The Knicks’ fan base is less divided than ever before. We have mostly reserved our tickets aboard the tank. A few weeks ago, some of us were still receptive to NBA commentators — whose job it is to keep us watching — reminding us that we were only * insert comically low number of games that we’ll still never make up * out of 8th place.
Nah, fuck that. That’s over. Gimme Markelle Fultz.
I mean, it’s perfect. The Knicks are starting to lose ridiculously, to ridiculously bad teams right around the time of the NCAA tournament! We’ll get to do all the armchair scouting we want. Finally, something that works out beautifully.
Except Monday night in Orlando, that is.
The Knicks were without the services of Carmelo Anthony and...wait the Knicks won? That hasn’t happened in years. Literally...it hasn’t happened since April 2015.
If you turned the game off five minutes into it and are just reading this recap to join in on the misery in the comment section, you must be real surprised right now. An early 11-0 deficit turned into leads of more than 10 in the fourth quarter for the Knicks. Orlando’s young guns could not drown out the Madison Sq....this game was in Orlando? What? Do they even, like, have fans? I did not see any Magic fans in the crowd.
The Knicks managed to turn that Swiss cheese D into more of a mild yet somehow solid provolone and got the stops they needed. They snapped a two-game losing streak, and spoiled a Herculean performance by Evan Fournier.
That wasn't sarcasm. I’m legitimately sorry, we’re trying to tank.
Time for notes!
Chasson Randle: The young guard, known for his silky jump shot, missed his lone three-point attempt. All he did was every single other thing you can hope for out of basketball player — dish the rock (5 assists, 0 turnovers), crash the boards (5 rebounds) and help stop dribble penetration on defense. Every time Randle was on the court, the Knicks looked like the varsity squad to Orlando’s JV. His floor generalship damn near brought tears to the eyes of P&T’er Malta Papi.
Does this mean Randle will get to play again? Who the hell knows with this franchise.
Derrick Rose: His plus/minus was -23. I have nothing else to say about Derrick Rose.
Amendment: Can someone let us know whether or not that’s, like, some sort of all-time low for a player on a winning (but not super) team? Because it sounds like it easily could be. He managed to score 12 points, get 5 rebounds and dish 6 assists, but Rose looked like a completely useless point guard out there, which is something I thought I’d never say about Derrick freaking Rose.
One of these players is an MVP pic.twitter.com/R8u5Bja8Tg— Joseph Flynn (@ChinaJoeFlynn) March 7, 2017
Rose checks out. Three minutes later the defense mysteriously picks up— Joseph Flynn (@ChinaJoeFlynn) March 7, 2017
Jeez. What the hell happened to him?
Credit to Jeff Hornacek for being very diplomatic about Rose’s performance after the game. Per Stefan Bondy:
“For those guys to be out, our other guys stepped up,” said Hornacek, adding that he thought about bringing Rose back in the game (he did play Porzingis for the final 3:30).
Sure you thought about bringing him back in, Jeff. Sure you did.
Kristaps Porzingis: No caps lock today. He had a very aight game and we don’t like it when KP has aight games.
Kristaps Porzingis is out here making other big men look foolish. pic.twitter.com/QwaLRgmbcu— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) March 7, 2017
OH MY GOODNESS HOW IS HE 7’3, I CAN’T EVEN CHANGE DIRECTIONS THAT MANY TIMES AND I’M LIKE 5’7 OOOOOOOO KP IS SOOOOOO GOOOOOOOD.
DID Y’ALL SEE THAT PLAY THOUGH. LOOK AT IT. REPEATEDLY.
KP DROPPED 14 POINTS, HAD 7 BOARDS AND EVEN BLOCKED A SHOT. YEAH, HIS GAME WAS AIGHT. BUT HE DID THAT PLAY, AND THAT’S ANYTHING BUT AIGHT. THAT’S SUPERHUMAN. THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT, OH SHOOT IT IS BRIGHT.
Lance Thomas: Thomas, as he has done for what feels like a million years now, got a start with Melo sidelined with the sore left knee. He responded with a game that was, actually, just fine. He dropped 17 points with 3 defensive rebounds (4 total) and 2 steals. Deeeeefense.
Thomas gets a lot of flack from casual fans, and perhaps rightfully so, but there’s a reason he’s been around for so long; he’s a valuable role player. He can come off the bench for defense and some instant offense (he has the capacity to heat up offensively), and can make the very sort of spot start he did today.
Nice game, guy!
Courtney Lee: Among the starters, I don't think there’s any doubt that Lee had the best game today. He scored a team-high 20 points and affected the game in many ways. He played 41 minutes.
Now, Lee having the best game doesn’t necessarily mean he had a great performance. The Knicks kinda needed a huge comeback to beat a bad Orlando team. Luckily for the Knicks (or Magic), today was one of the games he played well.
The Bench: LOOK AT THIS:
YOU KNOW WHAT THAT IS?? A GOOD NBA BENCH. UNFORTUNATELY, THE KNICKS DON’T HAVE VERY MANY GOOD NBA STARTERS BUT WHATEVER, IT’S ALL BY DESIGN, BABY.
Each and every bench player did exactly what he was supposed to do. Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Justin Holiday came in to get some buckets, Randle came in to dish and get buckets and Kyle O’Quinn and Willy Hernangomez came in to get rebounds and buckets.
And oh, how the buckets were got. Kudos to you, the bench!
The Knicks travel to Wisconsin to face the Bucks on Wednesday. I can’t wait to watch Giannis!