Some of you may know, but I host a pretty great Knicks podcast these days (Locked On Knicks, available wherever podcasts are sold!). That, combined with my duties on P&T, means that I’m now subjected to watching basically every Knicks game ever.
We’re 63 games into the 82 game season. This game? I’d easily classify this 128-107 loss to the Clippers as one of the worst this year. It really did check all the boxes, too!
Embarrassment? Check! The Knicks gave up 82 points in the first half, just two points shy of the most given up in a first half (the record? Eighty-four points given up to the Lakers on Jan. 15, 1966).
Torn up by a role player? Oh yeah, big check. Landry Shamet, good rookie role player that he is, should not be canning seven threes in a half against your team if your team is respectable.
(It certainly helps establish a rhythm when you’re given about a mile and a half of space to get your shot off.)
Beat on by a former Knick? Let me introduce you to Mr. Danilo Gallinari, who netted 20 points on 8-15 shooting, seven rebounds and four assists in just 23 minutes.
Really, those two played the biggest role in digging the Knicks their hole. The hole that the Knicks would proceed to live in for the full 48 minutes. They got comfortable in the hole, like a bunch of big, basketball-playing hobbits — at least for that nearly-historically bad first half.
Gallinari scored the first four points for the Clips, and Dennis Smith Jr. responded with four points of his own. Then Shamet made two 3-pointers and Gallo a 2-pointer, and Damyean Dotson responded with a three of his own. And then... well, it’s not really worth chronicling past that point. Neither is the whole game from Shamet’s six-3-pointer first quarter on, really. The Knicks would end the first quarter down 38-20, and end the first half down 82-46.
The young Knicks would actually put up a decent fight in the second half to narrow the 36-point halftime deficit to the mere 21-point final margin, but it was all wrapped up at the end of that first quarter. Not too much to see here.
So how about some notes?
— Somehow I’ve gotten this far without mentioning Mitchell Robinson, so I’ll pay whatever the “not mentioning Mitchell Robinson” version of a swear jar is.
Before we get into his highlights, though, an exciting announcement:
The Block Ness Monster certainly lived up to his Basketball-Reference-official nickname, too, swatting four shots in just 23 minutes off the bench. He ended with a final line of 16 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks on 7-8 shooting, a line that’s becoming more and more routine for the Ragin’ Cajun.
Mitch so casually blocks Zubac here for his first of the day. Makes it look real easy. pic.twitter.com/kQx88v1Pv2— Posting and Toasting (@ptknicksblog) March 3, 2019
Mitch with some great 1 on 1 D vs. Harrell here, ends with his 3rd block already in about 9 minutes pic.twitter.com/CO53ZQJfJr— Posting and Toasting (@ptknicksblog) March 3, 2019
Mitch with a pretty ferocious block on Trez Harrell pic.twitter.com/RgkiWoot3N— Posting and Toasting (@ptknicksblog) March 3, 2019
Oh, and don’t worry, there were dunks too:
Here's your first Mitchell Robinson lob of the day pic.twitter.com/96sid4UtBI— Posting and Toasting (@ptknicksblog) March 3, 2019
Whatever let's just ignore the 18 point deficit... Here's another Mitch dunk. pic.twitter.com/fDcKIpOfUa— Posting and Toasting (@ptknicksblog) March 3, 2019
FILTHY lob from Trier to Mitchell Robinson here. The kid's body control is unreal. pic.twitter.com/2fZnoC3iWl— Posting and Toasting (@ptknicksblog) March 3, 2019
(I’m in charge of the P&T Twitter these days, and I’m almost always the guy clipping these games — Mitch is phenomenal, but also exhausting. He actually churns out highlights at such a fast rate that I can’t keep up with him sometimes. It’s beautifully frustrating — like an early Jackson Pollock.)
My lesson to everyone with Mitch is this: let’s not ever take this dude for granted. As 16/13/4 stat lines become more ordinary and less extraordinary, let’s make sure to be grateful for what we have in this kid.
— Allonzo Trier also continued his great play of late — 16 points on 5-7 shooting and 3-3 from three. Trier has been playing a lot more decisively lately.
Over his last seven games, Trier has scored 16 or more points five times — in those games, he’s needed just nine, 11, five, 15 and seven shots. That’s extremely good efficiency for a guard, and has his season averages up to 45.9 percent shooting, 40.4 percent from three and 84.2 percent from the free throw line. Mitch is getting all the attention lately, but Trier might truly have a future in this league as an elite sixth man if he can continue on his current development curve.
— If you’ve listened to LoK at all lately, you’ll know that one of the biggest things I’ve wanted from Trier is for him to embrace the catch-and-shoot more, and he really has during this hot streak, hitting two catch-and-shoot threes today.
— Noah Vonleh posted his second straight game that closer resembled his early-season hot play: 17 points, 12 rebounds and three assists for Noah. He started the third quarter off with eight straight points for the Knicks, starting off the “comeback.” He hit a three, too! (He missed a second one right after, but still, nice to see him hit one again!)
— We’ve now reached the end of the “positives” section of this game recap. The biggest negative was almost definitely Kevin Knox in this game. As David Fizdale might say, “We gotta get this kid right.” Knox continued to struggle not just with making his shots, but also mightily with shot selection. This sequence in particular made me clench my teeth:
Hate to hate on the kid, but this type of take is exactly what you don't want to see from Knox when he can't hit anything pic.twitter.com/eJyv7nGVQa— Posting and Toasting (@ptknicksblog) March 3, 2019
Nothing like a long two one step inside the 3-point line to break out of a months-long shooting slump, right? Fizdale & Co. really need to help Knox find a more sustainable path right now, because he’s clearly run head-on into the rookie wall without a helmet.
— This game marked yet another daytime start that the Knicks have lost, something that seemed like it could’ve been a coincidence early in the season but now feels like a trend. Maybe a little too much Fortnite, even on the road? These damn kids and their vidja games. (Plus, PUBG and Apex are both better anyway.)
— Clyde looked super duper fresh for this game — his tie and pocket square reminded me of some sort of exotic fish or something:
— Lance Thomas started the game, and thankfully didn’t see the floor again after he came out (including Luke Kornet starting for him in the second half). I know this is a weird experimentation season, but that experiment should be over.
— Speaking of other bigs... Henry Ellenson and Luke Kornet shot a combined 2-11. Are we willing to rule out that Mitch is actually a basketball vampire and is sucking the basketball life essence out of his teammates?
— I didn’t really catch too much in the way of Clyde gems during the game (Kenny Albert was on the call, which means a little less in the way of chemistry), but I think at some point in the second quarter he referred to +/- as “analytics”... which, I guess that’s technically an analytical stat, but Clyde’s age and old-school basketball sensibilities really do show sometimes.
— Fizdale ran a lineup of Emmanuel Mudiay, Trier, Ellenson, Vonleh and Mitch out there at one point. It was... interesting, to say the least. They ran a little zone with Vonleh in the middle if I recall. Again, interesting. They didn’t really hemorrhage points, but also didn’t inspire confidence.
— I don’t have much in the way of thoughts about Dennis Smith Jr.’s game, but I will say that his ability to quietly rack up five-plus assists with very few turnovers lately has been encouraging. Today he had six assists to just one turnover. He can definitely affect a game even when he’s not scoring the ball.
— I should probably mention that Damyean Dotson and Emmanuel Mudiay had 17 and 16 points, respectively, but neither really had their best game today in my opinion.
That’s all I can muster about this one, folks. As commenter formalhaut said, “Was about to turn on the game, then I saw the score.” Oh, how I envy you, formalhaut. To have those kinds of choices.
Let’s get ready for a Sacramento Kings team fighting for their playoff lives on the SEGABABA!