After three straight bad L’s, the Knicks were home to play fellow .500 team, the Miami Heat. Miami had won three of their last four but were without Hassan Whiteside tonight. Whiteside had been averaging 14 and 12 this year, so this sounded like good news for the Knicks.
But just a few minutes into the game, the disaster almost struck. Kristaps Porzingis twisted his ankle and had to be helped off the floor. It looked bad, and Knicks Twitter looked worse than it usually does.
Kristaps Porzingis probably broke his ankle but at least I got a gift in the mail... pic.twitter.com/H0EgZdq58C— Joe Praino (@FixYourLife) November 30, 2017
In his relief, Michael Beasley played admirably. Doug McDermott and Kyle O’Quinn also had some fantastic minutes off the bench. But it was Enes Kanter who stole the show.
We’re hearing “Enes Kanter!” chants at MSG. The Knicks are up 26 with 8:15 to play.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) November 30, 2017
Before we knew it, the Knicks rode their 60% shooting from the field to large leads and used good defence to keep them. Meanwhile, Miami struggled badly from the field, shooting 38% and only 60% from the line. They also out rebounded Miami 52-31, which is especially astounding considering they did it without KP.
All of this happening without KP and Frank Ntilikina is very good news! As P&Ter AJ_in_VA noticed, it’s as if KP’s healing powers trickled onto his teammates and maybe gave them superpowers.
We’ll get to the notes, but I have a few things I want to share first. Check these stats out, courtesy of P&Ter bluecheese999:
Shoutout to Cheese for digging these up! Great stuff!! Second thing:
Those plus-minus’ belong to the Knicks. Galaxy brain.
Ok, time for notes.
Kristaps Porzingis — KP’s injury came on a hustle play and we all know never to knock the hustle. He’s someone who often gets hurt just because of his sheer enormity, but this injury could have happened to anyone and legitimately looked bad enough for the immediately speculated diagnosis to be a broken ankle. That won’t be the case, though. He may may miss a few games as a precaution but it does not appear as though this will be a nagging type of injury.
Jeff Hornacek says Kristaps Porzingis (ankle) was available to return but there was no need to bring him back to the game. He said Porzingis wanted to take the court again.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) November 30, 2017
KP still managed to go 2-2 from the field in his three minutes on the floor.
Enes Kanter — In the comment section of the postgame post, P&Ter allzingers commented that “Kanter is the soul of this team.” Couldn’t fucking agree more.
Kanter was hustling and bustling all over the court all game long. After missing Monday’s game against Portland, Enes looked amazing tonight. His first half was pretty special, and probably did enough to help stabilize his teammates emotionally and get them through the rest of the game.
Monster first half for Enes Kanter. 18 points and 13 rebounds in 16 minutes.— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) November 30, 2017
Knicks up 65-44
He put up game-highs in both points and rebounding with 22 and 14, respectively. If you want to see what his performance looked like, here you go:
Courtney Lee — Lee continues to be very, very effective. He scored 17 points, grabbed five rebounds, got two steals and dished two assists, including this one:
He also did this, which just gets better every time you watch it:
He’s shooting well from deep as he always does, and is continuing to play tight defence on everyone. He’s been much more than a 3-and-D type player. We’re seeing him drive to the basket and get very aggressive (and acrobatic) as you saw in that last video. He’s been a real joy to watch all season for the Knicks.
Doug McDermott — He played amazingly tonight!! Doug played 29 minutes off the bench and looked incredibly good.
Doug McDermott And 1 Poster on Olynyk pic.twitter.com/6EUKYww9Ce— The Render (@TheRenderNBA) November 30, 2017
He scored 12 points without shooting a three-pointer, picked up two rebounds and had one assist. Notably, he played great defence.
Doug McDermott’s Ball Denial sounds like a fantasy team name, but it is a real thing that just got said to describe a positive play— Dan Devine (@YourManDevine) November 30, 2017
He was probably playing inside a bit more to compensate for KP’s absence but clearly adjusted very nicely to the situation. He’s proving to be much more than the shooter he’s gained a reputation for being ever since his days at Creighton. He’s earned all the bench minutes he’s getting and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him become the spot starter Lance Thomas has recently become if his defence can continue to improve.
Miami’s Box Score — It’s quite bleak. Dion Waiters finished 10/1/8, but that wasn't going to help much in just about any game.
Kanter’s Twitter — Incredibly good. We needed a great Knicks Twitter account after the nonsense we’ve been subjected in the past few years.
Scoreboard Watching — OKC allowed 120+ to Orlando. Now, I know Orlando’s good, but they do not have OKC’s talent. At this point, the move for Doug and Enes seems brilliant. In many ways, those two were the Knicks’ two most important players tonight against Miami.
After this 20+ point win, the Knicks will have a few days off to recover from their ailments and get ready to host the Orlando Magic for their second meeting of the year on Sunday. Hopefully, this one won’t suck like the last one! My overall thoughts on the game, from Kristaps' injury to the Knicks' overall dominance? A visual representation: