Alright let’s get to this recap, eh? TIME OUT! I’ve seen enough! That’s pretty much how last night’s game went. Head coach Mike Miller had to go into his bag early and often to slap down quick tempered time outs yet again tonight. Somehow with the Wizards missing eight rotation players, seven of whom constituted their top eight scorers, they were simply allowed to throw darts in the air whenever they felt like it. No one was there to suffocate Troy Brown Jr. or cut off the baseline for Ish Smith. The listless janitors in Knicks uniforms swept one spot of the floor all night until they fell through it.
Top scorer Bradley Beal had dead legs and took 38 shots to get his meager 30 points. G-League signee Gary Payton II (playing his first game of the year for Washington) and Latvian bench goose Anžejs Pasečņiks brutalized the Knicks bigs on both ends. Quite literally Pasečņiks made Bobby Portis look positively Kanterian on the defensive end. While the 6’3” Gary Payton repeatedly slapped his mittens through the ball whenever Julius Randle came to his center station in Washington’s 1-3-1 zone.
The Wizards shot 17-30 from the free throw line, almost like they were trying to mock the Knicks. In the second half, they went up by as much as 17 and— stop me if you’ve heard this one before— The Knicks cut it to three in the closing moments before...
Yea I’m gonna need a time out.
- The Knicks desperately missed Marcus Morris tonight. He obviously isn’t the number one option on a championship team, but the complete lack of emotional leadership on the floor was devastating. With no one to bang Justin Anderson on his face, this game effectively became a matter of what can Julius do for us? Turns out, he can score on Admiral Schofield and Ian Mahinmi a little bit.
- As I predicted in the preview, Miller tried to run Ntilikina as the third point guard in the rotation. That bullshit didn’t even last one half. Dennis Smith Jr. got in, played six minutes and was a -13. Miller thankfully saw almost immediately what would have taken David Fizdale several months. He put Frank in for the final two minutes of the half and the Sultan of Swipe bottled up Brad Beal instantaneously, leading to an Allonzo Trier dunk just before the break. Smith Jr. did not enter the game in the second half.
- My good friend Shwin has mentioned, if Dennis can’t menace, get his ass to Westchester and let him work some stuff out. It is their obligation to help this kid find a groove.
- Young maestro Mitch was in foul trouble again tonight. He still managed to get six rejections and thirteen rebounds. Would it help to put Ntilikina’s torrential downpour of defense in front of him so that he isn’t lurching and flailing as often? Would it allow him to invite worried drivers into the paint for easier rejections? Should Mitchell be averaging twelve blocks a game?
- Why can’t these coaches just play Frank Ntilikina and Mitchell Robinson together? Their individual defensive prowesses are easily the most powerful set of tools the squad has. Yet can they please be allowed to swallow an entire side of the floor whole, and let the other three guys set little fires to give Frank and Mitch time to recover? At this point I believe that the front office and coaching staffs are just too close to the situation and can’t see the rookie deal forrest through the high paid acquisition trees.
- Here’s some fecal matter to swish around your mouth: coming into tonight’s game, Frank Ntilikina and Mitchell Robinson shared the floor for 160 minutes, while Elfrid Payton and Robinson have shared the floor for 188 minutes. Maybe you haven’t been keeping track but Elfrid missed 17 out of the 31 games New York has played. How is it possible that this pairing is practically unexplored?
- What are they seeing from Julius Randle and Bobby Portis on defense? Cus I see reasons to immediately bench them until further notice and that’s about it. Clyde mentioned this was Randle’s best defensive game of the season. Indeed he had one fantastic defensive possession on Beal, running him off the line, turning him before he could get a step in the paint, and ultimately blocking his pull up from around the free throw line. These guys are still powerless on defense. No one is afraid of them.
- The offense sucks. There is no assist to turnover ratio that Elfrid Payton can realistically have that will combat this fact.
- Julius is open for a reason, folks. At one point he banked in a three that looked almost identical to a pass Admiral Schofield whipped into the mezzanine. Let’s see if I can find it... ah yes:
- Hey I just want to reiterate how serious I am. From the bayou to the Bastille. Make it happen, you jugheads.
- RJ Barrett is not yet equipped to contain a master manipulator like Beal and it was obvious early on. Beal kinda, sorta wore down as the game progressed but he put RJ in the torture chamber. To his credit RJ never quit and took the challenge head on. Beal is just pretty damn good and Barrett is just pretty damn young.
- Clyde with more unabashed Ish Smith praise tonight that kicked up to a new level when he admitted to Ish being one of his favorite players. He also mentioned that Ish is “always shrewd and clever, spinning and winning” after taking Elfrid Payton unabated to the rim. At one point Ish canned a step back 14-footer over Julius Randle and Clyde said, “if he can do that consistently he’ll be an All Star, folks”.
- If you can play against the Knicks consistently you’ll play like an All Star, folks.
- Speaking of Walt, a new (to me) Clyde-ism with Ian Mahinmi “flopping and dropping” when he tried to scoot in front of Randle on a drive.
- Troy Brown was happily bouncing around and wetting the Knicks all up. Career night for the Oregon alum. This kid is a better version of whatever that yoda ass wipe thinks Allonzo Trier is. Multiple times it seemed like Washington would relinquish control only for Brown to take the reins for a possession and orchestrate exactly what should happen and then everything would snap into place for the Knicks to seem demoralized again.
- One play for Brown that stood in particular was after bringing the ball across half court and not liking the spacing, he sent Garrison Mathews to the opposite corner then ran Gary Payton II over to give him a pin down. This led fluidly into a Ian Mahinmi ball screen, then Mahinmi tag teamed with Payton and Mathews circled around to the top of the key and drilled a triple. Excellent game for al pastor Troy with 26 points, 9 boards and 7 assists.
- Speaking of triple double watch and taking it another step toward five by five watch, Gary Payton, son of Gary Payton, throttled these fucking guys with 10 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 fucking steals.
- To end on a positive for the Knicks, Bobby Portis made his first right handed hook shot of the season despite shooting four of them every game all season. I think he had Ish Smith guarding him.
As a gift to yourself, don’t let the Knicks get you down. Peace be with you on this commercial disgrace of a theoretically holy time. Probably won’t be speaking to you until Thursday, so I’ll leave you with my favorite collection of Christmas songs. It’s a fantastic post punky, no wave-ish album on ZE Records, and I do mean fantastic! The Waitresses’ “Christmas Wrapping” busts much more ass than should be allowed, taking a view on the holidays that doesn’t always get registered in pop culture and still giving you a little gift at the end of it. Davitt Sigerson does a fun and sappy job celebrating a sense of Americana that should unite us with “It’s a Big Country”. Nothing to do with Bryant Reeves. One of my all time favorite bands, Suicide, whups some tail too. If you ever felt left out in the cold when everyone is inside warming their stupid toes by the fire, that one is for you. I love Holiday songs steeped in the disaffected vibes of youth. The uncontrollable urges of setting yourself free pop forward with “Christmas on Riverside Drive”. Just toss it on, I promise your dumb family will dig it too.