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What happens when you face the statistically worst defense in the league? You drop 123 points on their head. But what also happens with your defense is equally as trash? You still lose because you gave up 131 points at home! The Knicks continue to be the laughingstock of the league with another L to fall 11 games under .500.
Coach Hornacek is at his wit’s end and let the starters have it to start his post-game interview.
Couldn’t guard anybody. Simple as that. They should be embarrassed by the way they couldn’t guard anybody… So those guys are happy scoring their points. We’re going to lose every game.
The venom was warranted. The Nuggets at one point late in the first quarter were shooting 75% and finished 6/11 from three-point range. Luckily, the Knicks were on their own shooting barrage and were only down 2 (34-32) to start the second quarter.
The Knicks played their best ball last night with the second unit, who pushed the pace and attacked the Nuggets defense in transition. Kyle O’Quinn (16 points on 8/9, 4 blocks) got after it on both ends. Willy Hernangomez (12 points) showed great hands catching needle-thread passes from Brandon Jennings (6 points, 13 assists) on fast breaks.
But it would all go to hell once the starters returned. A 12-point second quarter lead evaporated via an 11-3 Nuggets run and the Knicks, despite scoring 66 POINTS, could only settle for a two-point halftime lead.
YOU CAN’T OUTSCORE BAD DEFENSE: The second half was just an abomination on the defensive end. Kristaps Porzingis, starting his first game as a center, got a somber wake-up call from Nikola Jokic, who lit him and the rest of the Knicks bigs up for a career-high 40 points. It wasn’t just points — KP was getting rag-dolled in there when it came to rebounding. He’s simply not strong enough yet to bang consistently in the paint. Still, I agree with Hornacek that KP’s lack of physicality doesn’t excuse everything that happened last night.
With the length, it should help, he should be quicker than that guy. He should be able to get up on him. He might get overpowered at some point but a lot of (Jokic’s) shots, he just lined ’em up. Spun the ball around with the seams and just shot it in. If our guys think that’s a challenged shot, we need to redefine what that is.
WHEN 21 POINTS IN 12 MINUTES AIN’T ENOUGH: Carmelo Anthony, being the quintessential scorer that he is, thought he could shoot us back into it. He went 8/8 in the fourth quarter with 4 three-pointers, including several that got the deficit back in single digits. But it was all for naught since the Knicks couldn’t get stops. One late back-breaking sequence saw the Knicks give up a four-point play after Melo had cut the deficit to six.
Tonight it was bad. As players we’ve got to take that upon ourselves and hold ourselves accountable for that and we have to do better. We have to do better on the defensive end.
The Knicks will remain home for a national afternoon game against the Spurs on Sunday (February 12).