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Raptors 117, Knicks 92: ‘Broke 80!”

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The Raptors are much better at basketball than the Knicks

NBA: Toronto Raptors at New York Knicks Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Have you ever watched Training Day? Yeah, you probably have, but if you haven’t you’re a loser and you should. So a quick synopsis for the losers among us: Ethan Hawke wants to become a narcotics officer, and he’s assigned to be evaluated for a day by Denzel Washington, who is the head detective of a narcotics unit.

Denzel’s character is a corrupt piece of shit, who at various points makes Hawke smoke PCP, leaves him to fight two crackheads by himself who are trying to rape a 14-year-old girl, and help Denzel illegally break into and rob somebody’s home, among other things. Anyways, Hawke has a super shitty day and after all of this bullshit, Denzel takes him to run an errand, but actually abandons him in the home of three unsavory individuals who are supposed to murder Hawke.

While they’re toying him in the midst of the worst game of poker of all time, things get weird, culminating with them asking Hawke a simple question:

Ultimately, Hawke gets out of this situation — because of his good samaritan act earlier in the day, he finds Denzel and confiscates the money, which he plans to use as evidence against him.

Of course that happens, because it’s a fucking movie. In real life, Hawke would have summarily been put out of his misery for good. Anyway, I bring all of this up because tonight the Knicks got used and abused for four quarters by a menacing, athletic, lengthy, versatile Raptors team that is miles ahead of the ’Bockers; and unlike the movies, there was never a deus ex machina that was going to present itself to save them from the inevitable sonning.

The Raptors’ weapon of choice was the three ball. They zipped the ball around, facing little resistance, and got whatever they wanted. Danny Green banged in threes from the corner. Fred VanVleet pooped from a bunch of spots. Norman Powell even hit a pull-up triple at the end of the third quarter to extend the Raptors lead to 23.

This game was over from the tip. The Knicks brought a blunt knife to a Goldeneye ‘only rocket launchers’ fight. If you’re searching for the meaning of life, you won’t find it in this game — not if you’re a Knicks fan, anyway.

Notes:

  • David Fizdale wants the Knicks to get better defenders. There’s no question there’s a deficiency of those on this roster, just as has been the case on every Knicks roster for most of this millennium. But for a guy who talks real sweet about defense, the majority of Fizdale’s starting lineup and in-game decisions do not indicate he gives a shit or even recognizes it. Yes, his options are limited, but if you care so much about defense, maybe don’t start Emmanuel Mudiay, Kevin Knox, Mario Hezonja, and checked out DeAndre Jordan. Just my two cents.
  • I’ve given Fizdale a lot of shit, and I’m going to give him more in this recap. I saw a quote from Nuggets GM Tim Connolly regarding coaches earlier today though that I’ll try to keep in mind though. It’s probably just a coping mechanism, but it was interesting nonetheless, so I’ll share it.
  • That said, this team is just not well coached in the fundamentals at all. Guys don’t make contact on screens, the off-ball spacing is garbage, the spacing in transition makes me want to projectile vomit, and the ease with which the defense breaks down and guys make zero effort to get over screens makes me want to roll over in my grave (and I’m not dead — not as of this writing, anyway).
  • The Fizdale Special is to be very annoyed that the trash defensive unit we call ‘the starting five’ hemorrhages points at the start of both halves, call a timeout to be very mad at them, and then come out of the timeout with the same exact five. That’ll show ’em, Fiz!
  • I don’t really want to get into Mudiay much so I’m just going to insert what I tweeted about him in-game:
  • Smith Jr. rushed back from injury and played a lot like shitty Mudiay. He pump faked on approximately 69 (hehehe) catch-and-shoot threes to instead take shitty pull-ups or hopelessly try to power his way through a heavily packed paint to the rim. It didn’t go well. Hopefully he got that out of his system.
  • Dotson played, apparently.
  • Knox had a stinker on defense. Like, truly atrocious to the point I think he was far worse than Mudiay on that end. He was constantly lost and didn’t show any urgency to close out on Danny Green, who happily took a dump on his face. He’s coming off a pretty bad sprained ankle, but that didn’t seem to affect him much. I’m not going to give him that crutch in this recap, which I’m sure he cares about a lot.
  • Mario Hezonja also sucked at closing out on shooters or ever finding Pascal Siakam in transition, which earned Fizdale’s ire. I thought it was cool that Fiz got on him for that stuff after a pathetic effort on a VanVleet triple. Now try holding Knox and your adopted son Mudiay to the same standard, pal.
  • Mitchell Robinson is a saint. He’s the one thing getting me through the Devil’s Anus portion of the season. He was the only Knick who was into it throughout. He contested shots, hit the glass with verve and finished with aplomb inside. Mitch had 19 points, 21 rebounds and 2 blocks, narrowly missing the first 20/20 game for a Knicks rookie since Ewing by clanking two free throws with just over three seconds left. The kid is gonna be good. He already is.
  • The Raptors just hit another three from the corner, and the game’s been over for hours.
  • Kadeem Allen played with energy too, but he had a particularly hideous stretch in the third where he committed three straight horrible turnovers. He’s definitely not distributing as much as he did in his first run of games with the big Knicks, but he’s still the only guard who plays with any kind of guile or craft combined with an understanding of how to run an offense. He’s still not good, but he’s better than our trio of young PGs as things currently stand. If the Knicks FO’s wet dream fantasy comes true this summer you’d think a cheap, steady hand like his would be welcome.
  • Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol both bother me a ton.
  • From his days spent in San Antonio, Danny Green has mastered the be-incredulous-after-every-call-against-you-even-if-it’s-obviously-the-right-call look that Tim Duncan turned into an art form.
  • I think the Raptors are the team to beat in the East. Their combination of size and length is pretty freaky.
  • If Fiz is going to play two bigs together, it should definitely not be DJ and Mitch. Why Kornet has been banished from Westeros while Lance continues to be absolutely shit at everything aside from running really hard in a straight line is beyond me.
  • One final musing on Fizdale’s coaching with regard to the constant pump faking on open shots we were subjected to.

Quoth Return of the Frank: Broke 80! Somehow, someway they managed to pull that off despite zero offensive flow and shitty spacing.

That game sucked. Only eight of these left. We’re almost there.