New York trotted out the same starting lineup that just played terribly against the Detroit Pistons, something that went against precedent with this team as the previous five-man unit of Ntilikina, Hardaway, Dotson, Vonleh, and Robinson was scrapped after one poor first quarter against the Orlando Magic. You would have thought that a new lineup would start tonight, especially because this game was the second of a road back-to-back.
Mario Hezonja started the game by getting caught in the air on a drive and threw a pass that went 30 rows deep into the stands. He then followed that up by making his next four shots: a nice fake screen and cut to the hoop for an easy dunk, two three-pointers, and a nice steal leading to an easy transition dunk.
Hezonja practicing alley tosses for Zion pic.twitter.com/MFjKq7n3DO— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) November 29, 2018
The rest of the half looked like this for Hezonja:
Before the game, prospective Posting & Toasting writer Clarence Gaines added some insight into why the whole “Ntilikina standing the corner” situation is occurring. It’s a great thread, so please check it out:
Lots of @nyknicks fans pushing the panic button on @FrankLikina donuts vs. @DetroitPistons. Hard to impact the game when you don't touch the ball on 20/24 possessions (83%) in 1st half. Initiated offense on 1/24 possessions (FN shot airball off contested spin jumper off dribble)— Clarence Gaines (@ClarenceGaines2) November 28, 2018
And what happened tonight? The Knicks again used Ntilikina as a floor spacer, sticking him in the corner without any sort of off-ball actions for him as Trey Burke and Allonzo Trier pounded the air out of the ball. Speaking of Trey Burke, he has not been good since his little offensive spurt. Entering this game, Burke was 6–31 from the field and had four assists in three games. Not great, Bob! In the first half, Burke was 0–4, adding to his shooting woes. He and Trier were a combined 2–10 from the field. Just awful.
The only truly memorable thing that happen in the first half was Kevin Knox getting an easy layup off a Spain pick-and-roll:
More Spain PnR, watch Burke back screen Embiid after vonleh (who Embiid is guarding) brings the ball screen. Makes help all screwy. This play continues to work exceptionally well for NYK https://t.co/kAuBkrZYT4— Zach DiLuzio (@zjdiluzio) November 29, 2018
In all, the Knicks first half had a lot left to be desired. They were down 20 points because Joel Embiid is amazing and JJ Reddick was lights out. Too bad the Knicks don’t have two tough wing defenders to throw at Reddick.
Once the clock hit zero to close the second quarter, I turned off the game. I was originally going to start Neon Genesis Evangelion on Netflix because I heard it was on the streaming platform. My wife then called me dumb and illiterate because if I actually clicked on the article instead of reading the headline, I would know that it’s not coming to Netflix until Spring 2019. I instead decided to play Red Dead Redemption 2 and cash the two gold bars I found with a treasure map. There was no point in watching the second half because this team game me no reason to continue watching them.
For more analysis on the game, wait for the recap. I feel for the poor sap that has to analysis this game in more works because I have one word to describe this first half: Poop.