If you drew a graph of New York’s 117-83 defeat to Brooklyn Sunday night, it’d look like a crescendo, or the less-than sign: the top line represents the Nets grabbing an early lead, then steadily blowing the game wider and wider open. The bottom line is the Knicks, failing their way into a near-40 point deficit with metronomic grace. While that kind of bottom lining is likely this season’s bottom line, that didn’t make this spoonful of sugar go down any easier. Jeff Hornacek looked increasingly pissed with each and every timeout. If that does anything for you.
Kristaps Porzingis, who missed the second half with a sore right hip, started alongside Willy Hernangomez, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Jarrett Jack. The opening quarter got out of hand quickly, which ten turnovers will do for you. When the Knicks did manage to hold on to the ball, they did a few nice things, all of which was lipstick on a pig.
Porzingis blocks Lin - leads to alley-oop dunk by Hardaway Jr on the other end: pic.twitter.com/jVA6ONUcPr— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) October 8, 2017
The Nets were up twelve after one; thanks to the Knicks scoring zero field goals over the last 4:23 of the second, the halftime margin was 18. Brooklyn hit seven of 14 threes in the first half, most of which stemmed from one team looking like they were running on a treadmill set at 8 miles per hour and the other looking like the Ministry of Silly Walks.
Resistance was just as piss-poor in the second half. The Knicks were fouling and flailing on both ends. Meanwhile, Brooklyn was a whole lotta good ball movement and aggressive actions. They won’t be any good, but they’ll look good not being good.
The low point appeared to come after
Magic Johnson Trevor Booker drove the lane and went behind the back to Quincy Acy in the corner, who swung the ball to Jeremy Lin, who found D’Angelo Russell for three at the top of the arc that put the Nets up 31. But that wasn’t the low point (numerically, the low point was falling behind by 38).
I once played in a 30-and-older wood bat baseball league. Every other team had been around a few years, but seeing the opportunity to get 15 new dudes to pay league dues, they threw a bunch of us together on a team literally days before the season began. When the games started, we looked like a team that got thrown together at the last minute, and not because anyone’s muse confused us with “inspiring” or “competitive.” Tonight the Knicks looked like a hastily-assembled rec league hardball team. I know it’s only preseason, but...are the Nets clearly better than the Knicks? And if so, is that good—because it’d better the Knicks’ lottery odds, possibly leapfrogging those karmic one percenters in Cleveland? Discuss.
- No Frank Ntilikina tonight. He’s doubtful for tomorrow night.
- Long before the hip injury, Porzingis opened the Knick scoring with an easy catch-and-shoot over DeMarre Carroll. Let this man work off the ball, sweet Christ.
- Joakim Noah started the second half in place of KP, who was on the bench for about two minutes before returning to the locker room. Walt Frazier voiced hope it was “a nature call.”
“Doesn’t appear to be,” Mike Breen replied. Breen was right: KP was soon declared done for the night. Mike Breen has forgotten more about what people who have to pee look like than you or I could ever learn re: what people who have to pee look like.
- Doug McDermott sprained a finger on his non-shooting hand. Prepare for 2-3 months of the Knick narrative being “We’re struggling ‘cuz preseason injuries kept us from establishing a rhythm.” Which is still a step up from “struggling ‘cuz our point guard’s preseason rape trial kept us from establishing a rhythm.”
- During a halftime commercial break, MSG appeared to accidentally air audio (no video) of Alan Hahn and Wally Szczerbiak voicing displeasure bordering on disgust at Porzingis’ first-half performance. Most of the comments were from Hahn, among them: “The other thing you can do is just kill Porzingis for being -20 in 16 minutes. Dude. Come on, man. You’re a star. I mean, this is what you’re doing? You’re just out there?” Hahn then said something inaudible that ended with “a lot to learn.” One thing KP gonna learn quick is what body shots feel like after your 240 pounds of Kevlar got traded to OKC.
- A “We Want Kanter!” chant broke out midway through the third. I wanted him, too.
- On one sequence Tim Hardaway was defending D’Angelo Russell and absolutely positively would not let him go left, relentlessly would not let him go left, and it was kinda cool.
- Every year there are new Knicks I’m irrationally excited to see. Sometimes it’s due to their unbridled athleticism, which is pretty rare for a Knick and thus always exciting to import (Latrell Sprewell; Derrick Williams). Sometimes you haven’t seen the player more than a couple times a year, or ever, and so it’s not till you see him night-in night-out that his shortcomings appear (Arron Afflalo; Derrick Rose). This year that Knick is Ramon Sessions. He’s just such a pure, fundamental point guard. Maybe he’ll end up boring, pedestrian, whatever. But right now I’m irrationally excited to learn his game.
- Different styles of play, particularly as far as athleticism goes, but Hernangomez, especially with more and more playing time, really does remind me of young David Lee. Brooklyn went small with Acy at center and Willy ate ‘im up yum.
- A lucky seven and seven (points and assists) for Lin. 11 points and five rebounds for Timofey Mozgov. Six and eight for Acy. OAKAAKUYO.
- First half for New York: 11 assists, 14 turnovers. I cannot stress enough what an awful passing team the Knicks are so far. Putrid. If we equate NBA teams and their passing to Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights triptych, the Red Holzman Knicks are the left panel,
the Rick Adelman Sacramento Kings are the middle,
and your preseason Knicks are the right panel.
- Mozgov looking like Brook Lopez, stepping back to turn open baseline jumpers into corner threes! Re-read that. “Mozgov looking like Brook Lopez, stepping back to turn open baseline jumpers into corner threes!” I mean, you know, there’s some great storytellers in the world that we live in today. Who the fuck could make up that shit?
- When my friends and I played pickup ball as teenagers, I used to let guys get past me so they would drive and I would block them. Porzingis does this a lot on D against smaller, quicker forwards, but since most of the time they’re better than my teenage friends, they score. I’m not qualified to tell an 87-inch human being how to guard an 80-inch human being, but something ain’t quite right there.
- Porzingis posted up Acy 20 feet from the basket, backed him down about ten feet, and ended up with a good look in the paint. He missed, but the move was encouraging. The day Porzingis starts eating Quincy Acys for breakfast is the day he’s an All-Star.
- A really nice razzle-dazzle sequence by Jack, who went behind the back twice and threw in a nice crossover before forcing a foul by Carroll.
- THJ shot well, had some attractive buckets in transition and off the dribble, and took optimistic passing to bold new realms. I’m going to enjoy having him on my side when it all goes to hell this year.
- I don’t know if Damyean Dotson has the chops to be a 10-year veteran. He def has the face of one. Check out that mug. Looks like a face you’d expect to see a long NBA time.
- MSG is running commercials for the Knicks, Rangers and Giants starring purported everyday die-hard fans smiling vacantly and bubbling over about their love for their team. They’re fucking creepy. They remind me of the Life Extension people in Vanilla Sky.
- Rebecca Haarlow asked Corey Gaines an absurd question based on the premise that New York’s defense has struggled this offseason because—unlike every other team in the league—the Knicks are still experimenting with rotations and combinations. Becky with the good hair in midseason form.
- Nigel Hayes has a friend who makes truffles in Wisconsin. Nigel Hayes gave some to the MSG crew and Mike Breen described them as “heaven...a slice of heaven...magnificent.” This led to Frazier revealing he’s never eaten a truffle. Wait. It gets better.
- After Hayes committed his 3rd foul, Clyde joked “Too many tressles?” TRUFFLES ARE SO ALIEN TO CLYDE HE CALLS THEM TRESSLES. One wonders if he’ll begin remembering Ohio State’s former head coach as Jim Truffle. One day the Knicks will be a great team with unlikable broadcasters and we’ll remember these dark times and wonder at what we’ve lost on the way to how far we’ve come.
- The Nets held a moment of silence before the game for Hall of Famer and NYC streetball legend and Connie Hawkins. “He was Dr. J before Dr. J,” Frazier said, adding he doesn’t think Hawkins was guilty of the point shaving charges that helped keep him out of the NBA till he was 27. Clyde’s been going all Spooky Mulder this preseason, not holding back and seemingly sharing whatever pops into his head. The man is 72 years old. Has Clyde reached the age where he’s ceased to worry what people think of his thoughts? Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Knicks are down 21. I have a feeling I'm going to tweet that a lot this year.— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) October 9, 2017
LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT, AL.
Quoth Walt Clyde Phraser: “Wish this ‘L’ counted.” That is some post-post modern fan thinking. The Knicks’ next brush with verisimilitude is tomorrow when they host Houston. Hopefully we’ll see a differance in their performance.