Oh, where to start when trying to encapsulate this game...
It was a stinker from the Knicks’ perspective, no sugar-coating it. At home, against a Bulls team missing their best player Nikola Mirotic, this should have been an easy W.
And yet, after shaking off a slow start to take the lead from the second quarter through the middle of the fourth (going up by as much as 11), the ’Bockers managed to shake off their good play as well, allowing the Bulls to come all the way back and put them against the ropes for the last seven minutes and both overtimes.
I think, ultimately, the story of this game is that the guys that did the most good also did the most bad. Kristaps Porzingis hit five of his first seven shots, then reverted to some of his recent bad tendencies and started throwing up bad shots (he later redeemed himself in a big way, however).
Jarrett Jack notched a triple-double (!!!) and made some crazy good layups and passes, and yet he also threw away what could have been the winning possession at the end of the second overtime.
And Michael Beasley played an absolutely brilliant regulation, followed by an extremely “meh” pair of overtimes.
As P&T commenter StraightOutofComptonandSelfEsteem said, “What a terribly silly game this has been.” Terribly silly, indeed. Let’s get to some notes:
— So, Kristaps Porzingis. As I mentioned in the postgame thread, KP had his (maybe) new love interest Jen Selter in attendance tonight:
Kristaps attempted 10 shots in the first quarter.— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) January 11, 2018
The biggest fan around is at the game tonight.
That would maybe explain the ferocity with which Porzingis threw this dunk on Robin Lopez’s dome to start the game:
But up until the second half, I would not have said that KP had a good game today. For most of the first half, he seemed content to basically just shoot every time the ball touched his hands. That included a particularly concerning sequence caught by Tommy Beer of Porzingis sulking that he didn’t get the ball, and then immediately throwing up a bad shot on the next offensive possession:
Bad sequence here for Porzingis.— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) January 11, 2018
Terrible body langauage when he doesn’t get the ball. And then forces another contested shot as soon as he touches it on the next trip: pic.twitter.com/46QOpHTH7L
However, the Unicorn redeemed himself late, doing a myriad of things to keep the Knicks alive. In the interest of space, I’ll just post him obliterating Lauri Markkanen’s attempt on the break here at the end of regulation:
BLOCKED BY PORZINGIS TO SAVE THE GAME pic.twitter.com/aTBVgpAmHd— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) January 11, 2018
But on top of that masterpiece, KP also set the tone in OT with a 3-pointer to start it off, then finished a ferocious slam to send the game to a second overtime, then hit another 3-ball to put the Knicks within one towards the end of the second OT.
My overall impression of this one: KP had a so-so first half in front of his crush, then got his shit together in the second half. He finished with 24 points on 11-24 shooting, with six boards and four blocks. Could’ve been better, but definitely could’ve been worse.
— Jarrett Jack had easily his best game as a Knick tonight. A 16-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist triple-double? Sheeeit. Did not see that coming.
But Jack was amazing tonight, particularly in the late stages of regulation and overtime. Jack had two clutch layups late in regulation, and then a patented Jarrett Jack mid-range J to tie it up:
It’s for this reason that I had no problem having Jack out there tonight instead of Frank Ntilikina late in the game. On this night in particular, Frank seemed more prone to his rookie tendencies of deferring to others more than looking for his own shot, and the Knicks probably wouldn’t have even made it to one overtime, let alone two, without Jack’s penetration and finishing ability late in this one. Oh, and his bea-yoo-ti-ful veteran savvy:
Jack inbounds the ball off Dunn’s back, then hits the floater pic.twitter.com/nn5zyj2kBK— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) January 11, 2018
Although, as I said before, with the good came the bad. Jack managed a steal when the game was tied in the second OT, got on a fast break, and promptly threw the ball away while trying to hit Beasley on the move. Whatever. Jack probably played about twice the minutes you’d want a 30-something career backup point guard to play, so I’m gonna try to just keep it positive.
— Oh, and Michael Beasley. He was no doubt the most fun player out there tonight. SuperCool had 26 points on 10-22 shooting and 12 boards. I think tonight was no doubt the closest he came to being “Melo on the left block.”
Beas made a ton of tough midrange jumpers that had no business going in, and he used fakes brilliantly at times to get into the lane for layups. But what impressed me most, and most reminded me of prime Melo in New York, was his ability to grab his own offensive boards and put back his own misses.
Again, though, all good things came to an end in this game, and Beas seriously puttered out once regulation was over. No points in either overtime, and he seemed pretty gassed.
— Frank Ntilikina was quiet tonight. No points, three assists, four fouls. Seemed like he was kind of taken out of it early when the refs were calling fouls pretty tight on him, but maybe that was just me. Also, as I said, the Knicks needed Jack’s aggressiveness tonight, and Frank was not aggressive at all on offense.
He did find Doug McDermott for two straight threes on consecutive possessions in the third, though, and that was cool.
— Speaking of Dougie, he played an OK game. Other than those two threes, he also had a Kanter-esque hook shot go down in the first quarter, which was cool. He basically did what you’d expect, hustling all over and hitting a few shots, but leaving you hard-pressed to recall too many specific things that he did without looking at your notes.
— As far as Kanter, he was alright, and probably deserved more run late in the game than he got. I want to say he got subbed out sometime around the 5:00 mark in the fourth quarter and didn’t see the floor after that. But dude had 15 points and seven rebounds, and he was cooking both Robin Lopez and Lauri Markkanen on offense while being decent enough on D. Feel kinda bad for the guy that he’s being left out of the party late in games recently.
— Markkanen was fucking insane. Eight 3-pointers dropped on the Knicks’ collective dome on his way to a game-high 33 points. On top of that, Fred Hoiberg had every Knicks fan wringing his or her hands as he drew up phenomenal plays for Markkanen that we’d all love to see run for Kristaps instead of the standard “catch the ball in the post, turn around, shoot” variety that’s been happening lately.
— Clyde has started every game against the Bulls this year saying “Marcuson” instead of “Markkanen,” but tonight, he seemed to correct himself sometime in the second quarter or so. Mike Breen must have gotten in his ear during commercial.
— I thought I also heard Clyde call Christiano Felicio, “Fabricio” at one point, but I may have just misheard. Clyde pronouncing names is so fascinating to me.
— Last Clyde/Breen note — early on in the game, this exchange went down:
BREEN: By the way, Nikola Mirotic isn’t playing tonight...
CLYDE: Yaaaaaaaaaaaay (very drawn out)
Dunno why, but that gave me a solid chuckle.
— Kanter, as part of his continued and amazing community service in the Big Apple lately, visited P.S. 118. I don’t know if he realized that he was in a New York landmark. He’s 25 though, sooo... maybe.
“Fabled halls of education
Hail to orange and green
Cherished rules and regulations
— I wrote in my notes that Courtney Lee and Lance Thomas both started, and yet hadn’t touched the ball for basically the entire first quarter. Then they both got touches on back-to-back possessions. Here were my notes, verbatim:
“Lee gets a look and cans it, first shot.”
“Lance gets a look and clangs it.”
Lee wound up actually having a pretty good night, shooting 6-11 for 16 points. He also had what I believe to be the Knicks’ only transition bucket all night. Lance never took another shot.
— I think Robin Lopez looks like more of a caveman since he left the Knicks. It’s probably the beard.
— The Knicks had a lot of opportunities to put the game away with a run in the third or fourth quarters, but just couldn’t find it. They had 18 turnovers tonight, and I swear every single one of them turned into a run-killing 3-ball by the Bulls.
I didn’t think I’d have a lot to say about this one, and yet, here we are, 1,500 words deep. I’m gonna shush myself now so we can all stew on this one. At the red-hot Timberwolves on Friday and 10 of the next 12 games on the road! WOOOO!