Farewell, Homie: O’Quinn Signs One-Year Deal with Pacers

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Free agent and former Knicks forward Kyle O’Quinn has come to terms with a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Indiana Pacers.

O’Quinn’s free agency began two weeks ago when he declined a $4.2 million player option with New York.

He joins a Pacers team that finished the season 48-34 and took the Eastern Conference champion Cavaliers to seven games in the first round. O’Quinn adds depth to the center position as a backup for Myles Turner.

O’Quinn averaged 7.1 points and 6.1 rebounds on 58% shooting for New York last season.

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While I’m not surprised O’Quinn picked another squad, the price is eyebrow-raising. You’d figure to leave his hometown it’d require more than a $300k raise. However, with New York’s the emphasis on youth, O’Quinn may have gotten the impression he wasn’t in New York’s long-term future. Also, we can’t overlook Enes Kanter deciding to opt-in greatly impacted the money New York has to work with.

Over the last few seasons, O’Quinn has been of our hardest worker and arguably the most consistent bench player. He was the only one who possessed the physical toughness we’ve sorely lacked for years.  His game will be missed.

A Crisis of Leadership: Pelicans 110, Knicks 96

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Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images

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.

Knicks Bench Closes Out Magic 106-95

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Photo Credit: USA Today Images

It was a sloppy game filled with haphazard play, but the Knicks made key passes and shots when it mattered to take a comfortable 106-95 win over the Magic.

This isn’t a game you’ll see many highlight packages on. Carmelo Anthony only had 15 points on 5/17 shooting. Porzingis was 5/11 for just 11 points.

The bench was where this game was won. Brandon Jennings’ play proved contagious and had the Knicks bursting with energy. He dished for 12 assists in 22 minutes with Willy Hernangomez as the main target. The rookie hit five straight field goals during the fourth quarter and finished with 15 points and 5 rebounds. Kyle O’Quinn had another monster night with 14 points, 16 rebounds and 5 blocks. The bearded Queens native was a one man army that outrebounded the combined efforts of Bismack Biyombo and Nikola Vucevic.

Derrick Rose had a weird night. Biyombo blocked no less than four of his shots in the first half. He wasn’t particularly aggressive in pushing the issue in the second half. And yet, when you look checked the scoreboard, he was finished with 19 points in 26 minutes.

A scary moment came early in the the fourth when Porzingis fell awkwardly off a missed layup. He limped off the court, but luckily suffered just a right knee contusion and was eligible to return.

Tonight’s win continues the Knicks’ dominance at home, where they’ve won 10 of their last 12. However, it shouldn’t be lost on us that the Knicks face a reality check against the Celtics on Christmas Day. Boston is #1 in our division and New York has not won a nationally televised game this season.

 

 

O’Quinn’s 20 Points, 13 Rebounds Helps Knicks Surge Past Timberwolves

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Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images

Three nights ago, Karl-Anthony Towns burned the Knicks for 47 points in Minnesota. The Knicks made a vow that wouldn’t be the case in their house.

“We accepted the challenge,” Kyle O’Quinn said.

The Knicks did just that in holding Towns to 4 points in the first half and locking him up for two blocks in the final minute to take a hard-fought 118-114 victory at Madison Square Garden. Aside from a ridiculous collapse at the beginning of the fourth, the Knicks showed great composure and dominated the game with good passing and defensive rotations.

MELO IN THE FLOW: Everything was clicking for our leader. He was a +22 on the floor by making quick decisions with the ball. He hit the open man when the double teams came, and worked well off picks to get open looks. He had 25 points on 50% going into the fourth and was able to conserve energy by having two other guys score 20 points despite Porzingis struggling. He finished with 29 points.

ROSE IN ATTACK MODE: Derrick Rose didn’t get every call, by his aggressiveness forced the refs’ hands. His 24 points came not only from his creativity at the rim, but also several solid mid-range jumpers. If this can become a consistent weapon, the team offense opens up even more.

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KYLE O’QUINN = TOWNS STOPPER: Ok, I might be going a bit overboard, but Kyle O’Quinn deserves tremendous praise for one of the best Knick performances so far this season. O’Quinn delivered 20 points (9/11), 13 rebounds and 2 blocks. He was a complete animal on the offensive boards with 7 and made all the critical hustle plays.

When the momentum shifted and Minnesota took a 102-101 lead, it was O’Quinn who grabbed the offensive board off two Porzingis missed free throws. He scored a contested layup to retake the lead and the team never looked back. The Knicks’ 13-4 run over the last six minutes was punctuated by O’Quinn delivering a rifle pass to Anthony for a fast-break layup and a 112-106 lead.

The Wolves went back to Towns, but O’Quinn blocked him in the paint. On Town’s second attempt, O’Quinn forced him into the help defense of Porzingis, leading to a jump ball and another Knicks possession.

Who would have thought tonight’s game would end up being a duel between Towns and O’Quinn with our guy being the winner?

BENCH DIFFERENCE: The fortunes flipped tonight with our bench being the one that struggled. The worst stretch was the first 3-4 minutes of the fourth as the Knicks committed 5 turnovers leading to a 12-2 Wolves run. The lineup (Jennings, Sasha, Kuzmiskas, O’Quinn, Hernangomez) was completely inept with Jennings showing visible frustration and not getting back on defense. It was surprising to see Jennings get that rattled and Coach Hornacek wisely benched him in crunch time.

Overall, the Knicks bench was outscored 47-21.

PORZINGIS OUT OF SYNC: KP had a horrid shooting night (11 points, 2/12), but made up for it on the defensive end (3 blocks). Most of his shots were good looks, but his positioning just seemed off. Another matter was him not being aggressive on mismatches. Several times in the fourth, he settled for passive jumpers despite having a little guard like Ricky Rubio on him.

OTHER BUSINESS: Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee sat this one out with injuries. Lance Thomas returned, but only played three minutes. He did hit a three, so maybe he’s brought his jumper back from rehab.

  • Carmelo Anthony was 5/10 from three-point range. (season high)
  • Every Knick starter hit double figures for the second time this season

[Video] The Buck Stops Here: Knicks Stomp Milwaukee By 25 in Season Debut

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MILWAUKEE, WI — Watch out starters, the bench players are coming for your jobs. With Carmelo Anthony and the rest of the starting lineup struggling with their shots, the Knicks bench shouldered the load with a combined 73 points to lift New York to a crushing 122-97 road win.

COMING BACK STRONG: The Knicks had a slow shooting start (2-12) and struggled with keeping the scrappy Bucks out the paint. An 8-0 Milwaukee run had them down 11-4, but the insertion of Derrick Williams and Jerian Grant provided a big energy spark. Even in the penalty with 4 minutes remaining in the first, the Knicks remained aggressive with their man to man defense and forced the Bucks into woeful perimeter shooting. Powered by DWill’s 11-point first quarter (24 for the game), New York went on a 15-0 run between the first and second quarters to take command of the game with a 34-23 lead and never looked back.

ALL-AROUND CONTRIBUTIONS: Even when the Bucks got down by over 20 in the third, they remained determined to get back in the game. But every time they got close to single digits, a key basket shut them down. Four bench players hit double figures, and Kyle O’Quinn had one of the better all-around performances with 8 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks. Rookie point guard Jerian Grant stepped up due to Jose Calderon’s foul trouble and dropped 10 points, 5 assists and pocketed 3 steals.

PORZINGIS SHOWS HIS VALUE: Our prized pick struggled with his shot (3-11), but still made a strong impact by getting to the line (9-12). He ended up with 16 points and 5 rebounds on a “bad” night. When that shot starts going down, he’ll be a constant threat that opens up the game for Melo. [youtube https://youtu.be/Qy1kjYVvQGs]


TEMPERED EXCITEMENT: While it was great to dominate like this with a key starter (Arron Affalo) and bench big man (Kevin Seraphin) out, we need to keep in mind the Bucks were missing two of their best players (Giannis Antetokounmpo, O.J. Mayo). However, the effort and focus we saw was missing most of last season. In addition, this year’s team has playmakers. I’m on board with Charles Barkley (gasp) that New York makes the playoffs barring any serious injuries.

MELO CONTRIBUTES IN OTHER WAYS: Melo finished with 11 points (4-16), but impressed me with 5 assists, including one to kick off the game. No, Carmelo won’t be dropping triple doubles anytime soon, but this indicates what he can do when surrounded by competent athletes.

OTHER KEY POINTS: The Knicks won the rebounding (49-47) and assist (24-17) battles, and also forced 18 turnovers (6 alone on Michael Cater-Williams), helped by 11 steals.

BACK AT IT TONIGHT: The Knicks get no rest as they’re at MSG for a stiff test against the Atlanta Hawks. I’m interested to see the reception Tim Hardaway Jr. gets.