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Pacers 103, Knicks 98: Scenes from another waste of time

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A fake comeback made an appearance too

NBA: New York Knicks at Indiana Pacers Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

I’m writing this as the fourth quarter is currently happening, as I couldn’t care less about this game. I even missed some of the beginning of the fourth quarter because I needed to feed my kitty cats. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t had much interest in these games since the All-Star break ended, but I don’t want to digress any further as this is a postgame post.

Let’s get the highlights out of the way so I can get some quick takes in. The game started off fun with a Smith–Jordan alley-oop:

The ball was moving and the team was draining threes:

Everything was going smoothly as the second quarter neared its end. The Knicks were up 49–41 with roughly four minutes left when Smith subbed out and Emmanuel Mudiay took over primary ball-handling responsibilities. Everything that followed was what the Knicks have done this entire year: stink it up as Mudiay gets minutes over players he has no business playing over. The Knicks went down by three to close the half. But before we continue, let’s admire the play of the night:

What a block! But the stare The Block Ness Monster gives Sabonis is what really makes this play special.

Everything in the second half was a complete waste of time, especially the team’s 17–4 run in a trademark Knicks fake comeback. If I didn’t have to write this post, I would have turned off the game at halftime. Anywell, let’s get in some notes and takes:

  1. Looking at the box score, Mudiay had an efficient 21-point game on 14 shots with four assists and four rebounds to round it out. It should be noted that five of those 21 points were very lucky given that he had a lucky-ass bounce on a layup attempt where he went one-on-five in transition and fell to the ground and made a well-contested three-pointer as time expired in the third. Despite scoring efficiently, he did a poor job running the offense and played crap defense yet again. This is the type of performance that will continue to give Fizdale excuses to play Mudiay when he has absolutely no business playing.
  2. The team’s actual best player tonight was Dotson. He had 18 points (on 16 shots, though), six rebounds, three assists, and generally solid-to-good defense. He’s probably the only Knick on the roster who knows how to move off the ball, which is something the Knicks desperately need. If Dotson was someone who didn’t move and cut, the offense would be even more stagnant than it is.
  3. So DeAndre Jordan can pass? His five assists all came in the first half, but man, he made some really good passes, especially ones as players cut back door. Oh, and he went for 12 and 16. Jordan was the Knicks’ second-best player tonight.
  4. Knox, like Mudiay, had an efficient 16-point game as he went 4–5 from three. However, his team worst -15 plus-minus really captures how poorly he played tonight. Knox again played awful defense and got into foul trouble quickly in the second half. Though efficient scoring is a very important part to winning basketball games, that cannot be the only thing you’re doing well. Like Mudiay, the lack of defense and inability to do anything else on offense besides score really hurts the team when Knox is on the court.
  5. Outside of the amazing block, Mitchell Robinson had a terrible game, as he got into foul trouble. It happens, what can you do?
  6. Dennis Smith really didn’t do anything that stood out. I really want Frank to come back, even just for a few games, because in theory, Frank and Dennis should compliment one another really well. Imagine Frank in the Mudiay role when Fizdale runs those awful double point guard lineups.
  7. This season needs to end already.