Madison Square Garden was the venue for Sunday’s nationally-televised matinee meeting between the Knicks and Celtics.
For context, the Knicks are ranked 12th in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics, meanwhile, are ranked 1st. Despite the intense rivalry between the two teams, this was a key tank game for the Knicks. Well, it just so happened that this was also an important game for the Celtics to win as they look to stay ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers for tops in the east.
Once again, before the game even began, the Knicks came through with some good news for both teams.
Derrick Rose and Carmelo are out in today's ABC game— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) April 2, 2017
P&Ter Frodo BaZuccggins, actually, may have even started a new slogan! Even though we’re close to the end of the season, I personally endorse the addition of “L for Markelle” to our Knicks tank lexicon. Yes, we have a lexicon ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
With a starting lineup that included Sasha Vujacic, the Knicks oh my goodness did y’all see KP not close out on that Amir Johnson three-pointer?? He had an entire shot clock to take that shot! Ha! KP’s in on the tank!
And speaking of Sasha, yeah:
Nothing says "we give up" quite like Sasha Vujacic in the starting lineup.— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) April 2, 2017
I just love how true this is. It is fucking hysterical.
Also, yeah Derrick Rose’s season is over and I hope he can have a speedy recovery blah blah LOOK AT WHAT TIME WOJ SENT THIS TWEET.
New York's Derrick Rose has suffered a torn meniscus in his knee and will miss remainder of the season, league sources tell @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) April 2, 2017
Ok, you all know how this thing went, let’s do notes!
- Kristaps Porzingis: KP played a very important, Melo-less game today. Though he was unable to stretch his three-game 20+ point game streak to a fourth game, he played what most would call an aight game offensively. He scored 14 points on 6 for 10 from the field. He did not attempt a three pointer and also finished the game with one rebound, which has got to be a career-low number considering the minutes he played.
Several game thread commenters are calling for him to be benched, and while I agree, I’ll continue to say that him playing without Melo and Rose, and with Willy Hernangomez is a good thing. And maybe, just maybe, he’s in on the tank and chose to take it easy today...
Nah, that’d be nuts.
- Courtney Lee: Courtney was actually pretty fucking good today. And I mean good in the we-lost-by-fifteen sense, not in the holy shit who is this dude sense. He scored 16 on 5-10 from the field and 1-3 from deep. He also added five rebounds which was pretty solid. I guess that was cool.
- Ron Baker: P&T fave-rave Ron Baker did not follow up his 10 point, 6 assist performance in Miami with anything resembling a good outing on Saturday afternoon against Boston. He had a tanktastic 4 points, 3 boards and 3 assists. It was a masterpiece.
- Willy Hernangomez: Willy looked pretty active and spry this afternoon, considering the circumstances of this game. His 12 points and 3 rebounds were unspectacular, but it was nice to see him get the amount of run with KP that he did. He continues to show flashes of what he can be once he assumes a larger role on what will hopefully be a better team.
- Chasson Randle: He scored 10 points and had 4 rebounds but he missed that layup to cap that embarrassing possession early in the fourth quarter. For that, I can never forgive him/thank him enough.
In all seriousness, for us media-types, Chasson has given us a really interesting storyline to follow late in the year. He’s obviously talented, but the jury is still out on just how talented. We’re still gauging that, he shows flashes of brilliance with puzzlingly bad play. It’s quite difficult to read. Still better than Rose tho don't @ me.
- Isiah Thomas: Is he a Knick killer? Are we going to have to add him to the already enormous pile of Knick killers? Serious question here, discuss.
- The Knicks’ Bench: Boston’s bench saw three of its members score in double digits, with Kelly Olynyk and Terry Rozier each dropping 12, Marcus Smart scoring 14. They have an elite bench that may become elite-er once they draft Lonzo Ball or whomever it’ll be. It’s not fair. Right, I was supposed to be talking about our bench I just got momentarily distracted by the Nets being possibly the biggest jabronis ever, forgive me.
Well, our bench was OK! Kuzminskas scored 11 points and did almost absolutely nothing else which was hilarious, scored 11 points and came a rebound shy of a double-double and Chasson Randle did his thing, too. Mason or Marshall Plumlee, whichever one is on the Knicks, even chipped in with 5 points and 4 rebounds in 12 minutes. He’s bad but he occasionally does alright things. Today was one of those days.
- Al Horford is so damn annoying: can confirm.
We’re almost there, folks. The Knicks were never going to win this game, and that’s fine. Luckily, they’ll have one more shot at beating the Celtics when the two teams face off in the draft lottery in June. You may not have tuned in for today’s game, but I can tell you you’re going to want to tune in to that one!
The Knicks play Chicago on Tuesday night at 8 in the Garden. New York has had good luck against the Bulls this season, and will be looking to play spoiler as Chicago is in a three way tie with the Heat and Pacers for playoff positioning. It’s probably going to be in both team’s best interests for the Bulls to win that game, but as we’ve seen when the two teams have faced off this year, truly anything can happen.
Enjoy the rest of this pleasant Sunday afternoon, folks! Go enjoy the fresh air a little!