Neither team could make a shot today and it led to frustration. Neither team could get a call today and it led to frustration. The frustrations must have muddied the decision making for coach Thibodeau, who forgot that his best option at point guard was playing a fantastic game. So when Immanuel Quickley finally got back in to start the fourth quarter, he aced the scripted play, but it was too late.
Quickley and Toppin check in, IMMEDIATELY connect on a high PnR for an oop pic.twitter.com/ULO02i0UqK— The Strickland (@TheStrickland) January 18, 2021
It can’t take sixteen game-minutes to get him back on the court! A veritable eternity when you’re feeling good, and his first half forays proved he was feeling fantastic. That tweet video there was pretty much all he did in the second half, as he got an extremely early hook after making some dubious decisions in the half court. In the game thread, Rice2012 said, it was the “IQ float game” and while Manny Man did snap on the Magic in the first half, Thibs sat him for so long that Quick lost the feel.
The Knicks ultimately threw away their 14-point lead, but were able to grind it out en route to nabbing their first back-to-back wins in three years! Missed free throws and missed shots in general threatened but this team is resilient and they have a bonafide go to guy with Julius Randle. Even though he struggled scoring today he absolutely impacted the game and made critical winning plays throughout.
- More folly, by golly. This game was really a rough watch, it may have been easier to listen from another room. The basketball was ugly, the referees were badly inconsistent. The play-by-play kept it afloat.
- Defensive effort remaining strong. Held Boston to 17 after one, hold magic to 13.
- Getting shots off ball and player movement. When their coordination is high, the game seems easy.
- RJ Barrett continued his steady play today. Just somewhat unspectacularly filling in the box score while playing some of the best defense on the team. Surprise, surprise he’s not as high as his highs or as low as his lows. This is the measure of consistency you hope to see from such a young player.
RJ Barrett over the last 4 games:— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) January 18, 2021
- 20 PTS - 5 REB - 3 AST - 46 FG%
- 20 PTS - 4 REB - 3 AST - 58 FG%
- 19 PTS - 11 REB - 3 AST - 45 FG%
- 22 PTS - 10 REB - 4 AST - 47 FG% pic.twitter.com/tXIi9kizJR
- Over the course of those games Barrett is averaging five free throws and has hit 85% of them. Freebies of course are a critical part of the game and New York missed ten of them today. Julius Randle hitting 7-8 in the fourth was infinitesimally crucial. The final score does not relate how narrowly they escaped what previous iterations of the Knicks would have proven to be a certain death. It had the old familiar feeling...
- Free throw misses mounted for Mitchell Robinson who shot 2-6 and is now .474% on the year. While only getting to the line 1.4 times a game that percentage is in critical condition from a guy who had a lot of videos shooting a lot of threes this off season. I dunno how much the neighborhood kids are doing for an NBA player’s development but I’m sure it’s the experience of a life time.
- More free throw news: Austin Rivers got to the line for the first time this season. He’s also shooting like the absolute pit of a doody hole the past several games. Makes ya not wonder why he signed for peanuts. When Rivers is struggling, he is putting one too many shimmies and twists on things. It looks great if it goes in, it’s nonsense if he’s missing layups because of it. He would be well served to skip the wild stuff and initiate a little contact, would be nice to see him get to the line more than once every eleven games.
- Remember “Quivers”? That sucked. I hope you like the shirt you ordered, it will be arriving in 7-10 days.
- Back to Mitch who was obviously fighting through injury to play today. On the one hand, I want him out there because he’s fun and good and helps the team win. At the same rate, it is blatantly obvious he needs rest. Robinson’s injuries traveled from his heel to his knee and it seems like things aren’t going to spontaneously alleviate themselves. Next game is Thursday, so hopefully the impending rest will work wonders.
- In an attempt to glean something positive from the negative, I wonder if injury is actually teaching him how to use those dastardly old man tricks. More boxing out and staying ground bound. Less wild block attempts. Leveraging your weight to keep spry athletes off balance. I dunno for sure, but I’ve thought crazier thoughts.
- The Quickley floater is so weird. Like... how can it be this good!? Is he the second coming of Tony Parker but with deeper range?
- Cole Anthony and Terrence Ross both tried to answer Quickley with floaters of their own but they don’t got it like that. They float their bodies through the air and then launch a tear drop. Quickley gets to his spot and pushes up a soft and warm pat of butter.
- A quiet affair for Kevin Knox who was a -9 in just under 10 minutes. At one point he had a jab step that spun Aaron Gordon all the way around, then drive and got fouled for his ninth and tenth free throws of the year.
- Reggie Bullock 2-8 from deep. Alec Burks needs to hurry up!
- Obi Toppin was hurried off the floor, only getting 8 minutes today, as he’s struggling to see ball and man, the game is just moving fast for him as he’s learning a new role. I’m not especially worried about the young man right now. He can do some things and his time will come.
- Kick outs that lead to Randle 3’s at the top of the key often have a swing pass that could get a slightly better shooter pulling the trigger with slightly more room. As magnificent as he’s been there are still reads to make and levels to reach.
- When you jump first on Randle drives, your whole life is over. But the Magic did enough staying on their feet to give Jules trouble. So he missed a ton of shots on the interior today. Nevertheless he got in the mix and made shit happen all over the court. Despite a season low one assist, Julius has them running through so many actions until eventually Elfrid Payton slows it down so that he can get his bearings.
- Did I mention misses on the interior? Because...
This possession just made me spontaneously vomit pic.twitter.com/IXBn4Tcajc— The Strickland (@TheStrickland) January 18, 2021
- I so desperately miss playing basketball myself. I can’t wait to get vaccinated so I can lope around the court, throwing pristine outlets that skim over several sets of hands, just out in front of everyone only to drop perfectly into a streaker’s palm. I want that to be me sending someone baseline, then hitting them back door, they didn’t even realize they were open! Tricking people who get caught watching the birdie is my whole thing. That and saying dumb shit while I shuffle around. So when Vuc got poked in the eye late in the game, I would have been walking around telling everyone “That’s a COVID test.”
In the end the game ball goes to Mike Breen and Clyde Frazier cus the players weren’t up to the task. It truly was an ugly event with the Knicks holding consecutive opponents under 85. The first time since the Raptors did that three years ago! Dad said it best.
He’s obviously at his best when he gets to yell BANG but Mike Breen carries such a refined set of tools for calling truly dogshit basketball. He’s had practice— Seth Rosenthal (@seth_rosenthal) January 18, 2021
More to come as it comes. Until then, go read this twitter thread about the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. from the brilliant Michael Harriot!
Here are some of my favorite stories about Martin Luther King Jr. that you won't hear today from people who wanted to paint him as this adorable teddy bear and not the radical that he was.— michaelharriot (@michaelharriot) January 18, 2021