Hernangomez and Porzingis Lead Knicks Comeback Over Nets


With the starters shooting a combined 30% from the field and staring at a 10-point deficit early in the fourth, the Knicks had every reason to quit. But it was the bench, powered by a huge double double from Willy Hernangomez and a historic night from Sasha Vujacic, that helped Kristaps Porzingis show his potential as a closer in the Knicks’ 95-90 victory in Brooklyn.


WHY ISN’T HERNANGOMEZ STARTING?: This kid continues to show his value every night on both sides of the floor. He helped hold Brook Lopez to 10 points by making the Nets star work on defense. On offense, Willy had some sweet fourth quarter plays, including a tip-in on a wild perimeter pass from KP, and a driving layup on Lopez that made 86-80 with under two minutes to go.

His most impressive play came with 1:09 remaining and the Knicks clinging to a 87-84 lead. Willy got an offensive rebound off a miss, was blocked, then gathered himself again for a tough layup. He gave a war cry and flexed. Our rook is becoming a man right before our eyes. Willy finished with 16 points and 16 boards (7 on the offensive glass).

KP IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT: With Melo having no legs and shooting terribly, Coach Hornacek made the wise decision to go with the bench and Porzingis to lead the comeback. It paid off with KP also having a double double (19 points, 12 boards) and some timely buckets. When the Knicks were down 10 early in the fourth, 66-76, KP hit two jumpers that ignited a 10-0 run. The chemistry with his BFF Hernangomez was great in keeping the Nets from their earlier feasting in the paint.

KP’s biggest play was a dagger three-pointer that made it 92-86 with 53 seconds remaining.

If we’ve learned one thing this season, it’s that the veterans struggle immensely on back to backs. For the rest of the season, I’d like to see Melo rest on those second nights while Porzingis gets acclimated to being the first option for full games.

Y’ALL MUST’VE FORGOT ABOUT SASHA!: Give Vujacic some credit; the man stays ready. We needed a spark and it came from Sasha, who became the first man in Knicks history to have two 4-point plays. The latter was part of the 10-0 fourth quarter run that got NY back in it. 12 points in 22 minutes is an excellent night’s work..


DEAD STARTERS: From the opening tip, the energy and decision-making was abysmal from our starting five. There was no semblance of play calling — passes went nowhere along the perimeter until Melo had to heave a long jumper with the shot-clock expiring. They tallied six turnovers, shot 29% from the field, and scored just 15 points in the first quarter to the Nets’ 27.

It got no better as the game went on. Combined, the starters shot 18/57 (30%). Carmelo Anthony had one of his worst games this season, shooting a horrific 6/22 (15 points). Considering his strong play as of late, we can likely attribute this to fatigue from playing his third game in four nights.

Despite Anthony’s futility, the worst among the starters goes to Brandon Jennings, who shot a putrid 9% from the field (1/11). To his credit, he did manage 10 assists, many of them when matched with the bench.



[Video] He’s Baaaack: Knicks Reup Sasha Vujacic on 1-Year Deal


We can all finally exhale. The key to the Knicks franchise is back with today’s announcement that Sasha Vujacic has agreed to a one-year deal at the veteran’s minimum!

Okay, stop rolling your eyes and sucking your teeth. The reason Sasha drew so much hate early last season was due to being forced into a role bound for failure. Even at his best, it was a stretch to have him as your starting shooting guard. Because of Arron Afflalo’s hamstring injury, the Knicks had little choice. Paired with Jose Calderon, the duo was horrific on both ends of the floor and were arguably the worst starting backcourt in the league.

Following the All-Star Break, we got a better idea of Vujacic’s usefulness. In spot minutes he proved effective as an annoying, pesky defender and spot-up three-point shooting (45% over the season’s second half). Then rookie Kristaps Porzingis cited him as a valuable mentor. And with the addition of more Euros (Hernangomez, Kuzmiskas), Vujacic might be what the doctor ordered by bridging the cultural gap with the rest of the squad.

Is Sasha a legit SG backup for Courtney Lee? Absolutely not — but for additional bench depth, this is acceptable. And who knows, maybe Sasha will turn into a crowd favorite if he becomes the “human cigar” inserted during blowouts. For now, let’s feast on some of Sasha’s memorable moments from last season.

[Video] Rodney Hood Ejected for Flagrant Foul on Sasha Vujacic


Even when you’re winning by a blowout, Sasha Vujacic can still get under your skin. Late in the fourth quarter of the Jazz’s 106-85 massacre of the Knicks, Rodney Hood used a body check to prevent a Vujacic layup and was immediately tossed.

New York has little time to lick their words as they’re back in action tonight against the Kings.

Fisher Considering Backcourt Change


After a woeful performance last night against the Bucks, Derek Fisher is mulling a change to his starting backcourt of Jose Calderon and Sasha Vukacic.

The two combined for just 2 points (1/8) in New York’s 99-92 loss to Milwaukee. Although limited to just 3 minutes in the second half, Calderon was at the helm when the Knicks went down by 14 in the first quarter and was a -7 for the game. Vujacic played 27 minutes, including late in the fourth and was a -17 for the night.

“If there’s a decision that needs to be made, we’ll make it based on the team and not necessarily on one guy,” Fisher told ESPN today.”…Whether it’s the same (Sunday), we’ll see. We’ll talk about it today and then in the morning and go from there.”

The Knicks host the L.A. Lakers at the Garden on Sunday.


Thank you Fisher for seeing the obvious. I understand, to a degree, why Fisher has been hesitate to bench Jose and Sasha. Langston Galloway and Jerian Grant have shown great chemistry in the second unit, so it’s risky tinkering with their rhythm and sticking that group with a plodding PG like Calderon. However, the alternative is what we’re doing now and that can’t continue. Fish can mix and match subs as needed, but the game should be starting and ending with your best available players. Right now that group is Grant, Galloway, Melo, KP and Lopez. Barring foul trouble or someone else getting hot, that’s how it should be.

What’s your take? Have you had enough of Calderon and Vujacic in the starting lineup?