With All-Star Weekend officially behind us, the Westchester Knicks began the second half of the season by facing the Raptors 905 on Wednesday night.
Despite receiving their share of standout performances, whether it was from Lamar Peters, Ignas Brazdeikis, Ivan Rabb, and Kenny Wooten, the W-Knicks aren’t immune to letting them go to waste. Now that doesn’t mean they aren’t competitive but the W-Knicks’ inability to close out games, as seen in recent losses to the Canton Charge and Grand Rapids Drive, has become a common theme this season.
But for every struggle, there’s a positive that still exists for the W-Knicks, especially at this level. When it comes to having depth and off the bench scoring, fewer teams are better than the W-Knicks this season. Even if you take away their full-time starters in Brazdeikis, Allen, Rabb, Peters, Wooten, and Andrew White III, the W-Knicks would still have plenty of scoring options.
JJ Moore and Zak Irvin, two players who I constantly talk about in these pieces, are respectively averaging 11 and 10 points per game, as the young trio of Amir Hinton, Tyler Hall, and Tim Bond are averaging at least seven points per game. You also have to be on the lookout for V.J. King. The Louisville product has scored 10-plus points four times in the last month despite only playing 14 minutes per game.
Being only three-and-a-half games out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the W-Knicks needed to step up their game and make fewer mistakes moving forward.
But that is obviously easier said than done. Sadly, the W-Knicks got off on the wrong foot, falling to the 905 in triple-overtime, 126-124. Iggy snapped his recent string of high-octane scoring performances, notching only 12 points on 5-14 shooting. But the big news of the night was the return of Wooten, who had missed several games with a finger injury. Kenny put up the very Wooten-ish stat line of 13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocks.
Things would not improve for the W-Knicks, however, as they dropped their next game to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, 112-106. Kadeem Allen (23 points) and Lamar Peters (22 points) showed out for Westchester, but once again Brazdeikis (12 points) struggled.
The W-Knicks now sit at 16-21, with the playoffs rapidly slipping out of reach. Their next game is Sunday afternoon against the Maine Red Claws.