The Knicks play the Warriors next—on Monday, to be precise. They are almost certainly going to lose that game, and Draymond Green and Nick Young and the like will probably preen and dance all over the MSG court. Whatever. The 2017-18 Knicks are already dead. Losses are wins.
But I do not like losing to the Boston Celtics. Ever. I take some solace in the fact that the young Knicks fought valiantly on Saturday night before falling, 121-112. But I just don’t like it. I take my inspiration from Clyde, everyone’s favorite mellow grandpa, whose voice drips with barely-contained loathing when he talks about those green bastards. Bless you, Clyde.
Anyway, it was a proper battle. The Knicks led by 1 after the first quarter and briefly regained the lead in the third before Kyrie Irving went absolutely ballistic. Kyrie came out (slightly) on top in the battle with New York’s own superstar point guard, Trey Burke.
Yep, Burke did it again: 26 points, 8 assists, 1 turnover. He started misfiring a bit in the fourth quarter, though he made up for it by dropping 6 dimes in the period. That’s a lot of dimes!
— The starting lineup was outplayed by the reserves yet again. This has been a theme for a while now. The Michael Beasley/Enes Kanter frontcourt isn’t going to stop anyone, so they really have to contribute on the offensive end. But Beasley has struggled on that end of late, and Saturday was no exception: 15 points on 4-15 shooting, team-worst minus-19. I’m not sure why Jeff Hornacek brought him back into the game in the fourth when it clearly wasn’t working, but that guy makes some boneheaded decisions. Whatever.
— Emmanuel Mudiay had an interesting game. He did a fantastic job of penetrating and getting to the free throw line (8 attempts), and his defense was much better than it has been in previous games. But he struggled completing passes when the Celtics upped their defensive pressure, and he committed some bad turnovers (6 assists, 4 turnovers).
— Once again, Frank Ntilikina didn’t play a true point guard. His assist number bear that out (1 assist). But he did grab 5 rebounds. Moreover, he displayed something we have yet to see from him: touch around the rim. Three of his four made field goals game at the rim: two layups and a put-back at the buzzer. Of course, he missed all of his three-pointers, because Frank simply can’t give us a complete shooting game at this point in his young career.
— Troy Williams’ 14 points is a bit misleading: two or three of his buckets came in garbage time. Still, the rangy forward from Indiana showed off considerable bounciness. He also demonstrated an ability to put the ball on the floor, blow by a closing defender at the three-point line, and get to the rim. Kid has probably already earned his second 10-day contract.
In the end, I highly suggest you heed the words of P&T’er Knickstaps Porzingknicks: This was a good loss. The kiddies competed. I just wish it had come against another team.