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.
Last game, the Knicks were rightly trashed for a despicable effort against the Lakers. Tonight, the effort was there, but a few miscues in the final four minutes allowed the Clippers sans Chris Paul to pull out an 119-115 at Madison Square Garden.
Yes, outside of Charles Oakley’s arrest there was an exciting game that took place.
BIG THREE LOCKED IN: This was one of the rare times that Melo, Rose and KP all played well. All three scored 20 or more and shot at least 50%. Melo lead the way with 28 points and 9 boards. At times, he was engaged in an intense duel with Blake Griffin, who had a first quarter rampage with 18 points and finished with 32. Melo kept his heat-check shots to a minimum and played well in the flow of the offense.
What I liked most about his game is he got to the rim and in most cases finished, got fouled or kicked out. The 1 assist doesn’t reflect it, but he had a few hockey assists and it kept everyone involved.
We got our best game since D-Rose’s return with 20 points, 7 boards and 8 assists on 63% shooting. The most surprising thing about it was he did a lot of his damage on mid-range jumpers from all over the court. That was pivotal in keeping the floor spaced as the defense couldn’t pack the paint for his drives. And for the first time in what feels like ages, you saw Rose actively looking to pass to KP and others.
Looking to keep Porzingis involved did wonders for the kid’s confidence. He didn’t feel the need to defer to the vets and attacked the Clippers defense from the perimeter and inside with cuts to the rim. The three-pointer was there (4/7) and he finished with 27 points, 6 boards and 2 steals. The two glaring issues were the unwise personal fouls (5) and being unable to keep Deandre Jordan off the boards.
KP didn’t foul out, so in a twisted way that can be seen as progress. But if we had him for the stretches he had to sit, the game might have turned out differently. As for getting muscled in the paint by Jordan, that is something that only time can correct. However, it’s a good indicator that we are still a few years away before KP can consistently battle at the center position.
DEFENSE AND BENCH: So as good as the Big Three played, how did we lose? First, the defense simply couldn’t sustain their energy and focus. After outscoring the Clippers 95-88 over the first three quarters, the Clippers stormed back to outscore the Knicks 31-20 over the final 12 minutes. Former Knick Jamal Crawford burned us for 20 points (nine in the fourth) off the bench and even Deandre Jordan hit four straight free throws.
The other area that killed us was a lack of bench scoring. In recent games, we could count on a great showing from some combination of Jennings, O’Quinn, Holiday or Hernangomez. But last night they were overwhelmed and outscored 36-18. The highest Knicks bench contributors were Hernangomez and Holiday, who scored 5 points apiece on a combined 2/9 shooting.
The Knicks are home again on Friday to face the Nuggets.
Getting blown out by the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers is one thing. Tonight, the Knicks proved themselves hopeless as they began an important four-game stretch by getting outhustled and pushed around by a struggling Lakers team to lose 121-107 at Madison Square Garden. The boos weren’t reserved for Melo this evening since it was the entire team that embarrassed themselves.
NO DEFENSE: The Knicks found themselves in a 10-point hole after the first quarter (19-29) by giving up 5 three-pointers and shooting just 37%. Things got no better in the second as Lou Williams abused our guards on the perimeter and Julius Randle feasted on the paint.
The Knicks went down by as much as 27 points in the first half. In the third, a few runs got it to 14, but the horrid defense prevented New York from getting any closer. The Lakers obliterated the Knicks in the paint 64-38 mostly off of PNR, back-door cuts and second chance buckets.
MELO A MAN ALONE: Because the entire team lacked effort, the MSG crowd couldn’t focus their venom on Melo. He didn’t give them much reason to being the sole Knick that shot well. Going 10/17 from the field, Melo finished with 26 points and 5 assists. Outside of his usual defensive lapses, Melo’s only other bad area was tallying 4 turnovers.
ROSE RUSTY, PORZINGIS OUT OF SORTS: Derrick Rose’s first game back from a badly sprained ankle is what you’d expect. He was completely out of rhythm over his 32 minutes, going 2/8 (5 points), having 3 turnovers and only 3 assists.
Kristaps Porzingis had no excuse. After a strong finish to the Nets game, he started 0/6 from the field and had just 1 point at halftime. He picked it up over the second half and finished with 16 points despite shooting 5/14. The rebounding was ok, but too often he got beat on simple PNR plays. For positives, he nearly had a double double with 9 boards and was not in foul trouble for a change (2 personals). I don’t buy the
I don’t buy the sore Achilles excuse; right now it’s all mental with KP.
BENCH POSITIVES: Everyone sucked defensively, but the bench had their moments. Brandon Jennings’s streaking shooting was pivotal in every run. He tried to push the pace, got to the line 7 times, and dished out 5 assists. Justin Holiday was 3/5 from downtown and finished with 14 points. And Willy Hernangomez in 24 minutes gave another example of why he should be starting with 8 points and 13 boards.
The Knicks are back at home Wednesday, February 8 to face the Clippers on ESPN.
Wait a minute… we won a close game? No heart-breaking game-winners from the opposing team? Some solid defense and clutch buckets? Who are these guys?! The Knicks appeared on their way to a colossal fourth quarter collapse, but Melo’s two clutch shots and a pair of Courtney Lee free throws helped the Knicks escape with their first win in Indiana since 2012.
This was a win that cemented one thing above anything — there needs to be a definite change at center going forward.
HERNANGOMEZ STEPS UP: The Knicks looked on their way to a blowout defeat after falling behind 14 points in the opening quarter. The effort was just bad all-around with 7 turnovers and New York shooting just 39%. Hernangomez coming in for Noah proved vital as he delivered 10 first half points and was a strong presence on the glass. Playing with Kyle O’Quinn, the Knicks were able to put together a 26-12 run to tie the game at 46 in the second.
He kept up his energy and helped the offense tremendously with his screens. He finished with a double double (14 points, 10 boards, 2 blocks). Its now become impossible to argue for Noah keeping his starting job. Hernangomez is bringing a totally different dynamic. Teams can’t sag off him on defense and his nifty post moves make him the offensive threat that Noah simply isn’t. Willy should not be getting any more DNP’s for the rest of the year.
ROSE’S COURT AWARENESS PROBLEM: When you look at Rose’s stat line, it seems solid — 20 points (7/16), 6 assists and a +8 for the game. You’d never guess that he did everything within his power to blow the game in crunch time. Indy went on a 15-2 run to slice a double-digit fourth quarter deficit to 100-97 with less than four minutes remaining. In that span, Rose over-dribbled to a near shot-clock violation while ignoring an open Porzingis, missed a contested layup, and turned the ball over.
Yes, Rose has hit some timely fourth quarter shots this season. But he’s displayed far too much tunnel vision during this losing streak. The aforementioned bad plays went totally against the ball movement that got them the lead.
MELO SAVES THE DAY: We needed a clutch performance and Melo delivered (26 points, 9/17, 6/7 FTs). His offense was consistent the entire game. He dropped 12 points in the first quarter and 17 at the half. He had 21 after three and was the only Knick to score a field goal over the last two minutes. One was a classic bully ball post-up on Paul George, and the second was a quick bassline jumper over Jeff Teague to put New York up 105-103 with 23 seconds remaining.
JENNINGS AND HOLIDAY: Along with Hernangomez, these two were the reasons our bench had such a dynamic performance. Brandon Jennings pushed the pace during the second quarter run that saw the Knicks outscore the Pacers 40-24. Jennings played under control and picked his spots well, balancing between his own offense (9 points) and finding the open man (6 assists). Justin Holiday was a true two-player tonight. He prevented the game-tying three with a block on C.J. Miles, and he went 3/7 from downtown. He’s another young gun that showed he can handle big minutes.
Justin Holiday was a true two-player tonight. He prevented the game-tying three with a block on C.J. Miles, and he went 3/7 from downtown. He’s another young gun that showed he can handle big minutes.
KP STILL NOT HIMSELF: Three games into his comeback and I’m wondering if Kristaps Porzingis returned too soon. The team tried to get him going in the first and he could only manage 2 points on 1-7 shooting. He finished 3/11 and fouled out with 8 points. Melo can’t carry us every night so KP getting back to his early season form is our only hope of prolonged success over the next 2-3 months.
Next up is a road meeting against the Mavericks on Wednesday.
Give the Knicks some credit — you have to be very creative to keep finding ways to lose close games. Tonight, the Knicks failed to score over the last 2 minutes to blow a five-point lead and lose on a… you guessed it, a three-pointer from an open Devin Booker to remain winless at Madison Square Garden in 2017.
This game has sealed it for me. Let the young guys gain experience, see if Melo wants to stick around and bring on the tank for a top lottery pick.
MELO TRIED: Carmelo Anthony will catch some heat for not scoring in the fourth and missing the game-winning three (was halfway down and rimmed out). But outside of his usual bonehead defensive lapses on the perimeter, he played the all-around game we want from him (31 points on 52% FG, 7 boards and 6 assists).
HERNANGOMEZ: Our rook had another strong performance. He made his first appearance in the third and had an immediate impact altering shots and scoring at the rim. He kept Tyson Chandler contained on the glass and finished with 6 points and 8 boards in 14 minutes. I feel his presence was missed in crunch time when he sat the last 3 minutes to put Porzingis back in.
KP’s DISAPPEARING ACT: This is only his second game back so I won’t kill Porzingis. But his recent play remains frustrating. He had a strong third where his jumper got going (10 points in the quarter), but then couldn’t buy a basket from the perimeter in the fourth. Instead of trying to get to the basket, he camped out meekly on the perimeter. 14 points and 1 board in 33 minutes. Outside of a brief verbal skirmish with Chandler, KP was missing the mental toughness we needed tonight.
THE YING AND YANG OF DERRICK ROSE: Our star point guard had another strong offensive outing with 26 points. But herein lies the problem — he was way too ball dominant in the fourth. The Knicks failed to score over the last two minutes AND Rose left Booker open for the game-winning three. As much as I enjoy Rose slashing to the rim for breathtaking layups, his defensive lapses and failure to execute team plays in crunch time has hurt this team. As a point guard, you have to re-evaluate your game when Melo has more assists than you.
BACKCOURT DESTRUCTION: Ironically, it wasn’t a barrage of three-pointers that killed the Knicks. New York won that battle by hitting 11 treys to Phoenix’s 9. The major problem was our guards in general couldn’t defend Booker nor Eric Bledsoe anywhere on the court. They combined for 49 points on way too many open shots.
ORIGINAL LINEUP, SAME ISSUES: With Joakim Noah’s return, the Knicks went to the season’s original starting lineup of Noah-KP-Melo-Lee-Rose. Noah did manage to grab 15 boards but was held scoreless over 20 minutes.
This loss drops New York to 11th in the Eastern Conference. On Monday, we’re back on TNT to face the Pacers.
Amid rumors of Carmelo Anthony’s future in New York, the Knicks played their most efficient and focused game of the year in outrebounding and locking down the Celtics in crunch time to take an impressive 117-106 win in Boston.
If I told you coming in that the Celtics would commit just 3 turnovers and Isaiah Thomas have 39 points, I’m sure you’d pencil in a Boston win. But those stats weren’t enough to overcome a massive 55 points from New York’s bench and a 57-33 rebounding edge.
HERNANGOMEZ: Our rook was a man on fire tonight. He matched his career high with 17 points and grabbed 11 boards in 20 minutes. He thoroughly outplayed Al Horford (5 points, 2-14), most noticeably on a fake-out dunk for a three-point play. Steel sharpens steel, so I’m expecting Kyle O’Quinn, who only played 10 minutes due to Willy’s dominance, to return the favor tomorrow night.
3-WAY BENCH GUARD ATTACK: Coach Hornacek may be onto something having Courtney Lee come off the bench. He was close to a triple-double with 9 points, 8 boards and 7 assists (career high). His most timely hoop of the night came when Horford sagged off him in transition and nailed a fourth-quarter trey that extended the Knicks lead to 103-96.
Justin Holiday put in work as well. He had a team-best +23 and had his own timely three when the Celtics had cut it to one in the fourth-quarter. After that shot, the Boston would get no closer. He finished with 13 points and 5 boards.
And the final weapon in the trio was Brandon Jennings. 11 points, 5 assists and just one turnover. He played a strong role and penetrating and finding Hernangomez, who scored 10 points in the second quarter to put the Knicks up for good.
THE UNSUNG: In my opinion, Mindaugas Kuzmiskas has proven to be a more versatile and valuable player to this team than Lance Thomas. Kuz shot 50% from the field, scored 17 points and grabbed 6 boards. While Thomas is a capable three-point shooter, he’s awful off the dribble and can’t finish, two things the rookie can do effectively to space the floor.
Mason Plumlee got his first start in Joakim Noah’s absence. His numbers won’t jump out at you (5 points, 7 boards, 2 blocks), but the man had a solid game. He boxed out, altered shots (especially on Thomas in the fourth) and set strong screens.
ROSE TAKES OVER: With Melo having an erratic shooting night (13 points, 5/14) and no Porzingis, it was on Derrick Rose to carry the load. You can tell playing Thomas motivated him, but Rose played under control and picked his spots. His mid-range jumper was unstoppable. And he got whatever he wanted on drives.
Making Thomas work on defense slowed him down in the fourth and Rose outscored him 12-8 in the quarter. Our PG finished with 30 points, equaling his season-high as a Knick, and pulled down 10 boards to go with 5 assists.
The Knicks are right back in action tomorrow night against the Wizards.
What a joke. A team meeting was supposed to get things in order for the Knicks. They played like it at times, but ultimately they did what the Knicks do in losing focus and blowing a 10 point lead over the last 2:29 of the game to lose 98-97 on a game-winner from TJ McConnell.
Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. This team has no killer instinct or basketball IQ.
The Knicks had a 17-point lead in the second quarter and promptly gave up a 15-3 run to let Philly close it to five-point deficit at the half. That problem continued in the third with Philly extending their run to 28-7 to take a brief lead.
That’s when Melo took over. After delivering 11 points in the first quarter, he poured in 15 in the third to help put the Knicks up 75-71 to start the fourth. The bench, lead by a solid offensive night from Brandon Jennings (9 points), ignited a 10-0 run to push the lead to 82-71. Later, a Jennings trey kept the lead at 10 (89-79). That’s when the problems started.
CAN’T GET A STOP: It doesn’t matter how good the offense looks. Derrick Rose can drop 25, and Melo can have 28, but no lead is safe with this trash defense. Joel Embiid started to work in the paint and even hit a three to slice the lead to 95-92. Buckets were exchanged with Rose hitting a good mid-range jumper and a driving layup. The killer play came when Rose drove and kicked the ball back out to the perimeter. The ball was passed to a wide-open Porzingis who airballed an open three, leading to the Sixers pushing the ball and McConnell delivering the dagger.
Speaking of Porzingis, it seems the losing and turmoil from the Rose fiasco has zapped his confidence. He was very passive out there (7 points, 3/10) and that airball won’t help his confidence. He did manage 4 blocks with several of them coming on Embiid.
KYLE O’QUINN STEPS UP: This man rebounded (pun intended) from the Pelicans ejection by hitting his first five shots and finishing with 10 points and 15 boards. His effort lifted the team with KP’s struggles and Noah not getting going until the fourth quarter.
This mentally damaged team has to get it together within 24 hours to face the Bulls. The Knicks record this year on back to backs? 0-7.
You know its bad when one of your stars is taking unscheduled PTO time. Disaster begets more disaster when it comes the the Knicks, who embarrassed themselves last night at the Garden in losing 110-96 to the lowly Pelicans.
I won’t recap the specifics because you’ve been hearing them constantly throughout this streak of futility. The Pelicans got open threes (12/27), Anthony Davis absolutely torched us (40 points, 18 boards, 3 blocks), and two of our players (Melo, O’Quinn) got ejected while Derrick Rose went M.I.A. before the game for what was later deemed a “family situation.”
Who’s running the asylum? It certainly isn’t Coach Hornacek, who can’t get the team to play any semblance of coherent defense or run consistent plays. It isn’t Melo, who flat-out quit and deliberately got himself ejected rather than stick around for a blowout that at one point was 29 points. This horrible play is what you’d expect from a team of young players, not a squad of established vets.
Last night, I went on record as saying a tank might be the best option. After a night of reflection, I came to the realization that the Knicks are just 4 games under .500. We’re not even halfway through January so I’ll wait until the All-Star break before rendering a final verdict. For now, this team as currently constructed is on thin ice with me and every other Knicks fan.
Derrick Rose is missing. As incredulous as that sounds, the former MVP has not been heard from since the Knicks hosted the Pelicans tonight at Madison Square Garden. Officials reportedly could not reach him before the game nor during the duration of the contest.
Of course, the jokes have been flying on social media about this. For me, I’m very worried. No matter how upset he might be at being benched the last two games, I can’t envision Rose being so unprofessional as to not show up for work. He’s in a contract year and a move like that effectively sinks his brand. So the only other alternative is something serious going on. I’m hoping it’s a confidential family matter that only a few high-level Knicks officials know about.
More on this as the story develops…
UPDATE #1 – Coach Hornacek has no answers post-game, but at least it sounds like he’s alive.
Hornacek: “Right now we don’t have information to give you anything. That’s just going to have to wait until we hear from Derrick himself.”
I don’t want to hear it. Don’t cry about Derrick Rose being fouled on that late inbounds play. Don’t whine about the Greek Freak not being called for having his back to basket past 5 seconds. This game should not have come down to these plays if the Knicks had any semblance of defense. That dagger game-winning jumper from Antetokounmpo is exactly what the Knicks deserve for being outscored 32-17 in the fourth and blowing a 16-point lead.
TRY NOT FOULING: For the last 5 minutes of the game, the Bucks nearly scored all their points from the free-throw line. Lance Thomas could not guard Antetokounmpo, and Greg Monroe got his looks as well. On cue, the offense got stagnated with Rose throwing up wild layups and Melo bricking long jumpers.
CHOKED: The Knicks had a fantastic third quarter where they outscored the Bucks 35-21 and took a 14-point lead into the fourth. Then the team inexplicably got passive. It started with the fourth quarter group helmed by Jennings, Holiday, Kuzmiskas, O’Quinn and Lance Thomas. Milwaukee would go on a 14-2 run to put them in position to steal the game.
OFFENSE GOES TO WASTE: This game serves as another clear example that you can’t outscore trash defense. The contributions were immense from Noah (8 points, 16 boards), Melo (30 points, 11 boards, 7 assists), and Kuzmiskas off the bench (15 points). The Knicks also equaled a season-high with 13 three-pointers. Ironically, it wasn’t the perimeter defense that killed us (Bucks were 9/28 from downtown), but Antetokounmpo’s drives in the fourth.