France won and that’s a pleasant probiotic for our international guts. It’s been a long while since the Knicks have found any real team success, and Frank Ntilikina is the only guy representing the New York metropolitan area at this here FIBA World Cup. The Knicks have a few Canadiacs, a Lithuanian connection and of course several home soil heroes. Yet as we prepare our souls for a hot girl semester it’s just the glass bottom boat and rubber mallet stylings of Frank for us Knick-folk. So we’re pulling for him damn it!
Alright look, I won’t sugar coat it. Frank Ntilikina didn’t play a ton of minutes. When he did play there wasn’t much of a Frank-effect. All told France played great interior defense and won the game behind Amath M’Baye’s jet ski target practice, Rudy Gobert’s defensive tugboat ride and Evan Fournier’s haughty speed boat maneuvers.
France opened a commanding lead to start the game and never had much to worry about after that. Sure Germany did their best New York Knicks impression coming back from down 20. Despite Dennis Schroder’s best effort and Johannes Voigtman’s propensity to be left completely alone in three point land (5-7 from beyond), they never got over the hump.
So whats to like here? Our sweet child, Frank Ntilikina, was not granted full control of the game and he wasn’t able to make a lasting imprint in his 13 minutes. He shot decently and defensively he was fine. He got stuck with a ruthless -16 plus/minus while on the floor. So because we only care about Frank, let’s get right on down to the notes!
- As soon as Frank got in he hopped into a three from the right corner on the catch and it was as if Gallagher himself had smashed the juiciest watermelon with his most trusted and oversized mallet. A few plays later he stepped into a left wing three and splashed it again. It felt like good things were about to start happening.
- A short while later Frank initiated an offensive set that got stuck in neutral. The light being green for 18 seconds, had turned yellow, it found it’s way back to Frank and he forced a driving pull up jumper just before it turned red. It was a clunky possession that led to a contested mid range jumper. Haters rejoiced.
- In the midst of Germany’s twisting and pulling to get back into the game, France was exposed as being woefully careless with the ball. At one point a 10-2 turnover advantage for Germany. Ultimately 16 turnovers for France. Eight of which came from the two nitwits getting most of Frank’s minutes, Nando de Colo and Andrew Albicy.
- De Colo in particular was horrendous, playing what seemed to be drunk hoops. Multiple alarming miscues from the two-time Euroleague MVP. Just deeply careless.
- Albicy started at the point for France, possibly in an effort to keep a speedy player on the feisty Schroder. His trio of live ball turnovers were of the I-don’t-want-this-fucking-thing variety. The two that really stuck out were a horrendous swing pass directly to an opponent and a pick and roll where he tried to press the ball into the screeners hands rather than use the pick to turn a corner. The two Frenchman fumbled it together and Germany took it the other way.
- Frank did not have any turnovers. Haters hated rejoicing.
- Schroder was going way under the screens for Albicy, who never looked to exploit this land mass between himself and the defender. Frank apologists take notice and sow the seed of doubt as to whether or not he would take this shot and if he could make it. Haters decided to rejoice.
- The pick and roll defense combination of Frank Ntilkina and Rudy Gobert must turn the opponent’s stomach. It’s like trying to break free from a boa constrictor only to have a python thrown onto your chest. I wonder how it will work with someone who is more nimble than Gobert and if the Knicks have a player that fits this description.
- I’m sure this makes me a Frank-spiracy theorist. But. Frank’s defense against Schroder was getting the ball out of the German point guard’s hands early in possessions. That actually generated a lot of movement and extra passes for an otherwise stagnant offense. So the obvious question becomes: is Frank’s defense so good that it hurts his team? Maybe try a little less, Frank. Sorry, hon.
- Schroder ended up figuring some things out against Ntilikina but Frank earned his way into the lineup for defensive purposes at all the ctricial moments because of his suffocation skills.
- Speaking of dumb Dennis, he seems like the type of guy who doesn’t talk unless he’s talking an immense amount of shit. I don’t think I’d like playing with someone as pugnacious as he.
That’s the way the macaron crumbles. You live to eat another macaron. Maybe we’re just destined to live a two-macaron serving size in a three-macaron packaged existence. Do you eat the third macaron? Perhaps you save it for later. Why didn’t you share it with your sweetie? That should have been your initial instinct.
France will play Jordan on Tuesday at 8:30 in the morning here in New York because they are in a small country called China. In that far off land, it’s opposite time. Jordan doesn’t exactly have any name brand players one their roster. According to FIBA’s website, they are the 49th ranked team in the world. France should be able to hang with Ahmad Al Dwairi and the gang. Until then, back to the library.