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Raptors 113, Knicks 88: ‘It’s Luke Kornet’s team now’

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Are the Knicks rebuilding? Somebody please tell Jeff Hornacek.

NBA: New York Knicks at Toronto Raptors Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks traveled north of the border Thursday night to take on the Toronto Raptors, and the results were pretty much what you’d expect. The Raptor’s All-Stars, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, messed around to a startling degree against an opponent they knew couldn’t make them pay. It wasn’t until Toronto’s bench unit really got rolling in the second half did the game turn into a true laugher. The Raptors’ reserves were splashing threes left and right over the Knicks, and the lead quickly ballooned to 30.

It is what it is, folks. The Knicks never had a chance against the team with the NBA’s best home record, especially without Kristaps Porzingis and Enes Kanter. Perhaps once Enes comes back from his mouth surgery we shall see a slightly more intimidating Knickerbocker squad. Until then, we’ll always have Luke Kornet.

Notes:

— The legend begins. Cool Hand Luke checked in late in the first quarter for his NBA debut, and immediately showed he belonged. The lanky 7-footer from Vanderbilt scored 11 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked 4 shots. Kornet did what Kornet do, namely hitting the three-ball. He shot 3-7 from downtown, making him the first player in NBA history to sink 3 triples and block 4 shots in his NBA debut. He was also the first Knick to record a double-double in his debut since John Wallace.

Did Kornet earn himself so legit playing time once Kanter comes back? On a normal NBA team, I’d say yes. But Jeff Hornacek is still doing his thing, as we shall see. No matter what, P&T’er JetsFan718 knows the truth: It’s Luke’s team now.

— Minutes distribution for these new, rebuilding Knicks.

http://www.nba.com/games/20180208/NYKTOR#/boxscore

This is Jeff Hornacek’s Mona Lisa, his ninth symphony. Plenty of minutes for THE STARTERS, even though two of them traditionally aren’t starters, and a third—Tim Hardaway Jr.—was struggling mightily. You can’t break up the starters, duh! Their VETERAN PRESENCE is the only thing between us an anarchy...ANARCHY, I SAY. Jarrett Jack was given more minutes than Frank Ntilikina, of course, because this team is still trying to WIN, dammit! And poor Damyean Dotson, who sparked the Knicks late in the Milwaukee game a few days ago, was relegated to garbage time because...um, I’m not 100% sure why. P&T’er The Ghost of Kristaps Past put it best when he sarcastically exclaimed “So much youth!”

— Tim Hardaway’s shooting slump continued, as he shot a woeful 4-14. He pulled down 5 rebounds, so that’s something. I dunno, y’all. Dude’s streaky. He’s gonna go ice cold from time to time. He’s starting to let it affect his overall performance, which sucks. He could probably use some downtime, since the season’s basically over anyway. But Hornacek is going in the opposite direction, giving him more time to shoot his way out of the slump. It’s dumb. The whole damn system is dumb.

— Congrats as well to Isaiah Hicks, who also made his NBA debut Thursday. I don’t think he’s a legit NBA player, but he’ll probably get more playing time than Kornet, if only because of the Knicks’ glaring lack of power forward’s behind Beasley.

Michael Beasley (21 points on 7-13) was perfectly fine in his first game as the Knicks’ primary scoring option. He started off slowing, trying to do too much, but he played more under control as the game went on. Encouraging!

The Knicks don’t play again until Sunday, when we will presumably see Emmanuel Mudiay. Will Hornacek play him? Who the hell knows.