The Knicks have a tough time winning on the road, like a lot of young teams. (Please don’t @ me with the “Actually if you look at their average age, the Knicks aren’t really young” garbage. They’re young!) The Toronto Raptors, on the other hand, are masters at their craft—the craft of piling up regular-season wins against inferior teams, that is. The end result was a fairly predictable 107-84 defeat that only matter insomuch as it continued to reveal the deteriorating state of Kristaps Porzingis’ elbow.
The Unicorn missed his first six shots Friday night as the Raptors quickly built a double-digit lead which ballooned to 20 just before halftime. Some of that was legitimately great defense from Toronto power forward Pascal Siakam, yet another random talented role player the Raptors appear to have dug up. But make no mistake, this was a hobbled unicorn parading around the Canadian tundra. You can see the swelling in Kristaps’ elbow, and it’s growing by the game. Ugh. Take my elbow instead, basketball gods!
Anyway, the Knicks played a decent third quarter, spurred on by some tighter defense, pinpoint three-point shooting and a sprinkling of transition buckets, but veterans like Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and CJ Miles hit timely buckets and flopped timely flops to cut off any potential comeback. And Porzingis kept playing for some reason. Me no like! Get him out of the game!
—Frank Ntilikina hasn’t been getting many assists of late, and Friday (1 assist) was no exception. But that isn’t to say he played a bad game. He looked friskier in the second half, even converting a layup (!!!). He did his best to contest Lowry and DeRozan, but he didn’t really have the savvy to stop those two when they’re on the top of their respective games. Both are masters of the stop-and-pivot shake-and-bake, and Frank could only stay with them for so long. Also he got hit with two fouls on blatant Toronto flops, one by Lowry and one by Miles on a three-pointer. Ah well, the rook will learn.
—Kyle O’Quinn has been bad recently. I wouldn’t mind seeing some of his minutes go to Willy Hernangomez, who has completely lost confidence in his game due to his undeserved benching. It was a weird situation before—O’Quinn was playing so well that he needed to get those minutes—but that is not the case at the moment.
—Tim Hardaway Jr. was solid, with 13 points on 5-11 shooting, 5 rebounds and 3 steals and oh crap now he’s hurt too?
Tim Hardaway Jr sore left foot. X-rays negative.— Steve Popper (@StevePopper) November 18, 2017
—I didn’t even realize they had taken Timmy out due to injury. I thought it was just due to the fact that the Knicks were getting blown out.
—Jarrett Jack was quite good (on offense, that is)—8 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists. The defense was quite bad, but he’s not really a starting point guard, so I feel like it’s a wash.
—Michael Beasley scored 10 points in a very Beasley-esque second-half run—he didn’t pass much once he got the ball, and the Knicks were outplayed badly on the other end of the court, but he got those buckets, man. As P&T’er CarTaps Porzingthony noted, dude was still hunting that elusive 25-point bucket. #WalkingBucket
Be well, Kristaps’ elbow.