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Pacers 107, Knicks 101: Scenes from an adoption ceremony

Domantas Sabonis is now Enes Kanter’s legal father.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports

Great tank win for the Knickerbockers of New York tonight. The team played with intensity and kept the game close until the very last minute — well everyone beside Enes Kanter, that is.

But before we discuss Kanter, let’s check in with everyone else. Tim Hardaway Jr. had it going tonight. He had 33 points, shooting 10–19 from the field and 7–11 from behind the arc. That’s a 71.9 zone true shooting percentage! Hardaway getting to the line and draining threes is exactly what he needs to be doing, and it is nice to see him start the season this way.

The French Prince didn’t have the same scoring output has he had over the past two games. Ntilikina only scored four points on 2–8 shooting. The silver lining of his play tonight is that he was still aggressive at attacking the rim.

He also had six assists that should have been seven if Enes Kanter did not purposely miss a zero-foot, open layup just to get the offensive rebound and put pack. I won’t show that clip because I don’t want to be the cause of blood coming out of your eyes so here is Frank’s wrap-around dime to Noah Vonleh.

Damyean Dotson had another good game as he scored 13 points on 56.8 true shooting and quality defense. It will never cease to amaze me that Jeff Hornacek refused to play this guy despite needing wing depth.

Alonzo Trier had 14 points on 85.7 percent shooting! He, like all the Knicks not named Enes Kanter, Mario Hezonja, and Trey Burke, played quality defense as well. How this kid went undrafted is almost as bananas as Jeff Hornacek not playing Damyean Dotson when New York needed wing depth. Just look at this clutch layup in the games closing moments from Trier. You’ll also notice Frank setting a screen to help keep the defense off Trier a bit. That’s teamwork, baby! Oh, and Vonleh was also quiet impressive in this clip as well.

My beloved Kyle O’Quinn made his return to the Garden tonight!

I certainly would love to have O’Quinn as the five on this team since he plays defense, can pass the ball, helps with spacing a bit. You know, everything that Enes Kanter does not do.

Mitchell Robinson did this:

This kid can be really special if he puts it all together. But he first needs to set some better screens!

Speaking of screens, this is where we get to the disapproving and disappointing part of the post game. You know who is awful at both setting screens and defending any sort of screen action on offense? Enes Kanter. He was without question the worst player on the court and cost the Knicks a victory. If you want to say that Victor Oladipo scoring 19 of his 24 points in the second half and two clutch plays — the steal against Hardaway and the corner-three with two seconds left on the shot clock — were the main reasons, sure. I agree to an extent.

HOWEVER, we cannot and I will not simply overlook the fact that Domantas Sabonis scored 30 points on 100 PERCENT SHOOTING (NBA Stats corrected that turnover Frank had on him as a shot attempt). That isn’t a typo folks. Sabonis straight up spanked and embarrassed his newly adopted son, Enes Kanter. Stay tuned for a future “How They Drew It Up” as I will go into a lot more detail on Kanter’s atrocious and appalling defense. My go to insult of “it has a lot left to be desired” doesn’t capture the magnitude of how bad the defense has been.

Kanter had seven points on 3–11 shooting while grabbing six rebounds and causing four fouls. Him getting an offensive rebound and trying to go back up with it as two or three defenders swarm him instead of kicking it out to reset the offense is quite infuriating. And let’s not forget the “I’m gonna slip the screen to dive to the rim not to look for a pass, but to position myself for a rebound” picks he sets that just kill spacing and makes defending the ball handler much easier.

If Kanter managed to hold Sabonis to just 66.7 percent shooting (which is still awful), the Knicks win this game. Indiana attacked Kanter and Burke in the pick-and roll-consistently when they were on the court. Granted, the Knicks are not flush with talent so there isn’t much they can do in terms of fixing their second unit defense. But man, it is really tough to watch team carve New York up in the pick-and-roll.

Anywell, onto Friday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks! Hope to see you folks at the watch party. I’m making the journey to New York for this, so come spend the night with the guy who totally isn’t writing the Knox Files.