Somehow, this game remained close until the fourth quarter, but trust me when I tell you that the Knicks never really had much of a shot against the Heat Wednesday night. But that’s totally fine, because this loss means that New York is officially eliminated from playoff contention! Which, look: I’m pretty sick of watching this team play like crap year after year. But the only way to fix that on any sort of permanent basis is to draft well, and the easiest way to draft well is to get a high draft pick. So, in my mind, it’s pretty sensible to root for them to lose every single one of their last 7 games and get as good a chance at the No. 1 pick as they can.
Normally, I have trouble actively rooting against the Knicks, even when I know they should be losing. But this team (Carmelo Anthony especially, it seems) is completely checked out. So I feel comfortable doing so also. And hell, I wasn’t alone. There were two separate instances in the fourth quarter tonight where some of the fans at MSG started audible “Let’s go Heat” chants. In the game thread, jacoop said “I think the tank is at the height of its power right now.” Well, let me take it a step further and say I know the tank is at the height of its power right now.
Notes! (Which are gonna be pretty scattered, because this game was real boring.)
- Through the entirety of this game, excepting garbage time, the Knicks had a grand total of ONE legit run: 10-0 ending the first quarter and beginning the second, allowing the Bockers to erase an early 24-16 deficit. After that, the game was basically back and forth, with Miami slowly building their lead until the fourth quarter, when the Heat blew the thing wide open. But again, that’s not indicative of a good performance by the Knicks. Miami just happened to miss enough shots to keep it close-ish until late.
- I promised myself I wouldn’t talk about anyone’s performance outside of the Kristaps Porzingis/Willy Hernangomez/Ron Baker/Chasson Randle quartet regardless of this game’s outcome, but I’ve gotta touch on Melo. He was so unbelievably disinterested tonight it was slightly jarring, even though he’s been checked out for a while. At halftime, Melo had a line of 0/2/0 on 0-2 from the field. In the postgame locker room, he looked and sounded defeated. Please just sit him for the remaining games so he doesn’t have to deal with this anymore, Knicks.
- Kristaps had a shitty first half, but a real good second half. Finished with 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks; 16 of those points came after the break. It was good to see him take a bad half and improve upon it, rather than allowing it to affect his play for the entire game. I know very little about developing NBA players, but this seems like a good milestone in his growth. That, or it was a total fluke. But let’s be optimistic about things that involve our beloved Kristaps.
- Willy had a solid game, missing out on a double-double by one rebound. He’s shown some pretty solid pick and roll chemistry with both Ron and Randle, which is cool. His defense was suspect as usual, but hopefully someone other than Kurt Rambis is coaching the defense next year and can help him improve upon that.
- Ron was real bad tonight. He didn’t make a single three point attempt, shot 2/12 overall, and his AST:TO was 3:3. So, yeah, not good. But Ron almost definitely shouldn’t be starting NBA games, so it’s not too surprising to see him falter when he’s overextended.
- You know who should’ve played more minutes in Ron’s stead? Chasson Randle! His box score line (9/4/3) wasn’t eye popping, but he played a solid 21 minutes. It feels like every time Randle’s on the floor, he’s contributing positively in some way. Other than getting a good draft pick, the main goal in a lost season should be identifying useful pieces for the future, and I think the Knicks have done that with Randle.
And now for some quick hits on the actual entertaining part of the game: the TV broadcast, which featured interviews with some of the visiting members of the 1983-84 Knicks team, which was honored at the game.
- Hubie Brown joined the broadcast in the second quarter, and boy, did he have some HOT TAKES on the following: how unintelligent today’s NBA players are, 3 pointers, and the lack of complexity in the game today. I couldn’t disagree any more with anything he said, but I’ll let it slide because he’s Hubie and I love him.
- Rebecca Haarlow sat down with Bernard King at one point, and it was amazing. After answering a single question, he launched into a promo for his memoir, which is coming in October. I remember that because he said so at least three times. I’m sure Rebecca knew about the book and planned to ask, but Bernard King wasn’t taking any chances. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it.
- We were treated to peak Clyde tonight on his 72nd birthday, between him introducing a new Puma sneaker at halftime (40 years of Clydes!), him mentioning for what has to be the millionth time that he never received a technical foul in his career because he didn’t want to pay a fine, and him musing on both how long it takes to get your entire body tattooed and whether getting a tattoo is painful. Never change, Clyde. And happy birthday!
That’s all I got. All we have to look forward to now is counting down to the draft. Let’s get those ping pong balls!