Look at the box score of tonight’s game:
Now look a little lower:
Yup, it was that kind of night. As it was so nicely put by commenter Zombor, “FRANK NOW RUNS THE KNICKS. ALL HAIL FRANK AND HIS GLORIOUS NEW REGIME.”
The Knicks lost, 123-109, but I could hardly bring myself to care. Tonight, on the 81st game of 82 games, I think we got the best view of what a potentially topped-out Frank Ntilikina could look like, be it next season or beyond. And boy, it was a nice glimpse to be sure.
Frank scored a career-high 17 points on 8-16 shooting from the field (also both new career highs), and added six rebounds, five assists, a steal and a block for good measure. More importantly, he got those points from being aggressive. B-E AGGRESSIVE. Sorry. Don’t know where that came from.
Anyway, here’s some notes:
— So, yes, in case you couldn’t tell, Frank Ntilikina had himself a night. The kid came out on ABSOLUTE FIRE in the first quarter, hitting five of nine shots en route to 10 points and two assists in the opening frame.
How surprising is that?
Well, as you may or may not be aware, Frank only averages six shots per game this season, and he exceeded that by 50 percent in the first quarter tonight. That is incredible news, and if Frank can carry this same fire over into Wednesday’s matchup with the Cavs, he could really hit the offseason with a burst of confidence.
— This play gave me so much life:
Frank -- with the euro step! pic.twitter.com/S82HmVcHw6— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) April 9, 2018
— After that exceptional first quarter (which Frank played all 12 minutes of), Ntillmatic didn’t do quite as much in the second and third quarters before coming alive again in the fourth, hitting two of four shots and slamming home this beaut:
— Things that might not make the Frank highlight reel due to all his scoring, but that I loved:
- After he had established himself as a driving threat early with a few layups (including that pretty Eurostep above), Frank drove into the paint and hit Lance Thomas perfectly in the left corner for a 3-pointer, threading the pass through at least three defenders. It was a sight to behold.
- As Marceda and I were bemoaning in the P&T Slack after the game, Frank’s one screw-up tonight was missing a wide open three late in the game on a possession where I think every Knick touched the ball at least twice as they swung it up, down, and around the perimeter, eventually finding Ntilikina in the right corner. That’s alright, though.
- Frank played some of his trademark D, and while it’s not much of an an accomplishment, I got a huge amount of satisfaction watching him put the clamps on Jose Calderon for one possession.
— Damyean Dotson kept his double-digit scoring streak going, putting in 11 tonight off the bench in 19 minutes. Obviously he was overshadowed by Frank’s big night, but Dot seems to be finding his confidence as well of late. He came in basically looking to shoot early and often, and he hit 4-9 from the field and 2-7 from three on this night. Here’s hoping he keeps the double digit streak going into next season. He only needs like 870 more in a row to pass LeBron! (Assuming LeBron’s streak breaks soon, which... it won’t.)
— LeBron made headlines for his stupid shoes tonight:
And what did the Garden faithful do tonight? They cheered this man! IS THIS YOUR KING?!?!
Michael Beasley just had a come to Jesus moment business decision lolllll pic.twitter.com/3GUIVPgHhl— Luka Wobčić (@World_Wide_Wob) April 10, 2018
No, Kristaps Porzingis and Frank Ntilikina are your kings, damn it, and you will cease cheering for LeBron immediately. Dude does nothing but disrespect this team over and over and we’re all still out here drooling over the man like it’s summer 2010. The LeBron worship must end in the Garden!
— Speaking of, the top of LeBron’s head is just tragic these days. It’s like he has a fauxhawk, but with baldness. It’s gross. The man needs to just shave and get it over with.
— Michael Beasley had a really quiet 20 points tonight. I think I had my Frank goggles on a little too much. Maybe he did that damage in the second half? I had kind of a headache in the second half, so that’s a little fuzzy. Anyway, let’s notice that Beas kinda trolled/honored LeBron by wearing Bron’s own Fruity Pebbles sneakers during this game:
— Courtney Lee also had 17? How? I really didn’t see that either. I think I was zoning out when Frank wasn’t in the game.
I want Lee to drop like 45 on Wednesday, though. Leave a good final impression in the last Knicks game before the draft!
— Trey Burke had 12 points and eight assists on 5-11 shooting, which on the surface seems like some pretty good play. But something just wasn’t right most of the time when he was out there tonight, and that shows in his team-worst -21 +/- (tied with Lee). I still love Burke though. Very excited that he should be back next year.
— A bunch of other guys played, but nobody else really gave me the feels tonight. I guess Luke Kornet that one time, because he ran a little pick and pop and made a 3-pointer form a few feet back from the line, and it reminded me of Porzingis.
— Clyde wore a great suit tonight:
Clyde in his Game 81 best pic.twitter.com/pCSPyhUuGJ— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) April 9, 2018
He also made a comment that he would take LeBron over Jordan to start a team and briefly lit Twitter afire for a couple minutes.
And that’s about all I got tonight, to be frank. Frank? FRANK!