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Pacers 103, Knicks 98: “Giants just traded Odell”

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68 down. 14 to go.

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

On a night another New York franchise threw its fans a 12-to-6 curveball, the Knicks, sadly, were yet again another batting practice meatball, knocked outta the park 103-98 by the Indiana Pacers. The final score suggests a close game, but on a day James Dolan reminded us what early humans created the idea of a benevolent god to guard against, don’t get it twisted. New York took an early lead, spent most of the night losing, then tossed in some too-little too-late foofaraw to paint comeback-colored lipstick on this pig of a game.

The Knicks spent much of the first half making shots. All kinds of shots. 1-on-5, even.

Damyean Dotson and Kevin Knox were both on, and Emmanuel Mudiay remains oddly most enjoyable to watch as a scoring guard who’s neither a shooter nor a scorer. For most of the first half the Knicks hit five-ninths of their shots and six of 11 threes; the Pacers were just one of 10 from deep and missing a lot of open looks. A Dotson trey gave New York a 10-point lead, but a 16-2 Indiana run over the final five minutes of the half gave them a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

A triplet of triples by Myles Turner and The Other White Bogdanovic built the bulge to a dozen. ‘Member those first half shooting numbers? The Pacers flipped the script in the third: they hit five-ninths of their shots and six of nine threes. It was the Knicks who were missing three-fourths of their looks before a Mudiay buzzer-beater.

Midway through the fourth the Knicks trailed by 14. I thought of every unlikely thing I could that felt more likely to occur than a Knick comeback:

  • The Lakers making the playoffs
  • NetsDaily winning a Pulitzer
  • The Rochester winter being over for real in mid-March
  • Those in power ceding power voluntarily
  • The Knicks winning a title in your lifetime
  • The Ghost of Kristaps Past getting a Mudiay neck tattoo
  • The Mets outspending the Yankees
  • Seinfeld reruns on BET
  • James Dolan selling the Knicks
  • James Dolan paying property taxes
  • James Dolan getting a clue
  • Kristaps Porzingis signing the qualifying offer with Dallas, then returning to New York as a free agent in 2020 and bringing Luka Doncic with him

And yet, despite oodles of turnovers, there we were: three minutes left, a Dotson three-pointer cutting the deficit to eight; the Pacers missing 10 shots in a row en route to over five minutes without a basket; a late 17-4 New York run slicing it three after a Mudiay long-range looker.

Dennis Smith Jr. very nearly almost stole the inbounds. But he didn’t. Like Dolan very nearly getting through this season without reminding us he exists the same way a rendering plant might.

New York took an early lead tonight. They opened the season with a win. They spent most of tonight losing. They’ve spent most of the season losing. Late in the game they tried to trick our righteous asses into trusting them. Dolan’s words yesterday? Same thing. This franchise needs to win the lottery and carry Zion Williamson around the Mecca like a 6’7” 285 pound score of sage burning spirits clean. Don’t care about a championship anymore. I’m rooting for exorcism.

Notes inspired by Dolan’s quotes yesterday:

  • “The thing about the team now is that it’s very young. It’s the youngest team in the NBA. You take a look at some of the players that we have and they won’t be the centerpiece of the team but as complements to the centerpieces of the team.”

DSJ, 21, was the only Knick with a positive plus/minus. Knox and Dotson, who combined are only a year older than Vince Carter, hit eight threes between them. After missing his first seven shots, Trier kept on keeping on and hit three of his last five. Good work, expendable non-centerpieces!

  • “Players who are free agents want to go to a winner and to get paid”

KOQ: DNP. OAKAAKUYOAK.

  • “...they’re trying to destabilize what we have because they know we’re favored. They know free agents want to come to us. They don’t want to be on the back end of that.”

New York came out on the back end of the final score for the 38th time in 43 games. According to Elias Sports Bureau, that sucks.

  • “People get banned from buildings in the United States all the time...the Knicks are not owned by the public. The Knicks are owned by the shareholders of the company, of which I’m the majority shareholder.”

The 2018-19 Knicks have been downright metronomic in their suckitude. Tonight’s loss dropped their winning percentage on the road to .194. At home, it’s .181, the same winning percentage they have against the Eastern conference; they’re a positively Kelvin-esque .208 vs. the “mighty” West. Ban them from every NBA gym and you still can’t stop the tank — they’re 0-2 overseas (Toronto and London). Shareholders don’t own the Knicks. The other 29 NBA teams do.

  • “I don’t worry about how I look”

Why did Team Future give 47 minutes to DeAndre Jordan and Lance Thomas and zero to Luke Kornet and Henry Ellenson? Fizdale? Fizdale? Bueller?

  • “I get to invite who I want to the press conference. I don’t have to invite everybody. I’m not a public servant.”

Six Knicks had three or more assists tonight. John Jenkins did in just five minutes.

  • “I will say we had just lost, again.”

Word.

Dolan-free notes:

  • Mitchell Robinson devoured a Domantas Sabonis shot at the rim like Ammit swallowing the dead. Steve Albert revealed this was the 24th straight game M-Rob has blocked a shot, and that the last rookie to do that was a Vancouver Grizzlie. Any guesses?
  • Wesley Matthews hit four shots, or four more than he hit as a Knick. And yet I see the ninja bandana, and the audacity in his game, and I love him. Schoenberg said he wrote the music he did so future composers would be free to write what came after. If Matthews didn’t exist, the future would invent him. Something about him is inevitable.
  • L’enfer, c’est les autres, Sartre wrote. Hell is other people. He meant it’s hell for us to see ourselves as others see us, but as is the case with “literally” a secondary definition has become widely accepted, that being that life is hell because people (specifically others) suck. I suspect few people, if any, understand such suffering with the fullness Trier must. Because every time he’s leading a fast break, he’s either afraid to pass because he risks seeing that Trier reflected back in his teammates’ eyes, or he so powerfully hates the world that fast breaks are, for him, a dash for freedom, a man trying to run away, get away from everybody on all sides. I can dig it.
  • If you ever saw George Romero’s Day of the Dead, you know a zombie shooting a gun is mostly non-threatening.

Ditto Lance Thomas shooting a basketball. He did hit one shot tonight. Even a zombie with a pistol sometimes finds its mark.

  • Bogdanovic pulled up from three ahead of the field on a break and you knew it was good; he was that comfortable lining it up, that wide-open. Remarkable to witness the game evolve from the ‘90s, when teams would combine to try a handful of threes in a game, to today when half the league seems comfortable pulling up from deep when they have numbers. First player I saw take threes in transition and it seemed like a good idea was Drazen Petrovic. If you don’t know, you better know.
  • I’m always curious — would you rather have Sabonis or Turner?

Poll

Who would you rather have?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    Domantas Sabonis
    (109 votes)
  • 56%
    Myles Turner
    (139 votes)
248 votes total Vote Now
  • Trivia answer: Rodney Rogers.

Quoth alleyhoop_20: “Giants just traded Odell.” The city’s sports skyline shines a bit dimmer tonight. Maybe one of the Knicks’ non-centerpieces will rise to the pantheon someday. First things first: next game is Friday in San Antonio. Come for the Spurs. Stay for the bats.