The Youth Movement Era Begins

Summer League: Knox Goes Off for 29, But Knicks Fall to Lakers

KevinKnox_Lakers

Kevin Knox had another impressive game last night in the Knicks’ 109-92 loss to the Lakers, scoring a game-high 29 points. Without Frank Ntilikina (groin), the Knicks had struggles with pace and executing plays. The team still showed real fight in coming back from 25 down and had a brief lead before running out of gas.

KNOX SETTLES INTO HIS BEST SCORING NIGHT:  Our prized rookie was looking shaky early on, going 0/6 in the first quarter. Without Knox’s offense, thr Lakers had a 53-42 halftime lead and extended it to 25 early in the third.

Then Knox exploded. He had a 16-point third quarter punctuated by two late three pointers to get New York within striking distance. By the fourth, the Knicks were able to get a brief 82-78 lead before falling apart defensively and allowing the Lakers to knock down three consecutive three-pointers and pull away.

“We were down — I wanted to make sure I did the best I can to help my team come back,’’ Knox said. “It was good feeling. My teammates did a great job finding me.

“Collectively it was a good team comeback. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the win.”

Knox went 5/7 from downtown and I’m already seeing visions of excellent floor spacing with Hardaway, KP and Ntilikina all being threats from behind the arc. Knox was 9/22 overall, but that’s mainly due to some ill-advised fourth quarter shots while attempting to get us back in the game. At one point, Knox had 27 points in 27 minutes on 17 attempts.

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GETTING MITCH BACK INTO TEAM BALL: Our other rook in Mitchell Robinson put up good individual numbers — 13 points (5/6), 8 rebounds and 3 blocks. But he also lodged a minus 33 on the floor, the highest between both clubs. At times his athleticism lets him get away with mistakes, like this impressive closeout block on a three-pointer.

But the Lakers and Jazz have shown being a freakish athlete can’t overcome good ball movement. Tightening up his help defense and rotations are the two main areas where Robinson will need to improve.

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ALLONZO TRIER UNDER CONTROL: ‘Zo is not a point guard. It was a lot to ask to put the ball in his hands so much with Ntilikina out. Surprisingly, he stayed under control and delivered his most balanced game to date: 21 points (8/13), 10 rebounds and 5 assists.

We’ll need all the scoring we can get this year so I’m hopeful Zo can bring this mentality to our bench unit.

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IS DOTSON OK?: For the second consecutive game, Damyean Dotson has looked terrible. In 29 minutes managed just 4 points (2/9) and was 0/3 from downtown. It’s still very early but going through a slump already is concerning. I can see Trier taking his spot if he continues to struggle in preseason.

The Knicks will enter the Summer League playoffs on Thursday afternoon (ESPN2, 4:30 p.m.) against the Celtics.

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