The New York Knicks lost Friday night to the Minnesota Timberwolves, 118-108. They shot 54.1% and still lost by 10 points. They shot 61% in the first half and only led by 2 points. They didn’t shoot a free throw in the first half, the first time the Knicks have been held without a free throw in a half since 2003. It was just one of those nights.
The big news in this game—what truly sets it apart from the avalanche of losses that have been heaped upon Knicks fans in recent weeks—was the return of Tim Hardaway Jr. And the kid did not disappoint...even if the game itself was thoroughly disappointing.
Timmy finished with 16 points on a healthy 6-13 shooting (4-8 from beyond the arc), 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. To put those 8 three-point attempts into perspective, the Knicks had 9 attempts as a team during regulation against Miami the other week. Tim may not be a point guard, per se, but he pushes the ball in transition and hunts for open looks early in the shot clock—no point guard on this roster has such an impact on the team’s pace.
Jeff Hornacek decided not to start Hardaway, who was on a minutes restriction, but Timmy played a decent chunk of minutes alongside the starters. He finished plus-11 in a game the Knicks lost by 10, which tells you a great deal about his impact on the team. Let’s get him back to 100% peak efficiency ASAP.
—Kristaps Porzingis played some truly great defense in the first half—perhaps the best I’ve seen him play on that end all season. He racked up 3 blocks in the first few minutes of action and baited Towns into an offensive foul. It was great stuff. In the second half, however, he was totally overwhelmed on both ends. And of course he shot 31.6% from the field—those numbers are becoming par for the course for him these days. Dude needs a rest, or surgery, or something.
—Remember when Doug McDermott was one of the feel-good stories of the early season? He played 5 total minutes and didn’t even get a shot off. I feel like this says less about McDermott than it does about the coaching staff. Get Dougie some shots, yo!
—Another very solid game from Jarrett Jack: 18 points and 8 rebounds. He’s clearly outplaying Frank Ntilikina at the moment. Of course, this means that Hornacek is probably going to drive him into the ground—Jack played 33 minutes last night, which is way too much for an older dude who barely played the last two seasons due to injuries. The point guard situation is a true “worst of both worlds” situation at the moment—the vet is getting all the minutes, and the Knicks are losing.
—Frank started off with a tremendous dish to Kyle O’Quinn in the paint, followed by a soaring layup off the dribble. He pretty much disappeared after that...which is indeed frustrating! He is a 19-year-old rookie, though. Maybe let him play through the growing pains a bit. I can’t stress this enough: THE KNICKS ARE ALREADY LOSING.
Like P&T’er NeedForShved, I’d really rather sleep through the rest of January. Here’s hoping the Knicks can find that spark again once Timmy completely reintegrates himself into the lineup.