You know those days where you have a great morning, a great day at work, everything’s going fine, you get home and kiss your partner and five minutes later something’s gone wrong, and you realize with sickening quickness that you’re trapped in one of those arguments that always ends with you buried in the bowels of hell? The Knicks’ 109-91 putrescence in Charlotte was the something gone wrong and the bowels. New York had hoped to win their fifth in a row, especially against a 10-19 Charlotte team, but it was the Knicks, sans Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr., who looked 10-19.
The Knicks shot the lights out for the first half of the first quarter, but then missed seven out of eight shots. The Hornets took advantage, going on an 8-0 run at the start of the second that was part of a 22-4 run bridging quarters that was part of a 41-13 run that blew the game open. It wasn’t that the Knicks couldn’t get the looks they wanted; they did. But Courtney Lee and Lance Thomas couldn’t make a shot, missing nine of their first ten and ending a combined 3-17. New York missed their first eight three-pointers, not making one till Doug McDermott hit on their last possession of the half. The Hornets finished their shots at the rim.
The Knicks did not.
Charlotte was up as many as 25 in the first half, at which point their bench had outscored the Knick reserves 27-12. Nothing changed in the second.
- 15 points in 12 first-half minutes for Frank Kaminsky. Six shots, six makes, including three-for-three from three. Eventually he was eight for eight from the field and four for four from downtown for 20 points before finally missing a runner in garbage time. You won this battle of the Franks, Frank.
- Ten points for Frank Ntilikina, who hit four of his seven shots, including his first ever NBA dunk off a lovely feed from Ron Baker!
- Jeff Hornacek kept Ramon Sessions on the bench almost all night, despite the blowout, letting Ntilikina play 23 minutes. I like it, Jeff.
- Despite the extensive garbage time, the last Knick to get in the game was Willy Hernangomez. Me no like, Jeff.
- Hornacek brought Joakim Noah into the game midway through the fourth. Here, I am ambivalent.
- Hornacek waited a rrrreally long time to go outside his normal rotation on a night when nothing worked for literally the whole game. He’s had enough good nights going with his gut that I still trust him. But it was conspicuous.
- Charlotte coach Stephen Silas kept the Hornets’ top draft pick, Malik Monk, on the bench even longer than Horny did Willy. Too early to pass judgment on the young man’s career. But when the Knicks hit a rough patch, and the “We shoulda tanked from da start!” apologists emerge, chattering like cicadas, remember Charlotte. Remember Orlando.
- The Knicks came in to the game having lost six straight in Charlotte. I guess now you could say they’re at...sixes and sevens.
- In 2020, when the Spurs ride Anthony Davis to the title, Jeremy Lamb will be a revelation and a key contributor to the championship.
- Continuing one of the Knicks’ more disappointing trends this season, Michael Beasley committed an absolutely ridiculous over-aggressive loose-ball foul on Michael Carter-Williams with less than three seconds left in the first and the Knicks over the foul limit. If this team makes the playoffs, they’re gonna exceed expectations, put themselves in prime position to knock off one of the big dogs, then lose a one-point gut-wrencher where they give up like four points on end-of-quarter tomfoolery.
- Charlotte leads the league in free throw attempts. The Knicks actually took more free throws than the Hornets. If that does anything for you.
- Has there ever been a Rookie of the Year who, not due to injuries, fell from grace like Carter-Williams? He’s hitting 28% on his three-pointers, which is bad enough, but he’s fallen to 25% on his two-pointers. Michael Carter-Williams makes Marcus Smart look like Allan Houston.
- Kenny Albert and Walt Frazier were talking about Kobe Bryant’s retirement ceremony. Clyde mentioned that when Kareem Abdul-Jabar retired, the Lakers gave him a Rolls Royce. Kenny brought up how when Julius Erving retired, the Knicks brought a bunch of famous doctors to the event in honor of Dr. J. Then Clyde wondered aloud if the Knicks had also given Erving a Hummer. My mind went right to “That Hummer line would be funny if it had involved Patrick Ewing,” at which point Clyde wondered if he was thinking of Ewing instead of Erving. The natural funniness of the universe is the surest sign of intelligent design I can imagine.
- Can we reach a gentleman’s agreement to drop the “Junior” from THJ and just call him Tim Hardaway? What are we afraid of? Someone’s gonna read “Tim Hardaway scored 20 tonight” and think “Holy crap! That dude’s like 50; gotta be on PEDs.” We gotta trust each other more than that.
- Former Knick assistant coach Paul Silas was at the game tonight, watching his son lead the Hornets to the win. Paul was a favorite of mine back when I was 14 and so enamored with Pat Riley’s team even the assistants were rock stars. OAKAAKUYOAK.
- Rebecca Haarlow interviewed David Bliss before the second half. The whole time, Bliss appeared to be barely containing a laugh, as if he’d cut a fart and known the viewers would never know and Haarlow couldn’t say or do anything about it. I’ve no reason to think of Bliss as that mischievous, except he reminds me of Kristofer Hivju, who plays Tormund on Game of Thrones and appears in commercials as the Wyndham Rewards Wyzard, and both of those dudes would totally drop an SBD on-camera for kicks.
Quoth StraightOutofComptonandSelfEsteem: “And we’ll never speak of it again.” The Knicks are off till Thursday, when they host Boston. Plenty of time to learn to let this one go.