Let the Allonzo Trier hype begin! Fans got to see why Coach Fizdale is ok with iso plays for Trier as the rookie gunner went for 20 first half points and finished with an efficient 25 points on 8/14 shooting (8/8 from the line) in 26 minutes. Yes, it’s just one game and a preseason one at that. But on a team low with players who can create their own shots, Trier displayed why it’ll be hard to keep him stashed in the G-League.
The Knicks started very slow, going down 9-20 early. The ball wasn’t moving and the team was lethargic on defense. Trier became that offensive spark with his assortment of moves. His mid-range jumper was money and he got to the rim with an elusive first step. His teammates recognized he was on fire and rode the wave to take a small halftime lead.
Trier is on a two-way contract. This means should the Knicks want to add him to the 15-man roster, cuts need to be made. With Joakim Noah on the way out, NY might also take a hard look at removing Luke Kornet if Trier keeps this up.
KEEPING POISE: The Knicks had a comfortable 12-point lead early in the 4th when Fizdale cleared his bench. Of course, the bench players lead by Baker and Mudiay got too lax and allowed the Nets to crawl back in and narrow the lead to just two points in the final three minutes. From there, Damyean Dotson (4/4, 8 points) proved to be a stabilizing force by hitting two clutch mid-range jumpers.
On the defensive end, Baker had a key steal (his second of the evening) that lead to a Hicks fast-break dunk to put the Knicks in control for good.
One of the big question marks this years is how the young kids would respond in late game situations. Mistakes were made, but I was encouraged to see no one got down on themselves and the defensive intensity was high.
BEAST MODE: Enes Kanter went on a rampage last night, dropping 22 points and grabbing 20 rebounds in 27 minutes. For all his defensive woes, Kanter is a valuable piece when used correctly. I don’t believe we’ll be paying him the money he wants to keep him, but expect many more light-out nights like this during the year.
QUIET NIGHTS: Kevin Knox had a lowkey game, shooting 50% (3/6) and scoring 7 points. Mitchell Robinson didn’t light up the scoreboard either (2 points, 2 rebounds), but he had two sensational blocks. One came while stuffing a layup attempt. The second was even more impressive when he chased down a three-point attempt and managed to keep the ball inbounds. The league will learn so enough to respect this kid’s wingspan.
GUARD WATCH: Frank Ntilikina (9 points, 2 blocks) had some good moments. Early on he drove to the basket for an emphatic dunk. His defense included a strong block to prevent a layup which lead to a Trier three-point play.
Hardaway spent too much time camped out on the perimeter. He was 3/11 with his best moments coming when he decided to get in the paint. Mudiay was just awful all-around (1/5 and -10). Even with our roster I’m finding difficulty figuring out where he fits.
The Knicks conclude their preseason Friday night at home against the Pelicans.