Five years and one day ago, the Knicks played an Easter Sunday matinee game against the Bulls at the Garden. You all remember that game; it may end up being the most memorable moment of Melo’s career as a Knick, and it may be the happiest a Garden crowd has been for a non-Rangers or dog show event in a very long time.
That win, of course, was to help the Knicks earn the right to get slaughtered in the first round of the playoffs by Miami, but still, it was exciting. Breen’s call of that overtime three-pointer is my morning alarm. Not even kidding.
I wish I could come on here and say how much things have changed, but they kind of haven’t. 2012-13 was fun, I guess. Should have been even better, but that’s in the past now.
OK, now let’s talk future. Perfect segue:
No Carmelo Anthony or Kristaps Porzingis today against Toronto.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) April 9, 2017
Starting for the Knicks today: Ron Baker, Courtney Lee, Justin Holiday, Maurice Ndour, Willy Hernangomez— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) April 9, 2017
To their credit, the Knicks put up a valiant fight. Willy Hernangomez hit a three-pointer, and I cannot even begin to explain how important that is. More on that later.
Good showing from the Knicks that’ll stay a while, good showing from the Knicks who are gone after Wednesday’s game against Philadelphia. They stayed in the game until Toronto woke up and outscored New York like a million to zero in the fourth quarter to capture their 50th win of the season, and the second season sweep of the Knicks in their history.
- Hernangomez: P&Ter Willy Hernangorgeous Stole My Heart wrote about how he’d like to see Willy put up “2000 3’s a day this summer.” Couldn’t agree more. His game is already pretty remarkable for a rookie that no one thought much of, but there’s still some room for expansion and refinement. His post game will improve, but his future usage will largely be determined by his ability to expand his shooting range. He’s attempted 14 3’s this season, and has made just three...but that’s not bad. He has shown the ability to shoot from deep, and that’s a great sign.
Today, he had 24 points, 11 boards, 5 assists and 3 steals. He made a three-pointer, and he also made a long two-pointer which was annoying but I was still happy to see it go in. He also easily outplayed Jonas Valanciunas, but that’s not saying much because I do not like Jonas Valanciunas.
This offseason will be important for Willy—his development, alongside KP’s, will be exciting to watch.
- Courtney Lee: I was mildly surprised to see Lee only end up with 14 points. He was making a bunch of those floaters he loves so much earlier on in the game, and looked pretty efficient with his jump shots, as well. Oh well, 14 is still not a bad game. His one rebound and three assists are nothing to write home about, though.
- Ron Baker:
I love this man so much. 11 points, 8 assists, 8 boards. Countless memories.
- Justin Holiday: He got a start today and it probably could have gone better. 10 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal. He’s definitely more of a bench player, and that’s fine. I hope the Knicks hang on to him and develop him into a really, really solid 6th man.
Notably, Justin Holiday played more minutes than any other Knick today. Considering this was just his third start of the year, that fact seems completely odd. I guess it makes sense; it was either him or more minutes for Vujacic. Wait, does that mean Hornacek was trying to win this game? I think I may be reading too deeply into this.
- Mindaugas Kuzminskas: He scored 12 points and did just about nothing else. Go peep his stat line, it is alarmingly barren.
The Garden crowd will not be sent home as happy as they were on that Sunday afternoon 5 years ago. There were some good things today, though. I guess the silver lining is that, unlike in 2012, the Knicks have their draft picks and they won’t be wasting their time in a playoff series they know they’ll lose. That’s gotta be worth mentioning, right?
The Knicks will have a few days of rest before they return to action for their season finale, Wednesday night against the Sixers. The Knicks look likely to finish the season 6th in the lottery standings. A few things would have to happen for them to move up the rankings. But as we know, the tank is strong.