The champs hit NYC for their lone trip of the season and for a few hours, the center-of-the-universe buzz the Mecca feigns nightly was back. For three-and-a-half quarters, the Knicks earned that buzz as much as the Warriors. Then the late buzz was Kevin Durant going supernova and the champs winning the final frame 47-16. Golden State 128, New York 100.
Maybe it was coincidence that David Fizdale chose this game to start Mitchell Robinson, Noah Vonleh, Damyean Dotson and Frank Ntilikina. And maybe it’s coincidence when fire follows smoke.
Fizdale on the Knicks starting lineup facing the Warriors. pic.twitter.com/aQKoA0Oyw7— Steve Popper (@StevePopper) October 26, 2018
Even cats who’ve put up 36 points and 19 assists in title-clinching efforts brought their A-game.
There was also the matter of that certain all-time great rumored to be interested in signing with the Knicks next summer being in the building. People seemed to notice.
Here’s how Madison Square Garden reacted to the Warriors during intros. Kevin Durant received cheers from the Knicks’ home crowd: pic.twitter.com/9UTWBdxFNY— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) October 26, 2018
The Knicks got off to a pretty hot start. Then the shots stopped dropping and the bodies started.
Dotson takes a scary fall but appears ok. KD reacts at the end pic.twitter.com/c86PSlcHtB— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) October 26, 2018
Ok, it looks a little better now for Tim Hardaway Jr who knocked knees with Durant pic.twitter.com/G488MxYunR— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) October 27, 2018
Fortunately, both Dotson and Tim Hardaway Jr. stayed in the game. Speaking of double-doses, Enes Kanter with the eerily similar buckets:
Kanter reminding KD he can play with him in NY next season pic.twitter.com/ZFFnG2uRh3— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) October 27, 2018
Unfortunately the Knicks turned it over a ton early on. Also unfortunately, they for some reason were compelled to talk shit to KD. Robinson did, and Kanter, too, because Kanter is a walking triple-double of points, rebounds, and shit-talking legends.
Durant reminding Kanter that the Knicks will need to renounce Kanter to make the cap space to sign him next year pic.twitter.com/bxnHWQOWVI— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) October 27, 2018
A late Knick flurry tied things up at the half. Most nights your lottery-bound youngest team in the league standing toe-to-toe with a dynasty at the break is the story. But the big news at intermission was the aggression and efficacy of New York’s fledgling Frenchman. Frank.
MY FRENCHEST SON YESSSSS pic.twitter.com/2KvjATfCYI— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) October 27, 2018
Frank with the spin move we saw him working on in the summer pic.twitter.com/PHt4B1XgV2— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) October 27, 2018
Durant can’t shake Frank pic.twitter.com/htT8Vizy7J— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) October 27, 2018
The second half came and the Knicks kept coming, too. The young ones were feeling it.
DOTSON with two threes and a steal pic.twitter.com/ZfyLwuNIc9— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) October 27, 2018
All the Knicks’ (starters) with the knack tonight, bigs included.
Beautiful ball movement leads to the Mitch Rob SLAM pic.twitter.com/0HBAT44JqX— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) October 27, 2018
Lest I be accused of ignoring the value of defense:
Nic active hands by Robinson on the perimeter pic.twitter.com/fHXg6rgfvA— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) October 27, 2018
The defense through three quarters really was remarkable. The Warriors missed a numbers of shots they normally hit, especially Klay Thompson, but still: the Knicks were active and collaborative defending the Golden State machine.
The lead was three entering the fourth and entrusted to Trey Burke, Kanter, Mario Hezonja, Allonzo Trier, and Lance Thomas. The Knicks refused to yield. Briefly.
BURKE IS COMING OUT OF HIS CAGE AND DOING JUST FINE pic.twitter.com/nOyxtCWWob— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) October 27, 2018
But Golden State refused to stop Golden Stating. Six and a half minutes into the fourth there’d been no sign of Ntilikina, nor Dotson, nor Vonleh, nor the lead they’d spent most of the night building. There was just Durant going nuclear and the echoes of dreams shattered.
Recap to come.