Eight and Counting: Knicks Blow 27-Point Lead at Home to Wizards


Get well soon, KP. That was my first thought watching this Valentine’s Day abomination at Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks blew a 27-point lead (season-high for the entire NBA) and a 37-point performance from Tim Hardaway Jr. (32 in the first half) to drop their eighth straight game.

WHEN THE BLEEDING STARTED: Hardaway had a flamethrower in the first half. It was nice to see him get out that shooting slump and look for high percentage shots. A  Hardaway three put NY up 68-41 with 2:56 left in the half.

Then came the collapse. From that point until late in the third, the Wizards would outscore the Knicks 42-15 and eventually tie it at 83 with 3:32 left. The main catalyst was Bradley Beal, who shot 14/22 and finished with 36 points. New York would shoot just 22% (5/23) in the third and get outscored 39-15.

New York did better in the fourth, but as usual couldn’t get crucial stops when it mattered.

HORNACEK FINALLY GETS A CLUE: Look, we know this season’s lost. But at least try to develop our long-term young guys. Hornacek claimed he’d play with the rotations after the All-Star break to get Frank Ntilikina, who only played 11 minutes, more time. Trey Burke didn’t even see the court this game while old vet Jarrett Jack lodged 28 minutes.

I get it — Horny wants to save his job and believes the best way to achieve that is riding proven vets like Courtney Lee and Jack. My guess is upper management intervened to ensure the season’s second half has the youth focus.

The Knicks fall to 23-36 and return after the break on February 22 against the Magic.

Useless Backcourt: Sixers 108, Knicks 92


Be forewarned — it’s only going to get more ugly from here on out. The Knicks were in Philly last night and delivered another stinker of a second half to lose 108-92. I would love to say “trust the process,” but outside of hoping for a high lottery pick, this looks like a team without direction.

BACKCOURT WOES: In my recap of the Indy loss, I mentioned some concerns about the Mudiay-Ntilikina backcourt, namely being that neither can shoot. They combined for 3/11 and just 2 assists in 40 minutes of play. Frank was especially awful in that he didn’t score (0/4) or get any assists in his 21 minutes. In today’s game, you can’t expect to be competitive with these type of numbers.

More alarming was the fact Trey Burke only got four minutes. This was a game where I would’ve liked to see if he could’ve given us an offensive spark. Ironically, Jarrett Jack proved to be our most productive PG, tallying 11 points in 18 minutes. However, his failure to get even one assist shows how bad the offense was.

2ND HALF SURRENDER: After going down by as much as 12, the Kicks managed to only trail by two (55-57) at the half. But our usual glaring defensive holes didn’t give you much hope for improvement. The Sixers were shooting 61% (57% from three). We went down early in the third due to relying on crappy long jumpers, and then started to get killed by transition buckets from Ben Simmons and Robert Convington.

The Knicks made their usual faux runs and even tied it late in the third before Philly started to pull away. We got outscored 13-22 in the fourth and the miserable evening was capped by backup TJ McConnell notching his first-career triple double.

HARDAWAY STILL LOST: Junior’s shooting woes continued last night. He was 4/16 and a putrid 0/8 from downtown. Not to mention he got killed repeatedly on screens. His confidence is in the toilet right now and I’m beginning to wonder if he’s feeling any ill effects from the leg fracture.

“I wish I could make a fucking shot,” Hardaway fumed in the post game. “I am frustrated. Kind of in a slump right now. Just got to try to shoot my way out of it. Can’t harp on it. You can’t keep on letting it go. I mean, it’s too many games in a row now. I’ve got to figure it out. My teammates are doing a great job of encouraging me every step of the way. I’m not going to lie and sit here and laugh about it. It’s frustrating. Pissing me off.”

POSITIVES: Kanter had his umpteenth double double of the year with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Courtney Lee was our lone spark of the bench with 18 points on 50% shooting (3/4 from downtown). Beasley shot 9/17 to finish with 22 points.

The Knicks have now dropped seven straight and sit at ninth in the “tankathon” sweepstakes. We face the Wizards Wednesday night at MSG.


Mudiay Shows Promise in Knicks Loss to Pacers


Losses are to be expected in the wake of the devastating ACL injury last week to Kristaps Porzingis. In the meantime, us fans will have to look for hope where we can find it. Last night it came in the debut of Emmanuel Mudiay, who had a double double (14 points, 10 assists) and played most of his 29 minutes alongside Frank Ntilikina.

Hornacek’s rotations looked the best it has in weeks with aging starter Jarrett Jack only getting 8 minutes, allowing the young guards to work through mistakes and build chemistry. Ntilikina (12 points,+8) looked more comfortable playing off-ball and allowing Mudiay to push the pace and initiate offense.

However, the big concern remains Mudiay’s shaky jumper (5/14 FG). There were several times where he passed up on open shots to try and get closer to the rim. This allowed defenders enough time to close out and force the offense to reset. He can get away with that against the second units of decent teams like Indy. But against starters or good teams, it remains to be seen how detrimental his lack of shooting will be to our backcourt and overall offense.

Outside of the backcourt, Kyle O’Quinn (14 points, 9 rebounds) and Enes Kanter (17 points, 11 rebounds) delivered their usual gritty efforts. O’Quinn was an early fourth quarter spark and at one point scored 7 straight points (including his first trey of the season) to bring the Knicks within 10 after trailing by 20.

Unfortunately, the Knicks just couldn’t get stops when it mattered. They repeatedly gave up offense rebounds late in the fourth and couldn’t contain Victor Oladipo, who came on strong from a slow first half to drop 30 points in a 121-113 Pacers win.

We’ll see if the Mudiay-Ntilikina tandem can repeat their chemistry tonight at the Garden against the 76ers.

Season Sweep: Kanter and Porzingis Dominate Nets 111-95


If only we could play the Nets the rest of the season. Riding monster efforts from Kristaps Porzingis (28 pts, 6/8 from 3) and Enes Kanter (20pts 20 rebs, 5 asts), the Knicks completed a 4-game season sweep of the Nets 111-95. After falling behind 3-0 in the opening minute, the Knicks never trailed and go whatever they wanted on offense.

KP’s CAREER NIGHT: Porzingis set a personal record with six three-pointers. The Nets were a step-slow in respecting the Unicorn’s range and he never lost his early rhythm. With Kanter dominating the post, this gave the offense a potent inside-outside punch that kept the floor spread.

PROTECT KANTER AT ALL COSTS: Listen, I want all talk of trading this guy to stop. Defensive issues aside, he’s one of the more talented big men we’ve had in years. His offensive rebounding (5) sucked the life out of Brooklyn when they attempted to make runs. Going 8/10 from the floor and looking for teammates (5 assists) makes this one of Kanter’s best games of the season.


DEFENSIVE EFFORT: Although Brooklyn was held to 42% shooting, there was still glaring issues that can’t happen against credible teams. The Nets got multiple open threes but couldn’t convert. It was more alarming that several opportunities like this came in the fourth quarter when the Knicks’s 25-point lead had been slashed to 10.

On the positive side, the Knicks were after it when it came to passing lanes and preventing drives. Frank Ntilikina looked solid at two-guard with Trey Bruke manning the point. Frankie was a +10 off the bench with 8 points, 5 assists and one steal.

The Knicks return tonight with a tough road game against the Celtics.


Kanter, KP and Burke Show Out as Knicks Cruise Past Suns


Give Enes Kanter an inch and he’ll take a mile’s worth of space in your head. Devin Booker found that out last night as he let Kanter goad him into a second tech while his Suns were outhustled at home 107-85. After three games that saw us give up over 120 points, it was a great change of pace to see the team playing with some fire and demoralizing another squad. We can also expect this game to start the rumblings for a new starting point guard.

KANTER GOES OFF: With Phoenix missing their best defender in Tyson Chandler, Kanter was able to dominate. Greg Monroe is not known for his defense nor rebounding and couldn’t do anything with Kanter, who led the team with 20 points and 10 rebounds. He was active in rolling to the basket and got several easy layups and dunks. But his biggest play came with four minutes remaining in the third when he blocked Devin Booker. He let Booker know about it and the Suns guard, who was already was struggling on 4/12 shooting, shoved Kanter in frustration.

Booker had received a tech earlier in the game for a flagrant 1 on Tim Hardaway, who he pushed in the back on a fast break. The Kanter shove proved costly as Booker was tossed with his second tech. Without Booker, the Suns offense got even more anemic and the Knicks lead was 81-67 entering the fourth.

TREY BURKE BUILDS HIS CASE: There might be something to Trey Burke’s physically resembling the second coming of Allen Iverson. He scored 15 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, looking unstoppable at mid-range and getting to the basket. The pace picked up considerably with his floor presence and the Suns were prevented from the quick double-teams on KP and others we see when Jarrett Jack is in the lineup.

I’m not ready to jump the gun just yet on Burke starting. However, if he keeps this up for five more games, Coach Hornacek has a no-brainer of a decision to make.


QUIET BUT EFFECTIVE KP: Porzingis didn’t have a monster game, but the Unicorn was impactful on both ends. He shot an efficient 6/11 from the floor, prowled the paint with three blocks, and broke the game open in the third on a fast break dunk that made it 67-51. I’ve noticed that KP plays more relaxed when others have their offense going. I was impressed to see him quickly passing out to reset the offense when good post-up positioning wasn’t there.


STARTERS GET IT DONE: Four starters hit double figures and everyone had monster plus-minus numbers: Lee +27, Jack +23, Kanter +22, Hardaway +19, and KP +15. The third quarter, where the Knicks outscored the Suns 28-18, essentially put the game out of reach.

THE ROAD TRIP ENDS: Going in, most of us believed this extended road trip would decide the season. That’s not quite the case since our 3-4 record keeps us in limbo. The playoffs are still within reach but so is a high draft pick. No matter which direction we go, my concern remains that are young guys (KP, Frank, Dotson etc.) continue to develop and not get stagnant at the expense to playing time for guys who aren’t in our long-term future.

The Knicks are back at MSG on Tuesday January 30 against the Nets.

Jack Nails Floater, Knicks Hold Off Mavs

New York Knicks v Dallas Mavericks
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

With the scored tied at 92 late in the fourth, it looked like our beloved Knicks were setting us up for another heartbreaker. Ahead 90-77 with 4:48 remaining, New York gave up a 15-2 run and were desperate to regain the momentum. The refs had swallowed their whistles and allowed the Mavs to administer prison ball tactics. Who would be our savior?

Look no further than Jarrett Jack. On the day when his contract was guaranteed for the rest of the season, Jack would use a Porzingis screen to come down a wide open lane to hit a floater to take the lead for good at 94-92. I give Jack a lot of grief on the defensive end, but on this night he was a key contributor, notching 12 points and 8 assists.

NTILIKINA LOCKS IN: The narrative of this game centered around the matchup between Frank and the man the Mavs selected right after him in the draft, Dennis Smith Jr. It was pretty anti-climatic as the two rarely matched up. However, Frank’s stat line in 25 minutes shows how versatile his contributions were (7 pts, 7 rebs, 5 asts, 2 blks). Wait until this kid develops a consistent jump shot. Matter of fact, I hope he was paying close attention to Jack’s floater. He sorely needs that in his repertoire.

PORZINGIS WAKES UP: It appears playing in front his idol Dirk Nowitzki is exactly what the doctor ordered for KP’s recent woes. The league’s favorite unicorn scored 29 points, grabbed 8 boards, and was a perfect 8/8 from the line. But there was a persistent problem on Sunday. KP only shot 9/25, and a big part of that was the refs allowed the Mavs, mainly Wes Matthews, to get very physical without a worry about fouls.

I feel like the word is out that KP is a “soft” player who can’t generate consistent offense under physical play. There is some truth to that as KP hasn’t yet shown the ability to score consistently when guys get up under him. It’s something he needs to counter by working the refs and making quicker decisions with the ball. His late isos on the block and perimeter become easier to guard in crunch time. Luckily, we won’t have to see much more of that when Hardaway is back next week (fingers crossed…).


[Video] Beasley’s 30 Spoils Melo’s Homecoming


It was a bittersweet evening last night for Carmelo Anthony’s homecoming to Madison Square Garden. On one hand, it was sad to see Melo in another team’s uniform after giving his prime years to the city and never truly wanting to leave. On the other hand, the Knicks seem headed in the right direction as they outplayed OKC without Porzingis to win going away and improve to three games over .500. There was a lot to celebrate last night as the team appears to have brought in to Hornacek’s system just in time to face a challenging road stretch.

B-EASY’S GREEN LIGHT:  To say Beasley’s had an up and down season so far is an understatement. We’ve seen him lost on defense and out of control on offense. But tonight and in recent games, the former #2 pick has been locked in. He knows without Hardaway and KP, he’s one of the few guys on the squad that can get his own shot. He did that last night in spades by thoroughly outplaying Melo to the tune of 30 points on 11/17 shooting.

We saw post-ups on mismatches, slashing to the rim to score or draw fouls, and long-range shooting. And most importantly, we saw Beasley moving the ball and hitting guys like O’Quinn for open dunks out of double teams.

I’m surprised Beasley didn’t get an MVP chant last night.


LEE PROVIDES BACKUP: Courtney Lee was excellent tonight, tallying 20 points (3/6 from downtown) and getting to the line (7/7). He did a good job making Paul George work on offense and managed to nab two steals. When he’s aggressive and looking for his shot, it makes it much harder for teams to collapse on our main offensive weapons.

JACK CLOSES THE SHOW: Frank Ntilikina has been the closing PG in recent games, but he struggled mightily in keeping up with Russell Westbrook (25 points, 7 reb, 7 ast). So Hornacek went with Jack, who relied on veteran savvy to time Westbrook’s drives for steal opportunities. He pestered Russ and did a good job of running him into double teams and settling for mid-range jumpers. And Jack nearly had his own triple double, finishing with 12 points, 8 rebound and 7 assists.

BENCH PUTS IT AWAY: OKC was only down 5 in the fourth quarter before our bench players effectively put the game away. Doug McDermott was a man possessed early in the quarter, hitting 3 three-pointers and finishing with 13 points. Kyle O’Quinn prowled the paint on offense and defense, finishing with 9 points, 7 rebounds and a team-best +16. And let’s not forget the scrappyRon Baker, who chipped in 11 points on 3/4 shooting from downtown. But his biggest contribution was on defense, where he pestered the perimeter (2 steals).

TIRED THUNDER: Although many had their doubts about us winning with Porzingis out, OKC were on the second night of a back to back after playing a triple-overtime game in Philly. Those heavy legs became apparent in the fourth when OKC just couldn’t push the tempo. They hoped jumpers and threes would get them back in it, but when we closed those opportunities none of them had the energy left to attack the basket.

Melo looked the worst of the bunch. Outside of hitting his first two jumpers and an alley oop later, he had a horrible shooting night. Melo finished with just 12 points on 5/18 shooting. His miserable homecoming was punctuated by getting denied at the rim late in the fourth by O’Quinn. I hope our old star can get it together out there.

As for us, I’m starting to feel very confident we’re developing the chemistry to be a playoff team.


Rusty KP? No Problem! Lee’s 24 Lifts Knicks Over Grizzlies


Kristaps Porzingis struggled in his return from a bad ankle sprain, but Courtney Lee, Jarrett Jack and Enes Kanter provided enough support to hold off the Grizzlies 99-88 and improve to 11-5 at home. As we’ve seen in most home games this season, New York started off slow and caught fire in the second half. However, there remain glaring weaknesses that need to be addressed.

THREE-POINT DEFENSE: No team is ever out of it against us due to our poor perimeter defense. After going up by 17 late in the third, the Grizzlies chipped away behind threes and had cut it to six in the fourth. If it were a matter of talent, I’d be more understanding. But we saw in the closing minutes that guys like Lee and Lance Thomas can lock down the perimeter when needed. Against subpar teams like this, we can get away it. But as the schedule gets tougher in the new year, this will sink us when facing the decent and elite squads.


KP’s OFF NIGHT: Porzingis looked like the KP from his rookie season. The Grizzlies were physical and prevented him from getting set in the post. He started 3/9 and later struggled to make quick passes when the double teams came.

But its how you finish. The Grizz made a late fourth-quarter run to get within six 88-82. KP got physical and pushed off the defender to hit a long jumper, and an open three on the next possession to push the lead out of reach at 95-82 with two minutes left. A funny moment came when he got a tech for hanging on the rim after an alley-oop from Kanter. I’ll take a KP off-night (18 points, 42% FG) when it comes with a win.

ROLE-PLAYER SUPPORT: Courtney Lee led the way with 24 points (10/17 FG). He did it from three (4/6), got to the rim, and played strong defense. When the Grizzlies got it to six in the fourth, Lee was the player who broke the momentum with a slashing drive to make it 90-82. It was also good to see him taking time to hold Micheal Beasley accountable on defense.

Jarrett Jack kept the offense flowing to the tune of 10 assists and chipped in 10 points. Lances Thomas had a quiet scoring night (8 points), but his value can’t be understated. He was a +19 while on the court due to his defense. And late in the fourth, you saw him calling out defensive switches and making teammates press fullcourt to make sure the lead was held.

Kanter never got into a complete offensive flow due to Marc Gasol. He was 4/10 (12 points), but still managed to deliver a double-double by grabbing 12 rebounds.

And as much as we give Beasley grief for his defensive woes, the man was a +19 off the bench with 14 points.

TRAP GAME TONIGHT: We’re facing the lowly Bulls, but it’s not like we haven’t gotten burned by trash teams before (see the Hawks game). Plus it’s a road game. It’ll be interesting to see if the squad has learned their lesson.


Porzingis and Hardaway Jr. Both Drop 30+, Stomp Cavs 114-95


Eastern Conference Finals here we come! Ok, I’m getting ahead of myself, but every fan of the blue and orange has to be encouraged by the total team effort last night that lead to a shocking 114-95 win on the road over the Cavs. We saw everything you want to see from a young squad trying to find an identity: poise, scrappy defense, ball movement and hustle.

Will it be this good every game? No, but consistent effort like this will put them in position to be competitive every night.

KP and THJ PUT IN WORK: Porzingis and Hardaway went off to historic proportions. Porzingis had another 30-point game (first in franchise history to start the season with four 30+ point games out of five) and neutralize Tristan Thompson by getting him in foul trouble. Although most of KP’s damage was done in the first half, he had a few timely defensive stops in the fourth (including a block on D-Rose), and a three-pointer to push the Knick lead to 13 with less than three minutes remaining.

Hardaway came into this game shooting an abysmal 28%. Early on, the struggle continued until Tim just exploded from the perimeter. He was red hot behind the line (3/6, 50%). And once the close-outs came, Tim went aggressively into the lane to hit layups or fouls. When the smoke cleared, Hardaway finished with 34 points (11/19) and a +22 when on the floor.

We can thank these two for the reason the Knicks had a 29-19 lead after one quarter, and lead by as much a 19 late in the third.



LOCKDOWN: Unlike the first home game against Detroit, the Knicks didn’t fall apart when the Cavs made a second-half run. They slashed a 19-point lead to six before the Knicks exploded on a 27-7 run to break Cleveland’s spirit. Here the supporting cast shined. Frank Ntilikina struggled with his shot (2/5), but used his length for deflections, steals (2) and pushing the ball to keep teammates involved.

Courtnet Lee had his own milestone with his first double double (15 points, 10 rebounds) of his career. In fact, four of the five starters hit double figures. And the one who didn’t, Jarrett Jack, was the catalyst for the ball movement with nine assists.

The Knicks won’t get to rest on their laurels. They face the scrappy Nuggets at home tomorrow night to complete the back to back. Letdown or another momentum-builder?

[Video] More 4th Quarter Failings: Jazz 108, Knicks 101


We’ve come to the point in the season where most Knick fans have accepted we’re a bad team. You either continue to watch games out of habit, to see if our younger players further develop, or hope we’ll continue to lose to gain better draft position. You can put me in all categories as we limp to the end of the season having dropped six of our last seven.

KP GETS CLUTCH MINUTES: Porzingis got in foul trouble AGAIN (5), but managed to stay on the court and get to be the offensive focal point in the fourth. We desperately need him to get confidence and use his length to space the floor for others. While he had a strong offensive night (24 points), he struggled defensively dealing with the strength of Rudy Gobert, who posted a career-high 35 points and grabbed 13 boards (11 on the offensive glass).

ROSE STOPPED BY INJURY: D-Rose was having a good night (17 points, 6 points) until a right foot injury took him out in the third. He would not return, and luckily x-rays came back negative.

The rest of the team seemed to be just going through the motions. There wasn’t any flow to the offense late in the fourth, and that allowed Utah to outscore New York 36-26 in the fourth.

The tank…er…season continues on tonight with the Knicks visiting the Trailblazers.