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Mavericks 114, Knicks 90: “They’re bored”

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Assume the position.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at New York Knicks Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks lost 114-90 to the Dallas Mavericks tonight. The same Mavericks who have a losing record, will miss the playoffs for the third year in a row and haven’t won a playoff series since winning it all in 2011. The Knicks have won a playoff series more recently than the Mavs. Just to give you an idea of who it was that bossed New York all over its home floor.

The Knicks have now lost 11 in a row and 12 in a row at home, which ties a franchise record. They’ve dropped 24 of 26. You know what that looks like?

LLLLLWLLLLLLLLWLLLLLLLLLLL.

It’s boring watching the same thing night after night. Kevin Knox scores, but inefficiently. Ditto Trey Burke. Tim Hardaway Jr. surprises us with his potency or his impotence, with apparently no middle ground. Mario Hezonja is lightning trapped inside a brick house. Mitchell Robinson knows his limited role and sticks to it in limited minutes. Allonzo Trier and Damyean Dotson always do something but never enough of anything. Enes Kanter somehow manages to unite every warring faction of Knick fans and beat writers in shared disdain for him. Noah Vonleh can shoot but won’t. Lance Thomas can’t play, but starts.

The Mavs looked bored, too, at least as competitors. Doesn’t mean this night didn’t mean something to them. Gospod Dončić was making his Garden debut and was mos def aware of it. Luka’s kicks.

Luka kicks.

Luka sticks.

You know what else is getting boring? Watching opponents breeze into town with an obvious fixation on shooting threes. The Mavs had seven in the first seven minutes. Take this for data: I don’t ever want the Knicks to become performance art for some Pointdexter’s spreadsheet. I cherish the rich ecological niche of the midrange. Then again, Dallas hit 15 of 38 from deep, New York just six of 26. That’s a +27 for you non-calc types.

One thing that wasn’t boring was the Garden send-off to Dirk Werner Nowtizki, the pride of Wurzburg. What a burg. I think especially when Western conference legends are on their last rodeo, it’s cool seeing them getting the nod from NYC.

Decidedly not boring: Dončić Dončićing. You know how you know this steal’s the real deal? This.

Another way you know? The league knows. You know how you know the league knows? Dončić hit a tough lay-up in the second that ended with him on his back on the floor. Maybe he got fouled. Maybe not. But while the Roundish Mound of Earthbound’s keyster was still ground-bound he was woofing at the ref. And then he got up and kept barking. And the ref let him. You know how Trier obviously gets rooked once a night? Luka’s tested outta that class.

Monday in Charlotte everything went to pot once Kadeem Allen went to the bench to start the fourth. Already a worthy tank commander, Allen picked up three quick fouls early on and the Mavericks slowly began gaining separation. Wesley Matthews hit five threes in the first half, including one right at the buzzer to bump the lead to eight.

The Knicks eventually exited the locker room after intermission and returned to the court. Their defense did not. Note the uncontested looks at the rim.

Like the third quarter Sunday vs. the Heat, the third was where New York lost the plot. If Sartre were alive and in attendance, he’d have leaned into Jon Stewart sitting courtside and muttered L’enfer, est la mise en abyme. In one sequence Harrison Barnes scored while being fouled. He missed the free throw, but Dorian Finney-Smith rebounded and Dennis Smith Jr. ended up with another bucket and-one. I imagined a quarter where one team just scores and-ones, misses the free throws, gets the rebound and this repeats ad nauseam.

Regarding nausea: on February 23, 2010, Nate Robinson made his first appearance at MSG as an opponent. There was actually an argument in some quarters whether Nate The Grate deserved a tribute video. Today, sentient beings gifted with life and free will burn time and energy chanting for Kanter to play. He checked in a little more than halfway through the third and, hammier than Jose Calderon’s side gig, made a point to kiss the center court logo. To his credit, it was the deepest his knees have bent all year. Maybe his defense is set to take off.

The fourth quarter was this for 12 minutes.

I’m serious.

Late in the ultraviolence the crowd begged for a Dirk encore and got one. Two rainbows for the road, one from downtown.

If the pot of gold at the end of these nights is the #1 pick, it’s all worth it. If the 86% odds that the Knicks don’t win the lottery hold true, then...

Fuck.

Notes:

  • Mitchell Robinson is already the best left-handed shot blocker I’ve ever seen on the Knicks. He may also already be the greatest jump-shot shot blocker, too.

Every night some sad chud tries his luck on a pull-up or fadeaway. Nah-uh.

  • More than once, Hardaway looked to take the Dončić match-up waaaay too personally. Rising Fahrenheit is not a good look on Tim. Tonight he def had the Ljubljana flu. The only prescription is rest and humility. Not chucking your way into 2 of 11 shooting and a -26.
  • Trier was one of the only Knicks to accord himself well tonight. 11 points, 4 rebounds, 5-of-5 from the line.

Game does recognize game.

  • Every pleasure has its price. So while the crowd did seek and receive the Dirk cameo late, they decidedly did not beg for a DSJ encore and got that too. The man already had a career-high in assists and was clearly triple-double hunting. He got it. I had a friend growing up who could be a real dick as a competitor. Three of us would play baseball every night, all summer long, until somebody’s parents yelled for them to come home. He was the worst of the three of us, but somewhere he’d learned the official score of a baseball forfeit was 9-0. So anytime me or the third kid had to go home first, Johnny Rulebook would spend the whole next day boasting about having beaten us 9-0. DSJ has that vibe. Like an itch that never got scratched.
  • Dončić is a potential franchise player who shoots like the dickens but is no paragon of athleticism. Zion Williamson is a potential franchise player whose jumper is a question mark but whose athleticism makes Giannis Antetokounmpo look like Dončić. Neither will ever be a Knick. Let’s get masochistic.

Poll

Which player would excite you more as a Knick?

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    Luka Dončić
    (298 votes)
  • 36%
    Zion Williamson
    (168 votes)
466 votes total Vote Now
  • I feel like every game late in the first half some Knick broadcaster says, with surprise and pride, “The Knicks with only [a small # of] turnovers tonight.” They’re 10-40! Have some perspective, yo. The Mets haven’t given up a run in months. It’s true. But it doesn’t mean anything.
  • You ever notice all the Knick assistant coaches look like vampires? Basic cable vampires. SyFy original movie vampires. Kaleb “The Carpathian” Canales also gives off strong Crazy 88 vibes, too.
  • David Fizdale called time less than three minutes into both halves. I can think of no truer marker of what a slog of a season this one has become that one of its standout features is when the coach calls timeouts that are purely ceremonial.
  • Lance Thomas has dunked like three games in a row. By Lance standards, a truly DiMaggio-esque feat.
  • Wesley Matthews got a little Bushido Brown vibe to him.
  • Dwight Powell looks like if Klay Thompson were clean-shaven and ate human growth hormone five times a day.
  • Whenever the officials gather for a video review, like after a Maxi Kleber foul on Kadeem Allen was ultimately ruled a flagrant-1, this semi-circle of very serious men in suits forms a protective barrier around them. What is that?
  • Really dug the Mav jerseys tonight. Really dug.
  • Clyde went into his “Every time these Knicks get down, they show grit and make a comeback” schtick after a Hezonja putback cut the gap to......21. I don’t know if I’d enjoy reaching the point of job security Clyde has where you don’t give a shit what you say anymore and whether anyone notices and don’t give a shit even if they do. But I’d be interested to give it a shot.
  • I spied with my little eye ex-Mav and OAKAAKUYOAK Rolando Blackman on the baseline front row. Still working to forgive Pat Riley for not playing Ro in game 7 in Houston.
  • Sometimes — kinda lots of times, and more and more, for sure — Rebecca Haarlow’s lip drops like it’s gonna fall off her face. It looks like Peter Griffin after he ate too many burgers and had a stroke.
  • The sideline advertisement board that runs the length of the floor had an ad in the second quarter for a site called TackleKidsCancer.org. But because of how the camera framed the halfcourt, it often looked like it said “Tackle Kids.” Credit to the fiancee for catching that. That shit’s funny when you’re looking for reasons to go on.

Quoth LatvianPrankster: “They’re bored and they’re trolls and probably drunk.” Speaking of bored, drunk trolls, the Knicks host the Celtics Friday. If you were rubbed the wrong way by Miami and Dallas fans taking over MSG this past few days, just wait till our genteel brothers and sisters from Beantown come on down.