Now that was a fun basket game! Lots of lead changes, some decent scoring runs, an extra frame! It was the eighth time this season New York has come back from a double-digit deficit to win the game. There were a few back and forth minutes in the third where no one was missing and everything was fun and just. If only in the basketball world. Thankfully New York never dug too much of a hole and they were able to squeeze out a tight win, even while running offense through Michael Beasley.
What an excellent first night of Hanukkah!
- What is starting to feel like a regular game for Kristaps Porzingis was actually one of the most irregular games of all time. Porzingis just has a knack for flicking up 30+ point games and casually blocking shots and banging deep triples, and sucking in boards.
Kristaps Porzingis is the first player in NBA history with at least 35 points, 10 rebounds, 5 blocks and 5 three-pointers in a single game.— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) December 13, 2017
Porzingis looked like he was totally freaking the Lakers out as the game started to get a pace to it in the first quarter. At one point he was considering a 35-footer and then stepped into a cozy 30-footer. Then just crisply rising up and cashing face-up mid rangers from all angles. The waves of bench defenders and the fresh legs that kept sweeping into him caused a good amount of discomfort as the game wore on, but Kris don’t stap, ya jagoff.
- Here are a few back and forth minutes in the third where no one was missing, everything was fun and all was right in the basketball world:
- There was one sequence (after getting repeatedly torched for lurching) where Brook Lopez was denying the pass to Kristaps at the top of the key and extended it all the way out to half court. He was no match trying to close out and was a lame duck in open water. It was a nice segment for Lopez, showing a lot of effort and the right amount of attention. Probably made Luke Walton queasy. Don’t tell Jen Selter (whoever that’s supposed to be) but Porzingis is terrifying to opponents.
- Kyle Kuzma looks like he could be a Bob’s Burgers character. I guess that means he’s great. The Garden crowd absolutely loved him and he made some great plays. I wish he was a Knick.
- The Lakers bench is a little more enticing than their starters. Both groups have their own struggles, and I can easily see why things are the way they are. Nevertheless, there is lots of fun to be had when you have springy, interchangeable depth. Both crews try to do a little more than they really seem capable of just yet. That’s part of the fun though.
- I always hope Frank Ntilikina can get all the assists. He routinely passes people open. Basically floating the ball into the spot they ought to be if they want a clean look. So after a gorgeous over the top feed to Beasley on the break I had a jones for Super Cool to just cram it on some purple head. Instead he made a lovely touch pass to Doug McDermott. I had a jones for Doug all night too, so I wasn’t upset that Frank’s assist was cast aside. I just needed these guys to succeed. You could say I had a Frank jones and a Doug jones. Doug did great work moving without the ball and forcing the defense to stay engaged with him. It really opened things up for the team in blue.
- I know he’s a polarizing character. So I’ll just go out on a limb here and let you know that I am totally in on LaVar Ball and his antics. He’s fun and he just shows out so hard and so completely for his kids. Whether he’s making the best decisions all the time is not something I care to debate. In plenty of specific cases I disagree with his choices vehemently. I just think he’s fun. Yes I know he’s been utterly objectionable. His oldest son is really quite good too.
- Back to Beasley. It would seem that when Beasley gets a few touches and some good looks out of them, he starts to spread the love. He only finished with 2 assists but he made some flat out great reads behind the defender’s heads and had a few passes cutting thru dangerous seams (one nearly shaving off Ron Baker’s mop). Being a step ahead of the defense doesn’t always come natural to Mike but maybe Jeff Hornacek is realizing how to play to his strengths. Beas had a short leash in the first half and an extendo-leash in the second with the offense running thru him several times late in the game.
- One last Beasley thought if you’ll indulge me. After a tip-in leads to a Laker timeout in overtime, Enes Kanter and Kyle O’Quinn rushed Beas at mid court and started barking at him with glee noggin to noggin to noggin. If the teams are going to play small ball, Beas has to find a way to channel his inner-Anthony Mason.
- My favorite Frank Ntilikina shot was a 30-foot shot clock beating heave. But my favorite set of plays was when he canned back to back elbow pull up jumpers out of pick and rolls. First going left then headed right. The second one was the special gem. He dropped Lonzo in a hole with a carnivorous in-and-out, angled to the rim, let Lonzo sail past en route to recovery and just calmly got the ball to his fingertips and stuck the jumper. He’s putting it together, folks.
- Lots of jump balls.
And that’s how you beat those sun drenched dopes. Much respect to Hornacek for riding with the difference makers down the stretch. Ntilikina, Beasley, McDermott and obviously Porzingis had the goods. Horny has done it a few times and it can be really tough to grant a youngster a teaching moment when you also feel the pressure to show out and win. But Hornacek tends to give trust at the good critical moments. This is a team that Ntilikina needs to be able to ride out the storm against. Porzingis too for that matter. Kudos to the players and the coaches harmonizing tonight.
Well, the Mavericks must really regret not drafting Kyle Kuzma. LOL, sucks to be them. Here are some Frank Ntilikina highlights.
Lock yourself to the Knicks.