Even without Kristaps Porzingis playing, there was a palpable hope surrounding the Knicks. Clearly the team can’t survive without his excellence, but somewhere in their spirit you could see the glow of a rallying cry that had New York charged up. The Magic are a similar team to the Knicks in terms of trajectory but they are maybe a season closer to their summit. That + no Porzingis + creature comforts of home + a week’s worth of turnovers (23 to be exact) + SEGABABA = Friday Night Knicks. Disappointment was very clear in the game thread, despite the protests of “This was the likely outcome." The fanbase has grown used to winning.
To the notes and such...
- He didn’t get a lot of run, and his reprehensible defense was damning evidence as to why. But it was nice to see a big high-five from Willy Hernangomez to Jeff Hornacek right before tip off. You could see the excitement on Willy’s face and it looked like Horndog was genuinely happy to see some exuberance. Willy ended up doing an even worse job than I would have expected. Just completely flat footed on defense as he jiggled his way to 8 points in 8 minutes on 6 shots. I think it’s time to ditch the fancy boy haircut. Just let it shag and flap around for games and you can only grease it up when you go to the clubs. Until you start being the wonderful German paella we know you can be.
- Tim Hardaway Jr came out looking to set things in motion. Dashing in for quick pull-up 15-footers and then darting past bigs when they took a step up. Tim is another one who just doesn’t bring any gusto to the defensive end. He spent all his energy trying to be the guy that can lead the way and shoulder the scoring load. After playing all of the first quarter and starting the second, you could see by the middle of the third, sloppiness was going to inhabit the rest of the night. Tim finished with the first double-double of career getting 26 points and wrangling 11 rebounds but Jonathan Simmons and Evan Fournier (reminder to never google him) punched n 39 collective points and had an easy time going around, behind, through and over him.
- It’s been nice to see Jarret Jack tighten the bearings for the team. He calls out defensive assignments, correctly anticipates out of bounds plays, digs in to help clear defensive rebounds, pushes the tempo as much as his legs can and he makes an effort to be certain that the people who need the ball can get it. Tonight Jack just got completely upended by the return of Elfrid Payton. Part of what has been so great about Jack is that he just hasn’t committed any turnovers. Coming into the game he had 8 turnovers on the season. He wound up nearly doubling his total in one game, giving the ball up 6 times. YIKES! He clearly had no answers for the spry and energized young Magician. At one point he got a mid range pull up stuffed in his face and then he just clotheslined Payton heading the other way, as he was subbed out of the game. That was Jarret Jack’s night.
- Elfrid Payton’s hair looks like a rally cap made of kelp on hemp ropes. Inside out style. I like his drawl.
- Vu-speak. After butchering Nikola Vucevic’s name, Clyde Frazier wondered aloud where Sasha Vujacic is. Kenny Albert said he’s playing in Europe. To which Clyde reminisced, “Nice dude, always complementary.” Who isn’t always complementary to Clyde Frazier? I’d like a word with that person.
- Clyde was only saying “Mack” for Doug McDermott. I like to imagine that he thinks calls all white people mack. “Hey mack $450,000 is not what a middle class family earns in the States, reprobate.” Doug played well. Not the most athletically gifted or anything but he does have the length to get a hand up and he showed more effort on defense than pretty much the entire starting line up. Would have liked to see him in the starters group. However, there is something to be said for keeping a guy in his role and letting him set the limitations rather than setting him up for too much of a workload.
- Scott Perry was in Orlando, his old stomping grounds. The GM being in town for a theoretical schedule loss has to weigh a bit on the players, and I like it! Promotes the idea that the Knicks should take themselves seriously and take no nights off. Perry mentioned that it was good to get to know the players more and to be present himself. Does that seem different to you? He told a nice story about Enes Kanter wanting to reach out to Steve Mills after his mother’s passing. Rebecca Haarlow, as if she’s heard that story, snapped it back to Kenny and Clyde.
- The walking bucket, needs to be a sprinting bucket or a ball-moving and cutting to the basket bucket. A spacing bucket maybe. A 10% less bucket. A fuck it bucket? Maybe a waiver bucket. Michael Beasley is the worst defender on a team with Tim Hardaway, Enes Kanter, Willy Hernangomez and Luke Kornet (could have rang him up).
- Kyle O’Quinn, New York’s best Irish basketballer, was perhaps a little too footloose and fancy free. He was one of a few guys returning to Orlando and he seemed like he wanted to have a good game and as such forced things more than normal. He still found a way to make a decent contribution and I think it’s safe to say he’s in a perfect role for what he brings to the table.
- The Knick who probably played the best all around game was Courtney Lee. He never really astonishes you, but he always gives it what he’s got and his four steals were evidence of the take-no-shit attitude he is trying to instill amongst the perimeter Knicks.
- It is time. Frank Ntilikina must ascend. You must, Frank.