On Wednesday, the New York Knicks (35-45) lost again, this time to the Brooklyn Bums. The first half of the game was a delight. The second half reminded us why the Knicks are outside of the playoffs and peering through the window at the party. “There’s Giannis! He’s so cool,” says envious Knick, secretly spying from the bushes. “And DeMar! And Ja by the punchbowl! Gee, I hope I get back in again someday….”
Me, too, young Knick. Maybe next year.
Meanwhile, in the District of Columbia, the Washington Wizards (35-45) are 5-5 over the last 10 games. They started the season strong and faded quickly to the back of the pack, much like our Knickerbockin’ heroes. When these two clubs last met, New York won a 100-97 squeaker. Kristaps Porziņģis and Julius Randle both led their respective teams with 18 points, and Randle grabbed a season-high 17 boards.
Tonight, they duke it out for eleventh place in the East. Two games left and you still read the previews? Bless you. Tip-off’s at 7:00 p.m., Wes Unseld fans.
Tomáš Satoranský (6’7”, 210 lbs) has started eight of the 20 games in which he has appeared this season. The 30-year old point guard from Prague is averaging 4.9 points and 4.6 dishes per game. He’ll face Alec Burks, who put up 24 points against the Nets.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (6’5”, 204 lbs) has averaged 13.2 points, 3.4 boards, and 1.9 dimes this season. The former Georgia Bulldog is no great defensive concern but shoots 39% from deep on 5.3 attempts. Challenging him for the Knicks will be Evan Fournier, who mysteriously sat out the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s game, although they could have used his shooting. Ah, Thibs, you mysterious maniac.
Rookie Corey Kispert (6’7”, 220 lbs) is averaging 8.1 points and 2.7 rebounds. He also seems to be a middling-to-stinky defender. On Wednesday, his counterpart, RJ Barrett, logged 45 minutes and 23 points and went 2-for-13 in the second half while the Nets stormed back for the win. Comparatively, Durant got 23 points and 10 rebounds after the intermission. If RJ intends to become an elite player, the still-21-year-old will need to learn how to consistently take control in the final frame. I bet he does.
Starting the last three games, Toppin has averaged 19.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 36.4 minutes. In his last eight appearances, Toppin has averaged 15.4 points, five rebounds, and 2.4 assists and shot 56% from the floor, 40% from beyond the arc. That’s pretty good production from a bencher who averaged 15-ish minutes per until recently. Ah, Thibs, you confounding curmudgeon.
Kristaps Porziņģis (7’3”, 240 lbs) joined the Wizards in February, and in 17 games, he has averaged 22.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.9 assists. The large Latvian is shooting 37% from deep on 4.6 attempts for his new club. If Mitchell Robinson has recovered from his illness, he’ll start at center for New York. If not: Jericho Sims, baby!
Dunno if you caught it, but Jericho’s modest flex after standing tall against Kevin Durant was a season highlight for me. I couldn’t find a clip for you, so this has to suffice:
How great was Wes Unseld, Sr.? Considered the greatest Bullet of all time, he played his entire 13-year career with Washington, averaged 14 rebounds per game despite standing 6’7”, and won Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season. Wes grabbed 18.2 boards a game as a rook. What do you think he would make today? $15 million per year? $18 mil?
It’s cool that Wes, Jr. now coaches his dad’s club. I wish him success—just not at New York’s expense. The season series is split between the teams, 1-1. The Knicks are one-point ‘dogs at the time of posting, according to DraftKings. Look for Thibs to rabidly drive the Knicks to a win tonight, while the fan-base wails about lottery odds. Prediction: New York by a dozen.
Capital One Arena. Friday. 7:00 p.m. Tank, tank, tank, Knicks!
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