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Raptors 128, Knicks 92: “Perfectly balanced, as all things must be”

What a crap-fest

NBA: New York Knicks at Toronto Raptors Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Good and evil; lightness and darkness; yin and yang; Knicks wins and Knicks losses.

There is perhaps no better selling point for balance in the universe than the Knicks’ 128-92 loss to the Raptors on Monday night, after a thrilling one-point win over LeBron and the Lakers the day before. Something that sweet just had to be followed by something this sour.

Luckily, sweet and sour go together pretty well (just ask chicken). Hopefully the final recipe will yield a heaping helping of tasty Zion.

Anyway, yeah. This game was shit. The Knicks kept things somewhat “competitive” for the first quarter, entering the first break down 38-29 after a truly bizarre sequence to end the quarter: Kadeem Allen drove the lane and was called for charging. Time expired. Oh wait, no it didn’t. The refs put about two seconds back on the clock. Norman Powell went to inbound the ball and, weirdly, moved his feet. That’s a travel. So the Knicks then got the ball on their own half of the court with a couple seconds, and this happened:

Hope you enjoyed that, because that right there was the highlight of the whole game for the Knicks. No, seriously. That’s as good as it got; not being down double digits after one quarter due to a fluke 3-pointer.

After that, (throwback alert!) it all went Chinua Achebe. The Knicks didn’t win a single quarter. They scored a whopping 15 points in the third quarter, somehow managing to look worse than the crap-fest that was the first half. The Knicks played every active player at least 12 minutes, and not a single Knick managed to finish with a positive plus-minus for the night (shouts to Damyean Dotson with the team-”high” -32, even if he himself didn’t really play that terrible).

I honestly don’t have the energy to get into just how bad the defense was, because it’s not worth exploring on a night as pathetic as this one. The Raptors were able to get whatever look they wanted. That’s really all you need to know.

But hey, the Raptors are a good team. The Knicks are not, and they never really play the Raptors well. This result was expected, just not the grandiose grossness of it all.

Let’s get into the notes:

— The Knicks only had three players shoot 50 percent or better from the floor in this one — Allonzo Trier (8-14 for a team-high 22 points), Damyean Dotson (4-8 for 11 points) and Henry Ellenson (3-6 for nine points). As a team, the Knicks shot 32.9 percent from the floor and 22.2 percent from 3. Compare that to the Raptors’ splits of .557/.425, and the score makes a lot of sense.

Trier was actually good, though. It was nice to see him have a bounce-back game after a couple of stinkers. He did a lot of what makes him effective — smart decisions with the ball (zero turnovers), sharing the ball well enough when needed (three assists), and efficient looks (only a handful of long two attempts).

I’m really not exaggerating when I say that Trier is about the only bright spot from this game.

Dotson, again, was better than his -32 plus-minus would suggest.

Dot’s kind of a funny case to me, physically. He’s chiseled as all hell, looks really imposing. Yet this dude isn’t ridiculously athletic. I wish I could do a brain-swapping scenario where Dotson’s brain and skillset ends up in Andrew Wiggins’ body. How good would that player be? All-Star?

Mitchell Robinson continued his streak of not-so-good performances, fouling out in just over 14 minutes. He ended with a final line of zero points on 0-1 shooting, five rebounds and three blocks. The blocks were great and all — they extended his streak of games with at least a block to 28 games and games with at least two blocks to 19 — but I almost would’ve traded the streak ending for Mitch not selling out so hard on defense tonight and putting himself in foul trouble so quickly (he had three fouls in about five minutes in the first quarter).

Still, a record-tying performance for the rook. Take the Ws where you can in a game like this one.

Kevin Knox started off 2-5 and looked like he might be on his way to another decent shooting night, but wound up shooting 4-14. Another down night for the rook.

Mario Hezonja played alright in his encore to the LeBron sonning, but ultimately it was a forgettable game for him. He managed to nab a couple steals, both heady plays where he showed off his nose for the ball in passing lanes. He also definitely plays his best D when he’s matched up with bigger players — he’s great at using his smaller size to his advantage to get after the ball.

Kadeem Allen had maybe his first TRULY shit game as a Knick. Just looked all out of sorts. He shot 0-8 and had one assist to three turnovers. He’s great, but there’s definitely a reason he spent the better part of the year in the G-League. He’ll have down moments.

— Clyde had a couple interesting exchanges... First, he made it clear that he’s very happy that the Knicks only have four more road games the rest of the way out, letting out an enthusiastic “YAAAY!” when Breen brought that up. Clyde’s probably ready for St. Croix at this point.

Secondly, Clyde addressed his (probably accurate) comments on LeBron James not caring that drew so much attention on Sunday:

Shrewd, clever, and slick, as always.

That’s about all I can muster for this one. I’m surprised I even got this far, to be honest. But, as Melo’s Bucket Hat Collection (and Thanos) said, this game was “perfectly balanced, as all things must be.” A Knicks win in 2018-19 cannot exist without a crippling loss soon thereafter. The cosmic balance might shift a little further to the losing end on Wednesday though — the Knicks have the Jazz at MSG on a four-game winning streak, fighting for their playoff lives.