All good things have to come to an end. This was never as true as during the fourth Knicks preseason game of the 2018-19 season.
The Knicks had been incredible in third quarters through the first three games. Tonight, they were outscored 36-25 in the third.
The Knicks had won their first three games. Tonight, they lost by 12, but it felt like a lot more.
Allonzo Trier was really good in the first three games, and... wait, he was really good in this one, too! Not to mention this is only preseason, so ultimately, who cares if the Knicks lost?!
Well, for whatever reason, I kind of do. I enjoyed the Knicks being undefeated! But all good things must come to an end, and the Knicks lost to the Wizards tonight, 110-98.
The Wizards started off fairly hot, jumping out to an eight-point advantage less than four minutes in. The Knicks clawed back and got within four with some solid shooting by Frank Ntilikina and Tim Hardaway Jr. paired with some timely steals, but the ’Bockers went down by 11 at the end of the first.
Things didn’t get too much better from there. I did make a positive note in the second quarter — that the Knicks have seemed able to keep games at least within striking distance this whole preseason by playing good enough defense when the offense isn’t clicking. And, predictably, I jinxed it, as they came out of halftime and laid the aforementioned 36-25 egg in the third quarter.
But then came Trier, our hero! The unlikely duo of Trier and Isaiah Hicks helped get the Knicks back in the game in the fourth, at one point narrowing the deficit to nine points. But it was also abundantly clear that, late in the fourth quarter of a game where most of the important players had been pulled on both sides, the Knicks cared a little more than the Wizards. But that’s cool! It’s nice that this team seems to almost always be trying their hardest.
Anywho, if this were a real game and John Wall and Bradley Beal were in the game for a normal minute load, it’s possible the Knicks would’ve lost by 30. Just this guy’s humble opinion.
But does that really matter? I don’t think so. It’s still just preseason. And as commenter derek harper’s [doctored] comment said, “Trier is our new [and improved] Beasley.” We have some young talent on this team! That’s truly what matters.
How about some notes:
— Frank Ntilikina got his first start of the preseason tonight! It went pretty well, minus the fact that he almost fouled out. 10 points, four rebounds, two assists on 4-7 shooting. I really worried at first that Frank was going to get discouraged, because Ian Mahinmi stuffed him on a couple of drives early. But Frank continued being aggressive on offense, and it paid off.
— THJ had a heck of a dunk off a steal about halfway through the first in this one. As I was watching it live, I really thought it would be that turning point for the Knicks that we’ve seen in the other games, where it just all of the sudden clicks and the Knicks go on a run. Not the case, but still a sick steal and dunk.
— Tim, in general, had a really good game on the offensive end (and I guess he was OK on defense, but defense just kind of sucked all around in this one). THJ had 18 points on 7-12 from the floor and 3-5 from deep. Here’s hoping his good preseason shooting will carry over into the regular season and we won’t have to deal with an early slump like last year.
— Trey Burke’s hair was on fleek tonight. Is that still something “the kids” are saying? I’m old and washed these days so I’m not sure.
Trey Burke’s hair was cool.
— Damyean Dotson got in in the first quarter today, which is hopefully a good sign that he’s playing his way to the front of David Fizdale’s mind. Emmanuel Mudiay didn’t get into the game until the fourth, which is hopefully a good sign that he’s playing his way to the back of Fizdale’s mind (although, to be fair, the Mudiay/Trier/Hicks/Mario Hezonja/Ron Baker lineup did go on that run in the fourth).
— For all of their flaws on defense throughout pretty much the whole game (in particular, rotations were pretty trash tonight), the Knicks played the passing lanes at the point of attack pretty well all night. Knox got a deflection off his noggin at one point, which was my favorite deflection of the night.
Knox using his head pic.twitter.com/lAWsQRiwrR— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) October 8, 2018
— I took particular care to note the exact time and score when Trier came in in the first quarter in case he went on a big run. His reputation precedes him.
— Trier didn’t necessarily go as “one-man wrecking crew” as he did against the Nets, but he did manage to score a tied-for-team-leading 18 points on 7-11 shooting. He also posted a team-high +10, probably due to his part in the fourth quarter comeback that wasn’t.
Most impressively with Trier, though, was that he seemed to be looking to get teammates involved a little more in this one. he and Hicks had some good connections in the fourth, including a nice little alley-oop.
— The offense just wasn’t running as many actions tonight as it had in the previous games... I don’t think I’m quite smart enough to figure out why that is. All I know is that most possessions ended with a guy having to create for himself late-ish in the shot clock, which has not been a real staple of the Fizdale era so far.
— That need for creation hurt Kevin Knox more than anyone tonight. Knox, especially at this fledgling time in his career, needs to be put in his spots to succeed. Tonight, he had to create, and his high dribble on drives cost him more than once in the lane. Nine points, 2-9 shooting, and five turnovers. But more importantly — 19 years old. The kid’ll be alright.
— At some point in the first quarter — Clyde: “I want to see Hezonja be more aggressive.” Hezonja: *immediately gets into the lane for a layup in traffic*. Funny how that works sometimes.
— Hezonja struggled with ball security. He only had three turnovers, but he was a little too loosey-goosey with the ball at times. I think that’ll probably be a theme this year.
— Noah Vonleh drew the start, and I’m not going to shit on him or anything, but he really didn’t look good. I feel bad for having felt optimistic about him starting before the game.
— Chris Bosh was at the Garden! (Wearing a Jimi Hendrix shirt and an Imagine Dragons hat?)
He had some really nice things to say about David Fizdale, such as:
“He’s not here to just be in New York City and look good.”
“He wants to win.”
“Great coach, and a great mentor.”
Typed out like that, I feel like I just wrote the movie trailer for David Fizdale’s video resume.
— Bosh’s son was also really funny. Rebecca Haarlow asked Lil’ Bosh if he wanted to be “a baller” when he grows up, to which he said, “What’s a baller?”
— I don’t know why but it seemed like everyone was leaning into their shots tonight, particularly 3-pointers. I noticed Burke, Hezonja, THJ and Trier all do it.
— I felt cheated in the fourth quarter, because Hezonja was charging for what would have surely been a highlight jam, but got stripped/fouled by (I think) Austin Rivers and didn’t get a foul call. Leave it to Austin Rivers.
— And finally, your play of the game:
May you always catch your gum when you accidentally spit it out, just like Isaiah Hicks.