Sunday’s game between the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers transpired, that much is certain. The ball was tipped at the start. some things happened for 48 minutes, and the Pacers walked away with their seventh consecutive win, 110-99.
As for the Knicks, Sunday’s game seemed like a bit of a step forward...at least on paper. Our boys in orange and blue have been getting roasted in the first half recently, forcing them into furious comebacks with fail more often than not (Friday’s win in Charlotte being the exception). But the Knicks played Indy close throughout, until a late-game stretch of inspired Pacers defense overwhelmed the ‘Bockers.
Having watched the game, however, I’m not entirely sure how to describe this Knicks performance. It was a weird, disjointed game from the outset, right down to the 5 PM start time (What time is that in Indiana? I’m not looking it up!). The refs certainly didn’t help, calling a ticky-tack game on both ends. That probably helped the Knicks stay in it, as the superior Pacers never really found time to get into a rhythm until the fourth quarter. Whatever. I’ve come to enjoy the pace of recent Knicks games, with the pathetic starts and explosives comebacks. They sure beat the plodding pace of this contest, even if the Knicks stayed in the game through. Indiana never seemed threatened. They’re really freakin’ good, y’all. It’s annoying.
— Fresh off his career high in Charlotte, Emmanuel Mudiay was probably the Knicks’ best player on Sunday, scoring 18 points and dishing 6 assists. He did an excellent job of getting to the free-throw line, earning 10 trips to the stripe. He did a good job of utilizing his size and strength against smaller players like Darren Collison.
— Enes Kanter is a polarizing player, and his Sunday stat line offers a little bit for everyone: supporters will point to his 20 points and 15 rebounds while the HATERZ will call your attention to his 0 assists and 5 turnovers, particularly the one late in the fourth where he allowed himself to be double-teamed and stripped without even thinking of passing the ball. Personally I felt that Kanter played well in the first half, and was straight booty in the second. The Pacers killed the Knicks with second-chance points, 21-10, which is supposed to be his thing. Also, he tends to get even lazier when the Knicks go into their zone defense.
— Ah yes...the zone. It helped fuel the Knicks’ comeback against Charlotte, and David Fizdale used it a lot against Indiana. It wasn’t a particularly active zone either — more of wobbly brick of Jell-O. I’m not as anti-zone as most NBA observers — I understand the need to play it for a possession or two on occasion — but maybe let’s not use it every game, Fiz.
— Tim Hardaway Jr. was butt. ‘Nuff said.
— This was the worst Kevin Knox performance in a while, at least from a statistical perspective. The rook a paltry 15 points on 6-15 shooting to go along with 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 turnovers and 2 steals. It shows how far Knox has come in a short span that this bad performance would have ranked among his best games two weeks ago. The kid also showed some moxie with a left-handed layup and some thunder with a dunk along the baseline. Knox is good.
— TREY BURKE IS BACK! HURRAH! Did we get a whole heap of bricks? Oh hell yeah: 1-7 shooting in 12 minutes. Did Frank Ntilikina’s shot attempts go way down? You know it: 1-4 shooting in 18 minutes. Between Mudiay’s recent reemergence and the return of Burke the Bricklayer, I suspect we won’t see any more 16 or 18-point games for Frank for a while.
So the Pacers are good. Screw them. As P&T’er arckillious noted, the Knicks have bigger fish to fry: a tank-tastic Monday matchup with the woeful (though playing better of late) Phoenix Suns! It should be a slobberknocker!