Yeah, so the Knicks played a basketball game last night. They lost. Nobody was surprised and very few even seemed to care. Even the Knicks beat guys took the night off of illogical criticisms, so kudos to them.
I didn’t actually remember I was recapping this game until midway through the second quarter. I’m not sure it matters. This game was so nondescript, and outside of Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox’s flashes of brilliance, there wasn’t much to discuss.
The Knicks battled hard through the first three quarters, after which the game was tied at 71. Unlike recent games where the Knicks got behind earl,y they gave themselves a chance heading into the final frame. Unfortunately, they saved their worst (or is it best in the context of this season?) for last, and spent the first half of the quarter fumbling around offensively with no rhythm or flow while Malik Monk, at least for one night, looked like the guy he was drafted to be and hit the Knicks with three treys to extend the lead to double digits.
The Knicks did some shit at the end of the fourth to close the gap. I don’t really remember what as I had stopped paying attention by that point. I think Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. hit some shots? Yeah, cool. Good talk, guys.
- Trey Burke is really just bad at orchestrating an offense. He pounds the rock at the top of the key without getting anything set up and there’s never any flow to things when he’s in. Say what you will about Frank Ntilikina’s strict adherence to running plays and Emmanuel Mudiay’s freelancing, but those guys at least attempt to get something going. Burke just jacks up bullshit like he’s still the man at Michigan and is a complete sieve on defense.
I've seen enough Trey Burke for one lifetime.— ShwinnyPooh (@shwinnypooh) January 29, 2019
- Yes, I just quote tweeted myself.
- Mario Hezonja is so up and down. I like the energy he’s been playing with lately. He’s competing on defense. He had a great hustle play to strip Kemba Walker after he put up a brick, and then dimed up Vonleh for a dunk with a laser. Offensively, his decision making is suspect — especially when he takes on a larger playmaking load — but the lack of confidence he has in his jump shot right now is his biggest obstacle. Every three looks hopeful and mechanical, rather than confident and fluid. Either way, it’s obvious his future here, or anywhere in the NBA, lies at the four.
Sneaky play by Mario Hezonja here to swipe Kemba Walker coming back on defense and then a smooth pass to Noah Vonleh for the dunk in transition. Feel like Hezonja has played better lately defensively for the Knicks, getting into passing lanes and being more meddlesome. pic.twitter.com/L9e80TIPeT— Mike Vorkunov (@MikeVorkunov) January 29, 2019
- Tim Hardaway Jr. played some feisty defense on Kemba for much of the game and had a very active and efficient first quarter. He really didn’t do much of anything offensively after the first five minutes of the game, though. Some of that is for sure on him, and some is related to the fact Burke doesn’t play like a point guard at all.
- Mitchell Robinson makes me happy. Yes, he needs to get stronger and learn how to box out on the defensive glass, but try to tell me with a straight face that you’d rather have Willy Hernangomez? Willy may well be a more effective player right now, but the ceilings couldn’t be any more different. It’s early, but Scott Perry and Steve Mills deserve a lot of credit for knocking that pick to the fucking moon. Also, thank you Melo, I guess?
Mitchell Robinson has been very productive in Charlotte to start the game pic.twitter.com/r1lXO50N5J— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) January 29, 2019
- Allonzo Trier was super annoying last night. He got to the line eight times in the first half and converted on seven. That knack of getting to the line is good. Unfortunately, he also missed some bunnies at the rim last night and got blocked on a few horrific jumpers in the second half. David Fizdale wasn’t pleased and pulled Zo from the game early in the fourth for his transgressions.
- Kevin Knox seemed to find his stroke in the middle two periods. He moon-balled some jumpers and had a sequence where he aggressively drove to the rim after stealing the ball in the Charlotte backcourt and corralled a couple of misses at the rim before getting fouled. In 35 minutes he’s going to eventually need to start providing more than three rebounds and one assist like he did last night, though. Still, it was nice to see him hit some shots after slumping of late. Hopefully that can propel him into a more productive stretch moving forward.
Kevin Knox— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) January 29, 2019
19 pts (7-16 FG) (3-4 3pt FG)
35 minutes pic.twitter.com/z9CsUV7GSR
- Kadeem Allen was pretty fun! The G-League call-up had eight points, five rebounds, and three assists in just 18 minutes of action. He also seems active and willing defensively, committing the best foul I’ve seen from the Knicks all season to prevent a layup and not concede an and-one. I’d be pretty okay with starting him over Burke!
- Have you noticed all the wide open missed threes Noah Vonleh’s been bricking over the last few games? Imagine Kristaps Porzingis taking those instead. That’s the end game. Try not to lose sight of it.
- I think the offense has looked better, even if the results haven’t quite been there. In Enes’ absence what Fizdale is trying to accomplish does seem to be clearer.
- The Knicks’ defense has also certainly been improved in Enes’ absence. Sure, they’re struggling to close out possessions with rebounds, but those possessions are actually resulting in contested shots far more frequently. The switching is more fluid and effective with the current lineups and rotations as well.
So after a stretch of 21 games where the Knicks held an opponent under 110 points once, they've now held 5 of their last 7 opponents under that number, including 4 playoff teams. NY also held Houston to 114.— Jonathan Macri (@JCMacriNBA) January 29, 2019
Small signs of progress with a young team. That's all you want to see.
Anyways, this game wasn’t very thrilling. There wasn’t much juice in the building, not that Charlotte’s crowd has much to get excited about anyways, and these Knicks aren’t good for more than thrill here or there. Quoth felinequickness: “Kadeem Allen, our lord and savior.” If Zion is the pipe dream at the end of that prayer, certainly.