New York Knicks 83 – Orlando Magic 95 – Game Recap

“The young hero, albeit wounded and with unsteady hands, was still fighting his war against those long-limbed monsters. Somehow, even if his party had been outsmarted many a few times (and even outmanned when the other young guy with the funny accent simply refused to attack the enemy), there was still a chance to bring down those black clad monstrosities and to climb further up the Mountain of Standings, very far from the dreaded Pit of Tank. 

“Help me! I need magical assistance here!” shouted the valiant son of Rowan, faced by two foes.

Soon at his side came the Mook, a rugged fighter known around the continent for his problems with authority and for that time where he convinced King Pop to send away one of his mercenary in hope of getting the Mook’s service.

“I’m here”, shouted the Mook, throwing daggers that had no business piercing the enemy’s armors while blocking somehow the path for the young hero. 

“But I needed magical assistance!”, said the Chosen One, the boy who should have led Pennstationland peolple out of the Lottery Marsh.

“Well, tough luck, kiddo”, grunted the Mook. 

“May I have at least some clerical aid? My health looks a bit low”, uttered with a slight hint of doubt in his voice the young hero. Maybe his quest was already doomed? 

“At your service, my lord!” said Portio, a warrior who had seen his share of battles, who was apt at punching everyone, friend or foe, and had those strange eyes that a bard’s tale attributed to a failed attempt at a spell by his former mentor, a blond haired middle aged guy, Frederic of Hoiberg.

“Damn, I said a cleric! A cleric! Are you deaf?” shouted the hero, already verging on losing all hope. His party was odd and sometimes his companions didn’t mesh that well together, but usually he had been able to coax something out of those spare parts. A well placed magic missile here, a fireball there, a sneak attack from time to time. 

“Help! I’m cornered! Where’s our rogue?” asked again the hero, seeing the enemy advance without any sort of effort.

“Was it my name you called for?” questioned while stepping into the fray Rando, a powerful if forgetful barbarian from the far West. Certainly very used to deal a lot of damage, he had the tendency to fumble his weapons onto the ground too often for the hero’s liking, but his overall impact to the battle couldn’t be denied. Alas, though, no rogue he was.

“For Clydo’s sake! Is there anybody here who’s not a warrior with the same skillset who could help me fight those monsters before I valorously but uselessly die alone?”

“Hiya! It’s me, Korporal Knox!” yelled running haphazardly into the enemy lines the half-giant, half-kobold long-distance archer. Even he, though, wouldn’t have been able to provide the services the young hero asked for.

The son of Rowan side-eyed everyone and, with his morningstar in the right hand and his shield firmly attached to his left arm, charged ahead, recklessly throwing himself into a very likely death sentence.”

“But grandpa! Why wouldn’t you keep on reading this story? I need to know what happened to the son of Rowan.”

“Not now, little guy. We have a lot of time left to read together what happens next in Dolan’s Razor. I’ll see you tomorrow. And don’t lose faith. A young hero always finds a way to defeat even the most stacked odds.”

Inside the pages, the son of Rowan was simulteaneously dead and not dead.

On the court, on the other hand, folks still told the tale of the time he really played with four power forward all at once.

***

The good:

– Julius Randle (16 pts, 10 rebs, 7 ast, -16 +/-) at last delivered a passable performance – and the fifth straight double double to begin the season. It was hard to find someone who played “good” today. Mitch could have fit the bill if only he would have been on the court for more than 25 minutes. So I’m stuck with Julius and I don’t even find many reasons to praise his game. Yeah, he shot better than 50%. Yeah, he had “only” 3 turnovers. Yeah, he recorded 7 assists. It just sounds so empty. It’s like the ugliness of this game corroded even the good parts. It’s also the fact that the starting unit was the one who had the game slipping away at the beginning of the third and then again at the end. Randle’s a good player but you need to build the right lineup around him. If you keep deploying lineups and plays where he’s supposed to create from the dribble, you’re exposing him to certain failure. His turnovers were of the same variety: dribble dribble dribble spin lose the handle ball caroms on the leg/on someone else. This has to stop.

The bad:

– Wayne Ellington (2 pts, 2 rebs, 12.5% FG, -17 +/-) had probably the most impalpable bad game ever. He stank the joint shooting very poorly and doing nothing else, but at the same time you came away from the game never thinking he had been egregious. And egregious he wasn’t, maybe, only useless in a bad way – or he just played with the wrong lineup, seeing as the other nominal shooting guard for the night, Damyean Dotson, ended with a +10 +/- while posting a very similar line (2, 2, 2, 66% FT). You were bad, Wayne, but you get a pass this time.

Mini fun-sized bits:

– It’s criminal that Mitch saw only 19 minutes of playing time having committed only 1 foul. He has a long way to attain some level of discipline, but without him things look way less crisp. 12 points, 5 boards, 3 blocks for him.

– Bobby Portis with 12 points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes of playing time. Numbers aren’t bad, but how dumb must you be to play Portis 10 minutes more than Mitch? I’m running out of words to describe Fiz’s cluelessness.

– Frank Ntilikina had 7, 4 and 4. He also sank his first triple of the season. It was a half court heave than went in perfectly. Every other attempt from the distance clanked on the rim. He’s a living paradox. Still, not such a bad outing from Frank. Let’s hope he grows some confidence.

– RJ Barrett had his first bad game of his official career (9 pts, 2 rebs, 2 ast, 4/11 FG, 1/4 FT), but if this is one of his bag games, I’ll take it. Still not suited at all to be a primary ballhandler.

– Marcus Morris had 4 blocks (?), a career high, but was terrible everywhere. I can’t stand him at all. I hope he gets jettisoned as soon as possible.

– Kevin Knox, on the other hand, is terrible when asked to create something by himself, but looks like the part of a really good shooter. It’s 5 games in, the sample size is super small, but you wouldn’t be able to convince me this one is Kevin Knox Mark II, he’s just so much better (while still not a net positive).

Sorry for the brevity, work is rapidly approaching but I found a way to write a bit. Hope it’s enough!

Post scriptum: I won’t be able to recap friday’s game since I’ll be in Siena for a short holiday with Lady Farfa. See you on Monday with the Kings game recap!

Keep care and be well :)

2019-20 Game Thread: Knicks @ Magic

The Knicks travel to Orlando to take on a fairly mediocre Magic team that did manage to make the playoffs last season (and who won just one less game against the Toronto Raptors in the playoffs as the Golden State Warriors). In fact, they actually won their division last season, which is kind of hilarious, since that means we actually came vaaaaaguely close to a scenario where a division winner would have missed the playoffs (not really all that likely since teams #9-11 in the Eastern Conference were also in the same division as the Magic). Up until 2015, division winners were guaranteed to make the playoffs, but they dropped that rule then, which is good.

Anyhow, Wayne Ellington moves into the starting lineup, which is good, because he really does help with spacing a lot. While RJ Barrett has quickly become the engine that drives the team, spacing has been a major concern, as well, with the Knicks really relying on Ellington and Kevin Knox a lot to space the floor for their less competent outside shooters.

With Elfrid Payton out for the game, Barrett is the point guard for the Knicks by default, but I imagine we’ll see Frank Ntilikina get some minutes tonight, as well. The Magic, with their defense-minded coach, Steve Clifford (it’s interesting how other teams have coaches who put systems into place – I don’t even like Clifford that much as a coach since he strikes me as a bit stubborn with his views of players, but he obviously knows how to work a system and get more than the sum of his parts with it), was a team that was rumored to have interest in Frank last year before they ended up acquiring Markelle Fultz for a super discounted rate and watching how Fultz plays will be another interesting thing about tonight’s game.

The Knicks could actually start thinking about .500 with a win tonight, so let’s hope that they pull it off.

Let’s go, Knicks!

Chicago Bulls 98 – New York Knicks 105 – Game Recap

Well, who woulda thunk. We witnessed The Bobby Portis game.

Now, hear me out. A win is a win and that’s good, especially because you don’t want to send RJ into the depths of despair so soon in his young and very promising career. But you know how it is when you’re trying to eat healthy to get yourself into shape and you have a cheat meal on your weekly schedule? Ok, now think of this season as that: eating healthy is the equivalent of losing competitively to get another top-5 pick and the cheat meals are the game where we win because, let’s face it, you can’t lose all the time.

Here’s the thing: not all cheat meals are equal. If you eat pizza (good pizza, not Papa John’s or those weirdly appealing abominations) as your cheat meal, you’re doing it right, same if you eat pasta – even lasagna – or a gourmet burger. There’s still a lot of good nutrients in there, and provided you go to the right joints (or do it yourself at home) the ingredients will still be high quality, which means vitamins and a lot of other things that don’t mess with your body and health. In this scenario, pizza is a win on the heels of RJ, Mitch, Knox and one between Frank, Trier and DSJ (and marginally Randle – maybe with a sprinkle or two of Dot and Iggy). If it happens, everything will still be good and maybe you’ll even get into shape faster!

Winning because Bobby Portis (on a 15mln, 1+1 contract) goes off for 28 points and 11 boards playing 30 (well earned this time, mind you) minutes while Mitch plays only 18, on the other hand is like wasting your cheat meal on three bags of Doritos and a six pack of Miller lite. It’s not good for you, it messes up with your diet plan and your health for no discernible reason. This creates a precedent that Fizdale would be tempted to go back to when things will be dire, possibly stunting Mitch’s development.

Look: this game went out of reach very early (our half court offense is simply terrible and if outside shots don’t fall or the other team doesn’t allow us to run in transition we’re doomed to slow start all season long) and if now for Bobby we wouldn’t have been able to score even 10 points in the first quarter. I’m being literal, you know. The Knicks scored 15 points (to the Bulls’ 33) in the first and Portis had 7. The Bulls’ defense looked particularly frisky and asphyxiating and Morris and Randle looked particularly dumb and out of their depths.

In the second quarter things went a bit better, thanks to improved play by Barrett and his already traditional good forays to the rim and some tough buckets inside by Randle. Our defense was definitely steadier too, and the period ended 27-19 for us (we were still down 10, 52-42).

The third quarter saw the starters being thoroughly outplayed and the Bulls go up by eighteen again led by a very strong Wendell Carter Jr. performance. Barrett wouldn’t let the game slip away that much though, and with a few focused drives and the help of Portis and goodish team defense the Knicks went into the final stanza down just eight, 80-72.

In the fourth, everything went right for us: triples started falling, the defense got tighter and the Bulls’ margin started to evaporate, with the Knicks tying the game 88-88 (on a Portis three, that’s gonna be a leit motiv). Right there the game seemed to be ripe for the taking, but alas no, a few more pages had to be written: a 10-2 run by the Bulls put the Knicks in a bad spot, down eight with just 3:33 to go. Portis and Ellington came back into game (Bobby was substituted just 55 seconds before) and the Knicks went on to score 15 unanswered points. Six were scored by Portis just in time for the Knicks to take the lead: down 98-97, those two triples catapulted the Bockers ahead 103-98, and that was the game.

I guess it’s nice that the Knicks got me a win for my birthday, but when I asked for a Ninja Turtle action figure I wanted Leonardo or Raphael, not Casey Jones.

The good:

– Well, of course we have to start from Bobby Portis (28 pts, 11 rebs, 2 ast, +31 +/-) had the game of his lifetime. 28 points on 14 shots, a double double, two blocks, no turnovers, a perfect 4-for-4 from three and a humongous, game-high +31 in plus/minus. You can’t get any better than that. And still, you can’t help but come away from the game thinking that you didn’t feel the weight of Portis’ impact until the last two triples. By that point, he had already scored 22 points, grabbed 11 boards and blocked 2 shots. Numbers aren’t debatable, but to me it was one of the lightest 28/11 games ever. I’m happy we won, I’m kinda happy for Bobby – who, when interviewed at center court by Rebecca Haarlow after game, looked like a nice person with cognitive dissonance between the words he were uttering and the intention in his eyes. I’m terrified by the conclusions Fizdale will get to after this game. But more than anything, I’m in fear of the validation feeling Pills will be experiencing today after reading the newspapers wax poetic on the fifth-year big man from Arkansas. Sometimes a season dovetails thanks to a few good moments. It’s usually when not-so-great basketball minds confuse correlation and causation.

– Here’s your systematic appearance in this section: there are a lot of things RJ Barrett (19 pts, 15 rebs, 5 ast, +5 +/-) has to improve and yet he might already be the most crucial Knick this season. Yeah, four games in. You see it when he’s on the court: when it counts, the ball seems to gravitate to him. It’s very weird, I know, to discuss such eye test things on one of the smartest basketball community in the world, and yet: the RJ Barrett experience is starting to feel like falling in love. Stats will tell you she’s got a pimple on her cheek, but your eyes will tell you that you’ve never seen such a beautiful imperfection on anyone else’s face. Stats will tell you she’s got cellulite in her thighs, but then again who doesn’t (that’s true, by the way. Screw anyone who’s into body shaming)? Stats will tell you she’s a pretty blonde girl, but you will feel, deep down, that she’s the making of the most beautiful blonde girl ever. And you know what? There’s a good chance she will be. That’s what being around for RJ’s first steps in the NBA feels like: he’s a pretty good player (with nice but not eye-popping averages), but you feel he’s much more than that. You can’t point to the exact stat, but you can look into your heart and oh goddamn I have butterflies in my tummy just typing this. As a bonus, here’s the list of other rookie wings and point guards who ever posted a 19/15/5 stat line: Luka Doncic, Magic Johnson, OJ Mayo (what), Ben Simmons, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Steve Francis, the absurdly underrated Tom Gola and your own Clyde Frazier. Among them, RJ is the youngest by a full 250 days.

The bad:

– Marcus Morris (10 pts, 5 rebs, 1 stl, -2 +/-) is the one who’s suffering the most playing for Fizdale. He’s never been a ball mover, but while his best role is to be a release valve for goodish teams, here he’s asked (?) to be a consistent shot creator while having the vision of a bull with a Chinese flag hung right in front of his eyes. His contributions to the team routinely verge on terrible, and even when he scores it’s hard to bring yourself to root for him. In the third quarter he scored while being fouled on a bad-looking turnaround fade away jumper from the left corner: as soon as the ball went in he gestured to the crowd as if he just sinked a game winning series shot. It’s official: I can’t stand him already. Also, is this “dawg” thing related to getting whistled for a technical every game? He looks such the part of a Fizdale special. We will never be flipping him to a contender. Book it.

– Elfrid Payton (3 pts, 2 rebs, 1 stl, -4 +/-) just had nothing going for him – and also went out with a sore hamstring. Sore hamstring or not, though, in a game like this one Elfrid is kinda useless. He’s no shooter and there’s nothing in place to help him penetrate deep into the defense, not even a Payton-Mitch PnR (I can’t understand for the life of me why that’s the case, but whatever). It’s hard to tally many assists playing in this “system”, but no assists in 21 minutes? Let’s just hope this was the worst he’ll ever look during this season and move on.

Fun-sized pieces of birthday cake:

– Is there a reason why Mitch and Portis can’t play together? I mean, I get wanting to keep Portis in the game. But why has there to be a Portis-Robinson dichotomy? Their skills don’t overlap at all, and we need all the rim protection we can get.

– Mitch played again only 18 minutes even if he committed “only” 4 fouls. Is he on a minutes restriction? I mean, he had the tremendous bad luck of being on the court during the worst stretched of the game, but his -24 plus/minus is not really that indicative of his impact on the game. Ten points, nine boards and two blocks are becoming a standard Mitch game. He also missed five shots tonight and is still sitting at 0.700 from the field.

– Somebody has to do something for Randle. He looks like he’s sulking and he’s turning the ball like crazy. I fear Fizdale is slowly eroding his confidence by forcing him to play in a way he’s not suited at all. Another 8 turnovers and only 5-for-13 from the field. He got better in the last two-three minutes when playing the PnR with Barrett enabled him to make passes out of the short roll. Is that hard to come up with such uninventive but effective ideas?

– Two words about Frank. His on ball defense is a real thing of beauty, but he does nothing else. Really nothing. 0-for-6 from the field, 2 boards and 2 assists in 22 minutes. I get he can be valuable in short stretches, but I fear his offensive game has a name, and that’s Godot.

– Knox keeps on playing semi-adequate basketball, which was the absolute best scenario during the offseason. As a shooter he’s a nice weapon. When he has to create something off the dribble, welp. Still, in four games he’s posting 12.5/4/1 with a .160 WS/48. That’s guaranteed to come down by a lot, but I surely didn’t foresee it. There’s a non-zero chance he really develops into a reliable 8th-9th man for a playoff team. It would count as a very unlikely win in my book.

And this, kids, is how Bobby Portis won a game for the Knicks on my birthday (edit: and DRed’s too! Happy birthday, future Knicks GM). See you on Thursday after a drubbing at the hands of a better than us Magic team!

2019-20 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Bulls

Somehow, the Knicks haven’t started a season 0-4 since Larry Brown was the coach and they won 23 games on route to watching the Chicago Bulls draft LaMarcus Aldridge with the Knicks’ first round pick (thank goodness the Bulls then moronically traded Aldridge for Tyrus Thomas. It would have been way too hard to watch that Bulls team have both Aldridge and Joakim Noah from Knicks picks paired with Derrick Rose).

I would imagine that they’re going to avoid an 0-4 start this season, as well, as the Knicks host the Bulls tonight and the Bulls are not particularly good, either, so you would typically give the edge to the home team in this situation.

The Knicks’ starting lineup remains the same (thank goodness Fizdale is committed to a consistent and logical starting lineup), but the rotation is off due to Dennis Smith Jr. leaving the team due to the sudden death of his stepmother. Our condolences to the Smith family. Frank Ntilikina will be the back-up point guard tonight, so expect Elfrid Payton to play 47 minutes.

In other sad Knick news, former Knick GM Al Bianchi passed away after a long battle with cancer. He was 87. Bianchi helped build the early 1990s Knicks squad, finding diamonds in the rough like John Starks and Anthony Mason and making the excellent Charles Oakley/Bill Cartwright trade (less well known about that trade is that the Knicks and Bulls swapped first round picks in the deal, with the Knicks going from #11 to #19, where the Knicks took Rod Strickland. The Strickland pick technically worked out, as he was a very good NBA player, but they dumped him in his second season due to him complaining about his minutes). RIP, Al!

The Bulls matchup looks like a particularly good one for RJ Barrett, so I expect another strong performance from the rookie. I hope the Knicks play Mitchell Robinson more minutes tonight. Just let him foul out if need be. Let him learn from his actions.

Let’s go, Knicks!

NY Post: RJ Barrett already showing he’s ‘stud’ Knicks hoped for

Marc Berman is as pumped up about RJ Barrett as us!

RJ Barrett has done everything but win in his first three NBA games.

After a strong preseason, Barrett has been even better in the regular season because he’s even hitting his 3-point shots — not just muscling to the hoop with great body control and inside shot-making flair.

Barrett has achieved an impressive three-game milestone. The 6-foot-7 sniper and only one other player in NBA history have tallied at least 60 points and 15 rebounds and notched five 3-pointers in their first three games. That other player is Kevin Durant.

The third pick in the draft is now the Knicks leading scorer, averaging 21 points.

“He’s a stud,” coach David Fizdale said. “That’s the only way I can put it. He’s a stud.”

As I noted in the Celtics game, it’s remarkable how quickly it’s gotten to the point where the team sort of falls apart when Barrett is not on the court. That’s a huge statement about the 19-year-old (and also about the rest of the Knicks roster, but let’s look on the bright side here).

Boston Celtics 118 – New York Knicks 95 – Game Recap

Confession: I stayed up veeery late last night (6:30am, which is 00:30am EST) and while checking on my phone while waiting for the queue to the bathroom to thin itself effing Google sneaked up on me and showed me the final score of the game. I was really bummed at that, and not only because of the loss. I was bummed because it spoiled at least half of the fun I have watching these games: not knowing how they’re gonna develop and having to come up with ideas on the fly to write the recap.

This time, I had to approach the game already knowing how it was gonna end. I thought that would totally suck. Spoiler (is this some sort of an Inception-like spoiler into another spoiler?): it didn’t.

A few years ago I read an article about how watching a movie already knowing its plot can enhance the visual experience. That was kinda true for this game also: knowing that we were gonna lose, and badly at that, completely changed the complexion of the watching experience. Instead of “what’s gonna happen?” I was getting involved into a “whodunit” type of watch.

Please don’t let it be RJ. I hope nobody got injured. What if Bobby Portis and DSJ were the main culprits and they’re gonna go into the dungeon? Let it be Fiz’s fault so that the whole Garden asks for his firing. Oh god it was Mitch, wasn’t it? He and his stupid fouls. Nah, I’m sure it was RJ getting the jitters for his MSG debut and shooting 3-18 while letting his man repeatedly torch him. I hope someone bought a jumbo pack of Kragle and glued the ball to Randle’s handle.

Well, I have to say that pretty much everything went the way I wished it went.

The game started uncharacteristically well for the 19-20 Knicks, who went up by a lot (16-4) in the early first quarter thanks to RJ’s strong play and the Celts’ futility. Player by player the second unit started making his appearance on the court and the lead slowly, surely started melting away. The first quarter ended 24-22 for the Knicks, and if I hadn’t known the final score I would have predicted a close game until the end.

The second quarter was more of the same: a few Knicks playing well, zero point guard play apart from some signs of life from Payton, a number of turnovers but a close lead for the Knicks (51-46). Nothing seemed to work for the second unit, but Barrett, Randle and Morris kept the Knicks comfortably ahead.

The third quarter was a slight diversion from the first half, in that the Celtics started hitting their shots a bit more and the lead exchanged hands while the Knicks couldn’t hit anything from three. The stanza ended 82-76 and I started wondering if Google had been wrong (or if I had one beer too much – which should not be possible, I drink like a Serbian).

In the fourth quarter the game went completely astray and with 5 minutes to go we were down 20. Google wasn’t wrong, and the culprits were (mainly) the bench players and the third occasion in a row of acute turnoverosis (26 for the night against the Celtics’ 13). Not a good game to watch, but a few good things to take away from it.

The adequate:

– Look, I feel like what RJ Barrett (26 pts, 7 rebs, 3 ast, -9 +/-) gave us in this game was a bit of fools’ gold. His total points were buoyed by an unsustainable 4-for-6 night from beyond the arc and he needed anyway 20 shots to get there. If he had missed a couple more of his threes, hitting 33% (a much more reasonable projection about his results from three) we would be looking at a 20 points on 20 shots, 5 turnovers performance. With that out of the way, one can’t just deny the sheer readiness of the kid for the big stage. This was his home court debut and he went at it like it was nothing. His drives were less efficient than what we saw in the last two games, but this was the first time he had to measure up a defender like Marcus Smart. That he came away pretty much unscathed from the battle is already a great success (I guess you remember what Smart’s defense did to KP, huh?). He also didn’t get the benefit of the doubt on a couple calls where I think he was clearly fouled, probably because of the rookie treatment. Anyway, we’re talking about a guy who’s averaging – extremely small sample size – 21/5/2.7 on 57% TS. Even if he can’t keep this up (and he won’t) if he ends up at 16/4/2 on 53% TS that’s very good promise for a rookie. Advanced stats don’t like him, but that’s because of his very high TOs number (4.3 per game) and I’m pretty confident it will come down. Especially after Mike Miller is installed as interim head coach around late December.

– The fact that Mitchell Robinson (17 pts, 6 rebs, 3 blk, -9 +/-) had a night that can be described as “frustrating” and still came away with those numbers speaks volumes about his talent and his ceiling. Since I would give him a C+ for the game, thanks to his usual foul troubles and offensive wanderlust (I mean, he seems to get the ball out of serendipity 70% of the time and played 20 minutes just because he simply can’t hold himself and committed at least two stupid and avoidable fouls), just take a guess at what would constitute an A game for him. Advanced stats means nothing after 37 minutes of play, but B-R signals that he’s again projected to post amazing numbers and I strongly believe it.

The bad:

– Dennis Smith Jr (1 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, -15 +/-) looks primed to take the scepter of “worst Knick of the season” and never relinquish it. If you want to know something about Fizdale’s basketball credo, you have to look no further than the fact that in the first three games DSJ played 26 minutes, shot 1-for-11 from the field and dished just one assist per game (hard to do worse than that, I think we all can convene) and Frank still doesn’t get another look. I know, I know, you make do with what you have, but playing DSJ right now is something that shouldn’t be encouraged at all. You don’t want to play Frank? Ok, play Kadeem.

– Allonzo Trier (2 pts, 1 reb, 1 ast, -25 +/-) is as make-or-miss as they come. After posting very solid numbers on Friday, this time he came away empty on the offensive side (0-for-4, all threes) and found a way to register the second-worst plus/minus of the game (the worst is courtesy of Knox, who at least rebounded well). I won’t blame Fiz for playing Zo this much, though. Trier is prone to slumps and he could always be on the verge of breaking through over the course of a game. I will blame Perry though because this roster is incredibly ill-fitted on the defensive side and Zo doesn’t anything there if not exacerbate the problem.

Half-pints (should be illegal):

– Elfrid Payton played 30 minutes and was a cool 0 in plus/minus in a game we lost by 23. You may not like his game (even if he had another 4 steals tonight), but there’s no doubt he should (and hopefully will) be our primary ball handler in close games.

– Julius Randle posted a minimum requirements double double (10 and 10) but turned the ball over another 5 times and is averaging 4 TPG. This has to be resolved as soon as possible and might require a few coaching adjustments. Your mileage may vary on actual hopes of that happening.

– Frank Ntilikina was inserted into the game with 18 seconds to play in the second quarter, I guess for defensive purposes. The thing is, though, that he was tasked with defending Marcus Smart (?) off the ball (???) while keeping Payton on Walker. The ball was never closer to Frank than six feet. The quarter ended and Frank never saw the court again, even while Walker went bananas on us during the third and fourth quarter and DSJ was trying to perform a Marina Abramovic routine. The crowd actually erupted in a few “We want Frank!” chants, but I can’t give them too much credit, it’s the same public that wanted Enes last year.

– Mitch committed “only” 4 fouls tonight. So why play him just 20 minutes (to Portis 27)?

– I guess everyone has already come to the conclusion that this team is coached by someone who probably saw Space Jam once and thought “oh cool, so that’s how you play basketball!”.

– But then again, all these losses are good because if the record is really too bad (like a 3-15 start) the chances of Fiz getting the boot dramatically increase. The sooner, the better.

Have a good day everyone! And see you on Tuesday after the game against the Bulls (I think it will be a win).

 

2019-20 Game Thread: Knicks vs. A Team That Willingly Signed Enes Kanter to Start For Them – THE HOME OPENER!

The Knicks host the Boston Celtics in their 2019-20 home opener. Sadly, the much-maligned Enes Kanter will not be playing tonight due to a nagging injury, and at this precise moment, I’m not even sure who WILL be starting for the Celtics at center, as Kanter’s backup, Daniel Theis, also got banged up in the Celtics last game. I assume it’ll still be Theis, but it could get freaky if he’s hurt, too. Maybe Robert Williams III?

Anyhow, since the Celtics are basically the same team as Team USA in the FIBA World Cup (and Dennis Smith’s shot looks like someone just keeps on hitting him in the elbow with a crowbar every time he shoots the ball), you would think that Frank Ntilikina would get some burn tonight. You would think that, but this is David Fizdale we’re talking about. Who the heck knows what will happen?

At least the starting lineup is the same. It’s a really quite adequate starting lineup.

The Celtics have been known to look past teams and fall apart, so coupled with this being the Knicks’ home opener and the fans should be really into it, I think the Knicks could pull this out, which would be awesome, because wins are fun and wins over the Celtics are doubly fun.

Let’s go, Knicks!