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Pistons 105, Knicks 92: “Lance Thomas with an off night”

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The Knicks still haven’t won a home game in 2019...

NBA: Detroit Pistons at New York Knicks Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks played the second game of the post-Kristaps Porzingis era tonight. It was pretty similar to the first one against Memphis. They competed throughout, hung around, the defense was pretty good, but when you’re bricking WIDE OPEN shots you’re gonna keep catching L’s in this league.

I know I’m supposed to be numb to this inexorable voyage of basketball bullshit at this point in the season, but holy fucking fucks was that rough. It’s almost better when they come out and just get smoked from the jump, because god damn it, I’m a sucker and I always, always get my hopes up when they’re within striking distance late in the game.

I should have learned by now, but I haven’t. I’m dumb. Never listen to me.

The Knicks were only down seven at the beginning of the fourth with the game was right there to be won against a Pistons team that was running low on steam on the back end of a SEGABABA. The Knicks cut the lead to three a few times, but just couldn’t get over the hump.

When they needed a stop, the Pistons were able to stumble over themselves into fortuitous buckets. When they needed a bucket the ball seemed to find Lance Thomas, who absolutely does not get buckets. Even when the ball found Kevin Knox, Dennis Smith Jr. or Damyean Dotson for open shots they couldn’t get them to fall.

It was one of those nights. The Knicks have had plenty of them. They’re going to have plenty more before this season is over.

Notes:

  • I would rather get castrated than watch Lance Thomas play another minute of basketball for the New York Knicks. Sure, he played some decent defense on Blake Griffin, who absolutely torched Noah Vonleh, but I don’t care. He’s a worthless NBA player who has been paid like a decent one for far too long. It will be great not to have him on the roster next year.
  • If you tuned in tonight, you got the full Dennis Smith Jr. experience. He brings physical tools and natural talent to the table like no other guard the Knicks have emplyed since Stephon Marbury. Like Starbury, there’s a sense he may not be a “winning” player, but he’s all of one-and-a-half years into his NBA career. He’s still writing his story. Smith’s going to turn it over, put up some awful shots, die on screens, etc. He’s also going to make spectacular plays at the rim, smoke by defenders off the dribble and have stretches where he looks like a future star. The hope is, at some point, the good will consistently outweigh the bad. That point isn’t going to be the second half of this season, so try to focus on the good times, not just the final line where you see it took 25 shots to get the 25 points, and that along with his six assists he had five turnovers.
  • 40 minutes for Smith Jr. is probably a bit too much. It seemed like it as he faded after a hot start.
  • Mitchell Robinson will dunk anything that you throw within a 45-foot radius of the rim. During the first half he did exactly that, in a dominant six-minute stretch during which he had 13 points, five rebounds and a block. He didn’t score for the rest of the night, although he did finish with his second double-double of the season. Mitch is a joy to watch and he’s on a cheap rookie deal for three more years after this. Wonderful. If/when he puts it all together consistently he’s going to be a P R O B L E M.
  • Mitch looked completely baked the entire night. I enjoyed it very much.
  • Wes Matthews is toast. He was one of my favorite players in the league before he blew his Achilles out in Portland. Unfortunately, he’s never really recovered since then and has fallen off a cliff this season. If Perry can find a trade for him, great, but if not, please just do everybody a favor and buy him out.
  • Kevin Knox continues to struggle and looks like he may have hit the rookie wall. He really needs to stop settling for those early-clock 18-foot pull-ups. Either pull it out or penetrate deeper. Kid is also in a shooting slump right now so it all just looks ugly. He did chip in with seven boards and a block. Let’s see if he’s re-energized after the All-Star break.
  • The Knicks went 9-33 from beyond the arc today. They only had 17 assists. On a better shooting night both of those statistics look better, Fizdale gets credit for the team sharing the ball more, and the Knicks get a W.
  • Noah Vonleh’s going to have nightmares of Blake for awhile. He didn’t have a prayer all night as Blake torched him inside and out. Rough night, but Blake’s not an easy cover. Eat your Wheaties before Friday’s rematch, Noah.
  • Kadeem Allen had a lovely flurry of activity in the fourth where out of a timeout he hit a floater, canned a three, and poked the ball away from Blake before attacking the rack where he was called for a bullshit charge drawn by old friend Jose Calderon.
  • Damyean Dotson and Allonzo Trier had quiet nights. Neither could get into any kind of rhythm offensively.
  • During the stretch where Mitch was getting oop after oop, Trier wasn’t the provider on any. That was quirky.
  • Luke Kornet and Mario Hezonja got DNP-CD’d. Maybe David Fizdale has to showcase some of the vets at their positions ahead of them, but that was weird. On a night where the Knicks didn’t have any trouble creating open shots, but couldn’t hit any of them it was especially strange for Kornet not to get off the bench.
  • It sucks for Blake he’s on the Pistons, because the dude is balling and really deserves to be on a team that doesn’t suck.
  • Can Fizdale get this team to stop helping on a post-up from a player one pass away? Multiple times the Knicks did this when Blake was posting and gifted Reggie Bullock an open three, which he canned.
  • Langston Galloway still plugging away in the NBA warms the cockles of my heart. In the shitty years we’ve endured since we last made the playoffs in 2012-13 (yes, it’s been that long) he was one of my favorites.
  • Congrats to Clyde and Breen, New York’s most feted announcing couple, on their 20-year broadcasting anniversary! My wish for you is that there’s 20 more to come filled with a lot more happiness and good basketball than the torture you’ve been forced to endure for the most part.

Quoth AJ_in_VA: “Lance with an off night.” Wasn’t just him. The Knicks have failed to break the century mark now in back-to-back games. That’s a tough way to win basketball games in this league. The Knicks play these assclowns again on Friday. Enjoy your two days off.