I just watched the Knicks get worked, which I didn't like. I'm actually still watching them get worked as I write this, because it's been clear for an hour where this game is headed and I want to go to bed. Let's talk about some things we saw. I don't have Vines.
- We saw Jerian Grant lead the point guards in minutes, which is fantastic. He didn't do all that much, but the few things he did do were aggressive. He dribble hard to his right, he looked for entry passes, he got near enough the basket to draw contact, and on the other end he fought over picks early and often. Too often, even. He played a lot, though, and that's the important part. Kurt Rambis even left him in through some silly, semi-backbreaking mistakes. Solid.
- The Nuggets ran their offense quickly through the thin air, and pretty much unmolested by Knicks. For much of the game, Denver's points in the paint nearly outpaced New York's points.
- I never really know how much to buy the altitude thing, but Kristaps Porzingis (who tends to huff and puff at any elevation) really didn't have it through most of the game. His feet lay unusually flat on his jumpers, and he got displaced a bit too easily by Nikola Jokic (who is very good, to be fair) on the block. Happy to see him back and running around ably, though.
- I kinda appreciate the bigs' gradual transition toward late-era Tyson Chandler levels of absenteeism around the rim. They look so tired of cleaning up the guards' leaking messes that they just don't really help anymore. That's an exaggeration. But they're not really going after free ball-handlers like they did earlier in the year, which is probably equal parts avoiding fouls and sheer fatigue/frustration.
- So, yeah, given the amount of transition Denver runs, that was kind of an issue. Nuggets got all the way to the rim with nary a Knick impeding. At best, one guy would offer a token "I'm jumping straight up in the air so it appears I have made an effort but in fact I am accomplishing nothing" move.
- Another one of those games in which Carmelo Anthony can't get his self-created jumpers to fall, so he commits himself to driving and trying to finish pretty frequently. It warms my soul to see him remain so determined in that regard.
- I'm too tired to explain this further but if the rules were different I'd suggest Langston Galloway smoke a small amount of weed before games. Just a drag or two on a tasty marijuana cigarette. He seems tense and over-mechanical, like he's overthinking each problem he encounters.
- For what it's worth, I think we saw the first successful blind-piggy weak-side handoff for a lay-in (Galloway taking a hand-off to the rim) AND the first weak-side high-post spin to the rim for an alley-oop (Afflalo to Melo) in a loooong while. First I can remember since The Good Days of early January.
- I can't really decide whether the Knicks forced Emmanuel Mudiay to shoot a bunch of jumpers or whether he just did it. I'm inclined to believe it's the latter, but they at least made him hang in the air and pass on a bunch of his drives.
- Prove Joffrey Lauvergne's hair isn't made of metal. You can't.
- ...and somehow Melo played 40 minutes again. And this on the same day he ensured reporters his knees would be ready for Rio. Kurt Rambis is a turncoat trying to sandbag our Olympic effort.
To answer knicksfanhere96's question from the comment section: Nope! No defending the rim. That'll lose you a basketball game. That's all. Phoenix tomorrow.