Brooklyn Nets 95 – New York Knicks 116 – Game Recap

“Don’t it always seem to go/that you don’t know what you got till it’s gone?”. Damn, it felt good to have the third worst record in the NBA. There are some things in life you really can’t avoid, though, no matter how actively you try to. The win tonight was one of them; these Nets were completely listless, especially on the boards, and apart from the first minutes of the game couldn’t hit anything. But alas, how can we complain about a win against a bad team, giving again a lot of minutes to our juniors? I guess it’s ok, after all. And we had the chance to witness a few spicy highlights, too!

And, with no further ado…

The good:

– Guys, I just love Noah Vonleh (8 pts, 10 rebs, 2 ast, +17 +/-). He’s just everywhere, pestering opposing bigs on multiple plays, grabbing boards in traffic, looking in fantastic shape and almost always playing within himself. This season he’s posting a career high percentage of shots taken inside of 10 feet (81,8%) and a career high in multiple other facets, such as TS%, Oreb%, Dreb%, a bunch of other stuff and even quadrupled his Ast%. He’s an amazing cog to have on your team, unless he regresses badly, but I’m not convinced he will. I mean, there’s nothing unsusteinable about what he’s doing. He’s a serviceable big who doesn’t get in over his head, defends averagely, moves well without the ball and seems content to shoot sparsely. In the mean time, he’s not a ball-handler for his size, and has a knack for finding guys in the right spots around the basket. He also got me salivating in the first quarter when he initiated a 4-5 PnR with Mitch that ultimately yielded no results but looked very organic and fluid. I hope to see more of that. About his game tonight: throughout all of 30 minutes of play his level of effort was very consistent, he was in the right place most of the times, and he dunked the ball with ferocity and a bit of swag, even hanging from the rim a few tenths of seconds more than it’s allowed, earning a stupid but sweeeeet technical.

– Tim Hardaway Jr. (25 pts, 5 rebs, 8 ast, +11 +/-) finally gets a mention here, and for good reasons. This was the most team friendly performance of Timmy this season, what with his 8 assists and general focus on letting the team get involved. He started slowly but steadily, finding a bunch of guys for easy shots. In the second quarter, he lobbed a sky-high pass that was clearly intended for Mitch, and found him perfectly. His shooting keeps on being a bit subpar (another sub .500 FG% night – for what it’s worth, last season he reached that threshold only 13 times), but this was the all around showing that we needed to see from THJ. For the sake of the tank it’s okay if he saves those nights only for very bad teams; for the sake of this team development, I’m not that sure, but we’ll take what we can. Nice to see him compliment Trier on a two on one fastbreak where Allonzo could have easily passed the ball for an easy layup but instead chose to go the rack himself. I don’t know how bright Tim is, but certainly seems a good-natured kid. He took another charge, sacrificing some of his face in the process. I always liked that part of his game (the charge taking one, not the blood losing). Currently he’s tied for seventh in the entire league for charges taken. Chuck Hardaway wasn’t anywhere to be found tonight.

– Frank Ntilikina (16 pts, 5 rebs, 4 ast, +15 +/-) was very shaky with his jumper inside the arc, and lost Russell a few times in the first quarter, but was again pretty good for his standard. His scoring numbers in the last two games are a bit inflated from unsusteinable sharpshooting ability from three (6-for-12) and from lucky bounces on weird floaters, but his aggressiveness is not a fluke. Now, don’t get me wrong. All of this is in context; it’s not like Frank has become prime Derrick Rose, barreling towards the rim with explosiveness and extreme quickness, but he’s not shying away from shooting the damn ball, and that is very good for his development. Oh and guess what? Zero turnovers for this bad guy tonight. I maintain he’s our best PnR initiator, only he does that at a typical SF speed, while we’re expecting him to be a lot quicker and nimble on his feet. My guess is that won’t ever happen, but that’s not a shade on him. It’s just that we need an above-average player as our first primary ball-handler to untap the full potential of Frank as a part-time PG. In the meantime I’m totally ok in developing his confidence with a streak of double figure games to shut his detractors down, and then getting back to focus on other aspects of the game. 32 minutes is more like it, Fiz.

– Damyean Dotson (10 pts, 5 rebs, 40% FG, +21 +/-) did not post gaudy numbers tonight, but hit double figures for the fifth straight time and was amazing on defensive rotations, as mirrored by his game-high plus minus. Even if his shot didn’t fall (1/6 from three) and his passing game keeps on resembling that of the late Yinka Dare, his place in the rotation looks cementified by now. I know it’s incredibly early in the season, but this kind of 3-and-D player, with the added feature of elite rebounding. Damyean is currently tied for fifth in DReb%, and ahead of him are noted board chaser Westbrook, huge human being Ben Simmons, small sample size Kevin Huerter and good rebounder Lance Stephenson. I think this guy is for real.

– Hey guys, do you know how to solve the problem of a dislocated jaw? Asking for a friend who’s stuck with his mouth open after that incredibile sequence of steal, run, dunk from Mitchell Robinson (11 pts, 3 rebs, 1 ast, +6 +/-) in the third quarter. That play alone was worth the ticket for the MitchRob experience tonight, who in limited minutes (just 15) posted his first double figure scoring game. He’s still raw and gets pushed around a little too much, but moves adequately on offense and… well.. jumps high enough that every lob in the rim vicinity is his by default. A perfect 5 for 5 from the field, by good measure he ate a Jarrett Allen in the most humiliating way possible. It has to be said, though, that said Allen attempt would have never happened if Mitch knew how to box him out. His defense leaves a lot to be desired in a lot of occasions, especially when he tries to block guys on the perimeter and ends up so far away from the basket that there’s no chance in hell that he’ll corral the rebound. He also committed a couple of very stupid fouls. Anyway, I’m amazed about how NBA ready this guy is and can’t believe our own luck.

– Allonzo Trier (12 pts, 5 rebs, 2 ast, +3 +/-) showed up tonight and played a very competent 25 minutes, scoring efficiently and with purpose. His defense was on point and acted as Fiz’s release valve when it was clear that Mitch was being badly exposed in the fourth quarter by the Nets. Fiz inserted him with around 6 minutes to go and never looked back, securing the win for the night. A good Zo game here and there is always something I can hang my hat on.

The bad:

– Trey Burke (5 pts, 50% FG, nothing else, 0 +/-) is slowly, and surprisingly, falling out of the rotation. I’m not completely against it, since his usefulness is questionable on this roster, save for the fact that it would open up playing time for Mudiay, who’s notoriously terrible. We’ll just wait and see if this is just a rough patch or something more. Maybe I’m oversensitive, but it feels like there are the first cracks in Fizdale’s shining armor as a communicator. I hope I’m wrong, but I have bad vibes about it. Anyway, Trey played only 14 minutes before Fiz caught up on his uselessness tonight.

Fun-sized bits:

– Enes Kanter’s numbers (15 pts, 15 rebs, 2 ast, +6 +/-) should have earned him a mention in the good column, but honestly there’s something about him that worries me. His body language is horrible at times, especially since he’s got benched. Even in the half-game interview with Rebecca Haarlow he looked sad and out of sorts. I don’t know if it has to do with the coaching staff, but after his first three games he looked more and more disconnected. Watching him now fills me with sadness, like watching from afar an ex that used to be extra funny when you were together but now passive-aggressively ignores you while treading water. Don’t know, I expect him to be somewhere else on January. Also, a couple of defensive possessions where he doubled on the ball handler went horribly, with him completely forgetting to get back to his man after the double, and he committed a few terrible turnovers.

– Last two paragraphs got me thinking about the Fiz-Gasol debacle in Memphis. Is it possibile that Fiz isn’t quite able to connect with people who feel (right or wrong as it may be) entitled about their role in the team? I’m not sure, but Enes went very quickly from exhilarated guy to semi-productive sad sack. That’s in contrast with Vonleh, who was good when starting from the bench and he’s still good now. I don’t know, but I’m perplexed at this development.

– Mario Hezonja put up a transparent 11 points, 4 rebounds game. You tend to forget he’s even on the roster when he’s not on the court, given what he provides to the team. Not a lot of substance in him. Beasley was better, at least he was a lot more rootable.

– Lance Thomas played 10 minutes. That’s good game planning, coach.

– Ron Baker has to be the most expensive player ever to incite a “We want (insert mascotte guy here)!” chant. It’s ok to love a hustling player, but it’s also a bit humiliating to be treated like a token scruffy walk-on while making 5 millions. The very brief Mills stint as a GM without Phil Jackson was really weird.

– Tonight NBA League Pass malfunctioned for an entire quarter, making me see the action from strange camera angles without any commentary whatsoever. During those 12 minutes I realized once and for all how much Breen and Clyde make the games more tolerable when we’re losing and exciting when we’re winning. I hope it doesn’t ever happen again, it was like watching a Marvel movie directed by Tommy Wiseau.

So, we bag this win and head to next game with the exact record of the Nets. Weren’t they supposed to maybe be a dark horse for the playoffs this year? If Caris LeVert is not cooking, they don’t look so well, and I think that D’Angelo will soon end up on the overhyped, underperforming 2015 lottery picks list, which as of now is looking longer that it should be.

Let’s see you on Halloween night against the Pacers!

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Just an Italian basketball fan with an insane passion for all things Knicks (and yes, linguine Alfredo is not a real Italian dish).

52 thoughts to “Brooklyn Nets 95 – New York Knicks 116 – Game Recap”

  1. I had no idea that mascot had a different spelling outside the States. You learn something new every day here at Knickerblogger!

  2. @1

    Damn, my european background betrayed me! Sorry :(


    Thank you! I’m honestly having a lot of fun here :)

  3. Great writeup as usual, Farfa.

    I too really like Vonleh, he does make dumb decisions on occasion but he’s active at both ends and always seems to be on top of loose balls (a little of the Oak in him.) As with all our guys, he’s not a starter on a decent team, but still a nice pickup by Perry

  4. @4


    I actually have Vonleh pegged as the next token big guy in Golden State. He’s perfect for them.

  5. Actually, piggy backing on Lavor’s idea in the previous thread… Lee and Vonleh to Washington for Rivers’ expiring is a decent idea.

    I don’t think Lee alone is compelling enough for them. But two quality bench pieces might be. Maybe Lee and Burke? Trey might have burned his bridge there, though.

  6. I’d be sad to see Vonleh go (not that we have any chance to retain him), but it makes too much sense. I’d do that in a heartbeat.

  7. I’d do Lee and Burke for Rivers. That gives them a backup point and adds some depth and plus shooting on the wing.

  8. I’m really liking Vonleh too, but it’s not like the guy will be seen around the league as having too much value. There’s a lot of decent undersized PF/C guys around who can rebound a bit and dunk. Montrezl Harrell, who I’d argue has shown more in his career to be hopeful of, signed with the Clippers for two years 12 million and didn’t have much interest in the market. If he keeps playing well the Knicks would certainly be able to re-sign him to a deal like that for example.

  9. hey, if any of you run into Dameon Dotson, can you please tell him I’m sorry I doubted his ability?

  10. If KOQ had zero trade value, I can’t imagine Vonleh does either. Unless it’s as a sweetener in a deal like Hubert mentioned.

    The problem is that so many teams have free agent dreams this summer, they’re going to cling to their expirings like gold.

  11. Vonleh is like Mase in another way: They occasionally do dumb things. I mean, Mase could be frustrating.

  12. hey, if any of you run into Dameon Dotson, can you please tell him I’m sorry I doubted his ability?

    Sure and I won’t tell him you misspelled his name. Dot and Vonleh are strong dudes. Did you notice how that guy just bounced off Dot on the and-1 in transition?

    I’m a bit wary of Vonleh. The guy was on his way out of the league when we signed him to a vet min deal where just 100K is guaranteed. Is his improved stats a situation where he’s being more energetic to rescue his career? Improvement in offensive rebounding, FTr and defense might suggest that. Still, maybe he’s focusing less on his outside shooting (many times where looked like he wanted to shoot but then stopped) and more on dishing rebounding, defense. Hard to know for sure. Giving him the 3.5m room exception wouldn’t be all that risky but paying him 7m/yr could end up a Lance-like contract we later regret. Anyway, nice pickup by front office.

  13. Nice recap, Farf. I think we benefited substantially from catching BKN on the tail end of a B2B via GSW. As such, it’s hard to read much out of this game. That said, I agree with all of Farfa’s analysis/sentiments.

    Indiana, @Dallas and @Washington will all be very good tests for us. Last time I felt that was vs. Miami, and well, we know how that turned out! My guess is that we’re 2-8 before we finish Sunday dinner (or Farfa woofs down his morning espresso)

  14. @14

    This is a version, as far as I can tell, of the “contract year” argument. That is, players tend to overperform in contract years because of greater financial motivation to do so. While intuitive, the empirical evidence doesn’t bear this out–there doesn’t seem to be any statistically significant difference in productivity between contract years and non-contract years. Any and all improvement in Vonleh’s game that isn’t the result of volatility (and most of the things he’s good at are pretty consistent year-to-year) is likely just improvement, full stop. If he keeps up this pace you certainly sign him to some kind of deal because he’ll likely significantly outperform the dollar value. I’m guessing there’s gonna be some regression, though.

  15. I’ve liked Dot’s game since day 1 and was pissed that Hornacek never gave him a real shot. His physical profile is very impressive for a 2 or a small lineup 3. He’s competitive on D and very tough on the boards.

    As much as I like Ron, I’m glad he’s been benched in favor of Trier and Dotson. Barring a trade to free up a spot for Trier, I would cut Kornet before Baker, but am good either way.

  16. it was like watching a Marvel movie directed by Tommy Wiseau.

    Nice line, Farfa.

  17. Kornet doesn’t look like he’ll be useful anytime soon, so he’s definitely the first one I’d cut.

    On that note, how nice is it that a) we know what our rotation looks like after just seven games, more or less and b) the rotation takes into account how players are performing?

    I know it’s basic coaching stuff, but we didn’t have something like this since 2012-13. With Hornacek, especially, guys were falling in and out of gameplan without any proper apparent reasoning behind it.

  18. Thanks Rama! Trying to make up for my casual mistakes by sprinkling some pop references here and there :)

    (And rereading this recap I fumbled quite a few words, maybe I should have woofed down a little more espresso, as Z-Man correctly suggested :D)

  19. I’m very intrigued by this Clippers team. They are playing some great ball so far. They’re not a title contender or anything but they’re a really interesting bunch of players. You have the two wings who are pretty efficient scorers in Gallo and Tobias Harris doing the bulk of the scoring while the defensive stalwarts Bradley and Beverly don’t kill you with their crummy offense because they have low usage rates. The bench is full of interesting players— Boban, SGA, Harrell, Lou Williams.

    That is a saucy team. Way more fun than the Lakers.

  20. @21

    I’m finding myself gravitating towards Clippers games in League Pass a lot, it started by just enjoying watching Gallo, Boban and Lou Williams, but the entire roster is fun and sneaky talented. Harris, Bradley, Beverley, Harrell, SGA is looking pretty good, they just play good basketball.

  21. About possible Lee trades what about with Pheonix?
    Lee+Burke for Chandler+Melton

    Burke is instantly their best PG and Melton isn’t playing at all. They signed Ariza this offseason so I think they want to be mildly competitive and Canaan is their starting PG. Also, Lee expires the same time as Anderson so it lines up with their cap.

  22. Buddy Hield is making my low-probability dream of dumping Tim Hardaway on Sacramento go away.

  23. Bjelica is playing like a superstar. I loved him and I felt he was super badly utilized by Thibs but he’ll come back to earth. This Sacramento team is surprisingly very fun to watch.

  24. This Clippers roster reminds me of the Rockets pre-Harden: not a contender, but so many interesting and moveable pieces that they’re a threat to acquire a star at any time. If Kawhi signs there instead of the Lakers and they swing a trade, look out next year.

  25. I wonder what Scotty Brooks is going to do with his early retirement

  26. Simmons 2 rebounds shy of a quadruple double! (…Already has the turnovers locked up)

  27. This could be an up year for coach firings. Already Lue was fired. And I agree, Brooks could be next. So what’s the over/under: 2? For GM firings, I would put the over under at 1, because I expect Thibideau won’t last the season as GM, although he might stay on as coach.

  28. Can we start placing bets on when Carmelo’s final NBA season will be? If he can’t find a place on an offense as stacked as the Rockets, he has no business playing anywhere. I don’t even think Golden State could make him revert from pumpkin form.

  29. sga is gonna be the second best rookie in this class…. and we obv passed up on him….

    Better than Doncic it Ayton?

  30. I said during Summer League that SGA reminds me of a skinny James Harden. Great feel for penetration and pace. That said, there’s no way that he looks like he has more potential than Ayton or Doncic.

    Why is there not a catastrophic-injury clause to protect teams from events like the Gordon Hayward incident? The man should be paid all of his money, but it seems to me that there should be a way to get out from the cap burden if he fails to come back the same player. Right now, he’s looking awful. I wouldn’t say that he’s done forever, but there’s a good chance he’s never the guy he once was. Fuck the Celts, but one bad break for a supermax player could be the end of a franchise’s hopes for years.

  31. I don’t even think Golden State could make him revert from pumpkin form.

    Golden State wouldn’t take him on to begin with. That’s why they’re as a great franchise as there is now, their management stays away from that type of player.

  32. Jesus, Houston is going to have a problem isn’t it? Chris Paul isn’t the type to take losing like this easily and I see certain people being scapegoated for their problems. No bueno.

  33. Vonleh’s rebounding numbers are probably going to come down a bit, and he’s doubling his career assist numbers, but his huge increase in scoring efficiency is probably fairly sustainable because it’s primarily driven by improved shot selection. Of course, he could also certainly start taking dumb shots again.

  34. In a larger sense, I think that having non-contending teams hopelessly capped out, even if due to poor mgmt, is not good for the league. I’d be in favor of a modified amnesty structure that gives teams the ability to get out from under albatross contracts by paying a tax or other penalty, and limiting teams that an amnestied player can sign with to non-contenders.

  35. I’m gonna call this now, Kawhi Leonard is winning MVP this year, unless he gets a big injury.

  36. You weren’t banging that drum when Amar’e went south…

    Amar’e was already broken. Hayward’s case was a freak accident that could effectively end his career as a legitimate NBA player.

    I’d be in favor of a modified amnesty structure that gives teams the ability to get out from under albatross contracts by paying a tax or other penalty, and limiting teams that an amnestied player can sign with to non-contenders.

    How about: teams have to pay in full, and salaries count toward the luxury tax, but do not count toward the actual cap. I don’t think the NBPA would allow players to be restricted from signing with the team of their choice. They already have given up a ton of leverage by allowing franchises to pay draftees more. It looks like a win-win, but it often forces players to choose between money and winning/lifestyle.

  37. I’m gonna call this now, Kawhi Leonard is winning MVP this year, unless he gets a big injury.

    I have Giannis.

  38. Giannis, Kawhi, Jokic, Lillard, maybe Kyrie if he goes off. Team narrative is very important, so I’d guess that it’ll go to whoever’s team outperforms their preseason predictions. Or maybe LeBron turns the Lakers roster into a 50-win team (haha) and wins one last one for the road.

  39. Whatever happens this season, not having Melo is just such a relief. I don’t wish him ill, but… I’m not feeling a lot of sympathy, either. The Rockets have too much talent not too make the playoffs, but… It could be an ugly season.

    And same for the Wiz. What is up there?

    In reverse, what is up with Sacramento? 5-3? Come on!

  40. Turns out that players and teams change faster than reputations do.

    Carmelo has played 1,059 games in his career. Here’s a question: does he play another 100?

  41. Melo might get another 100 games, but only because his connections may net him one last roster spot on the Lakers or Heat next year. But he looks done as an NBA talent. He won’t make it past next season.

  42. I dunno what connections Melo will have in Miami when Wade leaves. He’s exhausting his banana boat connections as is.

  43. I doubt it if he refuses to come off the bench and ride the pine.

    He’s coming off the bench next year no matter where he plays. No one is dumb enough to give a 35-year-old Melo starter’s minutes. I also don’t think he’ll play for anything less than a contender, so that means, if this season holds true:

    (Pistons are not contenders; they’re inexplicably 4-2 with a dreadful SRS)

    Nuggets HAHAHAHAHA

    Then there are the Lakers. I could see it, only because LeBron clearly cares about QoL instead of basketball anymore. Sad how quickly he became irrelevant in the league.

  44. I’m gonna call this now, Kawhi Leonard is winning MVP this year, unless he gets a big injury.

    I think the MVP has to come from the west. I mean, the 8th seed in the east is already below .500, and we’re only in week 2.

    I’ll take Jokic.

  45. My point about Kawhi is that LeBron isn’t winning this year with this garbage team treading water in the west and Harden is not winning it twice in a row. Jokic is not winning because he’s simply not perceived by the voters as a MVP guy, and Davis and Lillard will both suffer again from playing on a non top 3 seed team. My guess is that the Raptors will win 60+ games for the first time in their history and Kawhi will be seen as the superstar who took this team over the hump, plus the narrative on him has already had a complete 180. They’ll remember how insane he is on defense and how he’s the clear best player on his team.

    I can see Giannis being the MVP if the Bucks maintain this level of play, so it’s between both of them for me. I don’t think any of the Boston or Golden State stars will get it because it will be seen as a joint effort plus voters being sick of the Warriors’ greatness affects it too. So in the end I choose Kawhi as an early pick since I think unless someone has a season perceived by the voters as absolutely unreal (like Westbrook’s MVP season), it’s going to a guy on a team that wins 60+ games and ends up as the first or second seed at least on a conference, so Leonard is my best bet. Doesn’t mean I think he’ll actually be the guy I’d consider the MVP.

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