reporting in the second half it sounded like Fisher completely lambasted the team at halftime, by basically damning their commitment and questioning their integrity. Everything was coming up ouchies!
This loss is so obnoxious. Rightlight called it "the Sistine Chapel of fake comebacks" in the game thread, and I'll be damned if that wasn't the truth about it. I'd love to say that the exciting moments were also somehow redeeming. The Knicks dug their own grave, though, and don't deserve credit for playing well. So let's just end this nationally televised bipolar extravaganza with a few notes:
- Stan Van Gundy was almost as frustrated in the second half as Fisher was in the first.
- Sasha Vujacic, The Machine, was designed to hack Andre Drummond in the penalty. He did so in the first half while the Knicks were chiseling out an insurmountable deficit. So while it's a little perplexing that they didn't do it on a few possessions late in the game- I have to applaud Coach Fisher for not putting that chucker in the game expressly to do that.
- Carmelo Anthony, flanked by Arron Afflalo, led the comeback charge and bless him for not giving up on this game because I didn't want to have such a painful night. Anthony shimmied and juked his way to the hoop and got Detroit in the penalty early on in the third quarter. Those two guys combined to go 17-22 at the charity stripe and had 43 total points. It was deliberate and assertive and the only option.
- After getting stripped by Carmelo in the third quarter, Marcus Morris was granted a timeout without the ball in his possession. On the ensuing sideline out of bounds play, he promptly canned a 17-foot jumper. Later on Morris got a technical for yapping. Those twins are always out of pocket. Not like our twin!
- Robin Lopez had another great game against Andre Drummond. This time he wasn't as dominant on the defensive side but he still managed to outscore, out-rebound, out-assist and out-steal the All Star big fella.
- Langston Galloway is just so damn good. Jose Calderon wasn't able to handle many minutes and Langston stepped up majorly, contributing some hugely momentous three pointers and even getting a break away two handed swinging dunk. 17 points on nine shots in 35 minutes.
- I have an unfounded suspicion that on the nights where Arron Afflalo wears white sneakers, the team is more likely to lose.
- Not sure the All-Star break will be entirely restful for Kristaps Porzingis, but this guy could use a couple days off. Even if he stays in the gym like a maniac, that's fine. He could just obviously use a chance to recharge his mental batteries.
Sounds like Fisher reached his team even though it was too late. Not that that will reflect kindly on him in the tabloids. Knicks stunk it up, don't look at any other way. It's over now and the Knicks need to prepare for the Memphis Grizzlies tomorrow. If there's any way to cheer you up, maybe my friend Colin can help. He got a cool tattoo for his 33rd birthday. No pain, no gain. Look: