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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

New York Knicks 112 – Atlanta Hawks 107 – Game Recap

Dum-dum-dum, another win bites the dust.

A worthy last installment of the Suckitude trilogy, tonight’s game left us with the bittersweet aftertaste of victory among the uneven development of some of our youngsters. I can’t shake the feeling that every win that comes on the heels of playing Kanter, Hezonja or whoever else who’s not part of our future is ultimately slightly detrimental to us, but it’s not like you can ask your coach to throw games away just because.

This one was easily foreseeable, anyway (as I predicted two days ago), so we take it and move on.

The good:

– Enes Kanter (17 pts, 11 rebs, 2 blk, +3 +/-) looks to have regained a little of good body language after his last strong performances. Maybe he understood that starting from the bench is not that bad for him, as he keeps on posting double doubles with the same easiness I push the forward button to skip Rebecca Haarlow’s interludes. The Hawks, as of now, are a really terrible team, so I can’t say much about Enes defensive effort. He was a little more nimble on his feet, but a springy and hungry Miles Plumlee was able to jump over or around him as if the beefy Turk was an afterthought, and the oldest Plumlee brother is not exactly a worldbeater. By the way, did you know that Miles is already 30? I feel old. It seems yesterday that he was jumping around as the starting center of the only good Hornacek teams in Phoenix.

– Chuck Hardaway Jr. (34 pts, 1 reb, 3 ast, +20 +/-) was in full gunslinger mode, only his aim from the field was poor, rivaled only by his shot selection. Fortunately, he was able to go to the line a lot, like 20 times a lot. For what it’s worth, only one other Knicks shot as many in a single game since 2006: Chauncey Billups in 2011 (Knicks record is 26). You already know I don’t like Timmy’s game that much, and we were playing the derelict Atlanta team, but his contribution to this offensively inept squad can’t be overlooked. Our offensive sets are so bad you almost need someone willing to shoot from anywhere just because. 34 points on 22 shots are also good. It also looks like his back isn’t troubling him anymore.

– Allonzo Trier (16 pts, 4 rebs, 1 ast, -7 +/-) is spoiling us a bit. As an undrafted rookie with a 2-way contract – due to an upgrade as soon as it’s mandatory – he’s providing a much needed scoring punch from the bench with upper echelon efficiency (81st percentile of qualifying players in TS%). Tonight, 16 points on 7 shots and a naaaaaasty move on Kent Bazemore with 2:34 to go in the last quarter. Too bad Zo didn’t pull a Harden and glare-shamed Baze’s broken ankles for a second or two before calmly sinking the shot. Kid’s not ready to shoulder a bigger load, but as a tertiary scoring menace he’s already an NBA player. His ceiling is definitely lower, but it’s the second consecutive game between Knicks and Hawks where he looks better than Trae Young.

The bad:

– Fizdale ATOs deserve a mention here. Remember how in my sushi-fueled rave of a recap of the Bulls game I made a little fun of Fiz’s playcalling during timeouts. Well, tonight we witnessed the nadir of it: with 10:08 to go in the second quarter, Fiz called a timeout after a bad defensive rotation that ended in a wide open Lin three. He inserted Frank back in the game, yanking Mudiay out of the game and (presumably) drawing a play for the ensuing possession. Guess what? We weren’t even able to inbound the ball. On our half of the court. Yeah, it’s really that bad.

– Damyean Dotson (3 pts, 3 rebs, 2 ast, +6 +/-) gave us his first dud of the season. Foul trouble plagued him from the first quarter, and he was never able to get into a rhythm. He finished with just 18 minutes played. Nothing to worry about, just a bad game that ends his streak of games in double figures. I’m pretty sure Dot will bounce back very easily from this poor performance.

– Kevin Knox (0 pts, 1 ast, -14 +/-) did his best Lance Thomas impression tonight. With Lance sidelined with “Injury/Illness” (are the doctors not sure if his suckiness is derived from a virus or a contusion?), Knox was perfect in substituting him missing all of his 6 shots and doing almost nothing else, notching a team-low -14 plus minus. I get that he’s being eased into the rotation and that he’s a rookie, so I don’t read much into it, but I’d certainly like to see him a little more engaged. We’ll live with our recently injured rookie stinking for a bit.

Fun-sized bits:

– Frank Ntilikina had an encouraging offensive outing (14 points on 10 shots), but even while starting as PG his game screams “Andre Roberson with slightly better handle and above-average passing instincts”. Who knows if by the end of the year we’ll know what we have on our hands with him. Also, he fouled out on a lot of early-KP frustrating dumb fouls. I will never understand why he fouls so much bigs right under the basket.

– I fear that Noah Vonleh reads my recaps and took for serious my off-brand Draymond Green remark about him. Tonight he shot 5 threes (hitting 2, which is not the worst outcome), after attempting just 10 in the previous 11 games. I like him better when he plays around the paint, I’m a bit worried that he’ll cut himself some slack trying to avoid some banging inside. 40 minutes of play for him, another double double and a +16 plus/minus, anyway, so good for him.

– 23 minutes of playing time for Mudiay, who alternated between horrendous and tolerable. The stat line is not bad (11 pts, 5 rebs, 3 ast), but I guess it won’t be soon he’ll hit again 3-for-3 from the three point line. Every single one of his attempts near the rim were of the Circus of Horrors variety, in a very vintage Mudiay fashion. And Trey Burke lost his spot to this guy!

– Mitch keeps on being a monster offensive rebounder and a weak defensive one, and he keeps on swatting guys on three points attempts (I’m pretty sure there’s nobody keeping track of those stats, but I’ll go out on a limb and say if there was such a stat Mitch would set the record by a landslide as soon as we reach game 20). He even uncorked a nice looking fadeaway step back from 12 feet in the third quarter. I can’t wait to see him get consistenly used to NBA level competition and unleash his fully developed repertoire. His numbers for now (and rookie ranking among qualifying players): .202 WS/48 (1st), 4.4 BPM (1st), 141 ORtg (1st), 0.3 VORP (3rd), 13.5 Reb% (5th). Oh and also: 107 DRtg (21st – welp) and 12.3 DReb% (15th). The defensive part needs a bit of smoothening, but he’s good. I wish he played a little more tonight, only 16 minutes for him.

– I like Omari Spellman. I think he’ll have a nice career in the NBA. Trae Young is still a bit of a mess (as young PGs are wont to do), but his passing ability is undeniable. I’ll never understand why Atlanta traded away Doncic, but Young is way better than I expected him to be, even at this chrysalis stage.

We’re at 1/7th of the season and have won exactly 33.3% of our games, perfectly on pace for 27-55, which was my initial prediction. I’ll take it, even if probably won’t be good enough for 4th-worst in the league.

This will be my last recap until the Orlando game on Nov, 18th, because at last me and lady Farfa will take a little vacation (the first this year, we had a lot of work to do), going to Santo Domingo for a little more than a week. Have fun in the meantime!

 

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55 comments on “New York Knicks 112 – Atlanta Hawks 107 – Game Recap

  1. Bruno Almeida

    Have a great vacation Farfa! I’ll be looking forward to the recaps when you come back rejuvenated from a week without watching the Knicks slog through these games!

    So far we’ve beaten the Hawks twice, the Mavs, both very bad teams, and the Nets, who are looking pretty decent. The rest of November should be super rough as there’s only the Magic twice in the terrible team category, and an away game with the Grizzlies who I don’t think are bad at all (and are undefeated in Memphis). There’s away games with the Raptors, Celtics, Pelicans, Sixers, Pistons and Thunder, at home against the Pelicans and Blazers. It’s a pretty realistic outcome to expect this team to go 2-9 on this stretch, probably closer to 3-9 with an unexpected win here and there.

  2. Hubert

    I can’t shake the feeling that every win that comes on the heels of playing Kanter, Hezonja or whoever else who’s not part of our future is ultimately slightly detrimental to us, but it’s not like you can ask your coach to throw games away just because.

    You’re right. Kanter really needs to be traded. He’s got the knack for having just enough really good games to derail the tank and stunt the development of Mitchell. The Lakers have $31mm in expiring contracts to mix and match with, and youngsters like Hart and Ball ready to step in if you had to trade Rondo or Pope. Tyson Chandler is useful but too old to be more than a backup. I’d try to swing something with them.

  3. swiftandabundant

    Hezonja could be a part of the future. I mean, he isn’t exactly playing like someone who’s gonna get a huge contract. Maybe we can keep him for cheapish if we strike out on free agency.

    Tim is part of the future for the time being, so I don’t think we should be angsty if he plays well and helps us win games.

    We really can’t complain about hurting the tank against Atlanta. They are awful. We gotta win some games and we might as well win them against the teams we should beat. Losing every single game is not good for player development.

  4. Farfa Post author

    @5

    Yup! That was a bit of litotes on my behalf. But honestly, I’m not sure if I like this version of Vonleh. If he proves he can shoot >34% from 3pt it’s another reason to pair him with Mitch. His career percentage, though, is barely 30%, and I’m afraid night like these will affect his decision making dimishing his aggressiveness.

  5. Count de Pennies

    His ceiling is definitely lower, but it’s the second consecutive game between Knicks and Hawks where he looks better than Trae Young.

    Could that be the reason why Clyde consistently refers to Trier as “Trae-er”?

  6. 2FOR18, understands math

    litotes = my 3rd trip to the dictionary.

    So, Phil Rizzuto was employing this all those years whenever he said something like “2 for 4 with a HR, not too shabby..”

  7. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Hezonja could be a part of the future. I mean, he isn’t exactly playing like someone who’s gonna get a huge contract. Maybe we can keep him for cheapish if we strike out on free agency.

    We should check and see if Bargnani is available for a vet’s min while we’re at it. Maybe Michael Carter-Williams will come to be a PG mentor to Frank, too.

    TS% .440
    WS48 -0.039
    BPM -5.8
    VORP -0.2
    WP48 -0.200 (wow!)

    Seriously, why would the Knicks give him another contract when there are scores of NCAA talent declaring for next season? How could the Knicks possibly do worse on a reasonable UFA signing?

  8. 2FOR18, understands math

    I’d rather have lost this game with Hardaway on the Kings or wherever, with Knox, Trier and Frank getting his 36 minutes. Nothing against the guy, but he’s a net negative at that salary.

  9. taward

    Nothing against the guy, but he’s a net negative at that salary.

    We knew that the minute he signed that offer. I don’t think he’ll ever live up to that contract. And, as such, it’ll cost us something to offload it. But, this is the modern NBA, Timmy thinks he’s doing the right thing.

    We gotta win some games and we might as well win them against the teams we should beat. Losing every single game is not good for player development.

    This. If tanking is depressing to watch, it’s got to be hell to execute. Development and winning a couple games don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Fiz doesn’t seem to believe that but it must be true, no?

  10. chrisk06811

    this is going to come out wrong, but I wonder if Enes’ bad body language is just kinda, you know, how he looks?

  11. 2FOR18, understands math

    As an example of what we could do with Timmy’s and Hezonja’s $ next year, Rubio and JaMychal Green are UFAs.
    Say we throw out a starting line-up of Rubio, Durant/Kawhi/Butler, #1 pick, KP, Mitch Rob. With a bench mob of Frank, Trier, Dotson, Knox, Green.
    That seems like a doable, fun team with a 2nd round of playoffs floor, with a nice mix of everything you’d want in a team.

    Edit: If you have to throw in Knox to get rid of Timmy’s contract, I’d do it, assuming we get a commit from one of the 3 of Durant/Butler/Kawhi.

  12. Stratomatic "Is Dotson our best two-way player with Porzingis out?"

    If KP comes back and looks really good (even if on a minutes restriction), this team will be close enough to being “ok” that some star player might be willing to sacrifice 1 year of his career as a development year (like James this year) to come to NY.

    If KP does not come back, looks bad, and/or we continue sinking into the lottery hole, not only is no one very good going to come NY (unless we overpay), it means we are buried in lottery hell for several years to come because the young players we have now are “too” young and/or not very good.

  13. wetbandit

    This recap is what a hater, trying to be funny, looks like. Thumbs down.

    Entitled to your opinion, but when I hear people calling people names like ‘haters’ without an actual… you know… rebuttal?… I realize that the ‘hater’ may just be offensive to your delicate sense of reality. Delicate, because it’s wrong. I am not attacking you, but the country at large right now, through this Knickerblogger post, #18 on this November 8, 2018 day.

  14. Jack Bauer

    Great recap, thanks Farfa.
    Have a wonderful trip.

    It’s early , but looking at the standings I see the Knicks as finishing no higher than the 6th worst record – Hawks, Cavs, Bulls, & Mav, and Suns are going to be tough to out suck. So unless they get some lotto magic we’ll be looking at another pick in the 6-9 range. Which is usually not exactly stocked with franchise altering talent unless the basketball gods are smiling on us. That is rare because Dolan.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  15. Hubert

    If KP does not come back, looks bad, and/or we continue sinking into the lottery hole, not only is no one very good going to come NY (unless we overpay)

    I know everyone keeps saying this, but it has no basis in reality. It doesn’t even make sense. It only makes Stephen A. Sense. It sounds like a great take and if you say it over and over you might think it’s true. But it’s not.

    KP had a normal injury. The more time he has to recover from it, the better his long term outlook will be. Another NBA player would know this. And another NBA player would never in a million years decide his future based on how someone looked in 10 games.

    If we rush KP back for this stupid reason, it would significantly increase the chances of another injury. And THAT is what would doom us to hell. That’s the scenario that needs to be avoided at all costs.

  16. swiftandabundant

    Wouldn’t the flattened lottery odds make it ok to be the 6th worst team? I know it would affect how far we could fall but wouldn’t our chance of getting the top pick be about the same?

  17. Farfa Post author

    Not going to debate on whether I’m able to write funny things or not (I might as well be failing at that in the same way Dolan fails at music), but may I ask what would I be hating on, by chance?

  18. swiftandabundant

    Jowles loves to bring up Bargs anytime I post something he doesn’t like.

    Bargs at the vet minimum coming off the bench would have been very different for us than trading for him to be a starter and including a first round pick to do so.

    Just saying.

    Also, Mario is much younger than Bargs was when we got him.

    Just saying.

    And I really only see Mario as a possible bench player for us. I’m just not ready to say no way to him because he is also a young player and this season is about developing and evaluating all of our young talent to see who can be a part of the future. That includes Mario. So I don’t think its fair to complain about wining games bc Mario played decently against The Hawks bc he could THEORETICALLY still be a part of our future.

  19. Bruno Almeida

    In the new odds the 3 worse teams have 14% at the top pick, then it’s 12.5, 10,5, 9, 7,5, 6, 4,5, 3, 2, 1,5, 1, 0,5.

    So I’d say in regards to getting the 1st overall, being 5th or 6th isn’t that terrible. It’s just that if a team under you moves, or if nothing happens, that’s just one or two positions away from the actual top prospects, which should be probably around 4 or 5 this year between Williamson, Barrett, Reddish, Little and Langford or anyone who moves up in stock.

  20. swiftandabundant

    Ah yes. the Chandler tip out. I remember when he first signed here LOVING those tip outs but by the end of his stint here they annoyed me. Just grab the rebound and put it back up for the stuff!

  21. Owen

    Tough crowd! Chandler is a 7 foot long splinter, it’s much easier for him to tip the ball near the apex than to try to secure it in traffic with his build. You’re right though, a lot of guys are better at directly converting offensive boards. I still think it’s a pretty effective technique and I bet MitchRob would excel at it too.

  22. wetbandit

    The whole shtick about “odds are flatter so picking 1-6 is fine” shtick doesn’t really make too much sense to me if someone can explain it to me. From what I see:
    Chances at 1st pick overall:
    Team #1: 14%
    #2: 14%
    #3: 14%
    #4: 12.5%
    #5: 9.8%
    #6: 9.7%
    then it tapers more significantly to 6.8%, etc. So overall, pretty flat chances for at top pick for #1-#6. Fine. But it’s still pretty damn low. I mean, 14%?
    Top 1-3 pick:
    #1: 50%
    #2: 50%
    #3: 50%
    #4: 36.6%
    #5: 29.7%
    #6: 29.5%
    Looks like being #1-3 is SIGNIFICANTLY better than #4-6.
    Other advantages are not picking worse than 5th if you’re #1, 6th if you’re #2, 7th if you’re #3, etc.

    All of this to say, it’s not very guaranteed that you’re picking at the top the worse you are, but your chances are a whole lot higher. Which is to say, you better be #1-3.

  23. wetbandit

    I may be late to realize this, but the main difference this year is them adding a new spot to land for each team, 1 lower than last year (last year, the lowest #1 could go was the fourth pick, now they added the fifth pick, with a 48% (!!!!!) chance of landing it, the same holds for each spot). The chances of DROPPING are very high, about 50% at each spot. The chance of rising is very low, and spread among more teams.
    So again, I guess you better be 1-3, and you better pray.

  24. d-mar

    Tough crowd! Chandler is a 7 foot long splinter, it’s much easier for him to tip the ball near the apex than to try to secure it in traffic with his build. You’re right though, a lot of guys are better at directly converting offensive boards. I still think it’s a pretty effective technique and I bet MitchRob would excel at it too.

    Tip outs have slightly less value now because of the 14 second shot clock reset.

  25. swiftandabundant

    The Chandler tip out was effective at times. Sometimes it was the only way to go if you aren’t positioned to actually grab the board. But there were times when it felt like he could have grabbed the board instead of tipping it out.

  26. Owen

    Tip outs have slightly less value now because of the 14 second shot clock reset.

    That’s actually a great point and I feel a little dumb for not realizing it. I guess it’s probably true of all offensive rebounds. Wonder if that will change any inputs in the various models.

    I confess to being a total homer for Gallo and Chandler (and David Lee still.) My favorite knicks of these two very sorry decades…

  27. Stratomatic "Is Dotson our best two-way player with Porzingis out?"

    I know everyone keeps saying this, but it has no basis in reality. It doesn’t even make sense. It only makes Stephen A. Sense. It sounds like a great take and if you say it over and over you might think it’s true. But it’s not.

    KP had a normal injury. The more time he has to recover from it, the better his long term outlook will be. Another NBA player would know this. And another NBA player would never in a million years decide his future based on how someone looked in 10 games.

    If we rush KP back for this stupid reason, it would significantly increase the chances of another injury. And THAT is what would doom us to hell. That’s the scenario that needs to be avoided at all costs.

    It’s pretty hard for me disagree with everything someone says, but I do here.

    1. It’s almost impossible that KP would come back for just 10 games. That would be dumber than a rock. There’s no upside and all downside. He’s either going to come back with more than enough time to evaluate and make progress in his recovery or he’s not coming back at all.

    2. He will only come back when he’s 100% ready. There will be no incremental risk involved and nothing to be gained by staying out longer.

    3. The only way he’ll stay out longer is if they decide they want to tank the rest of the season, he wasn’t ready until it reached the point where it made no sense to come back (as in #1), or he because he has no extension and doesn’t want the risk.

    4. No superstar is going to operate on the assumption that KP is going to be 100% next year if he hasn’t seen enough of him this year to make a judgement. No one knows how he’s going to come back. All we have is stats and they may not even apply to a 7’3″ guy.

    A healthy KP coming back and playing well will 100% help the Knicks chances of landing a FA. It’s not the only factor, but it’s one of them.

  28. Stratomatic "Is Dotson our best two-way player with Porzingis out?"

    That’s actually a great point and I feel a little dumb for not realizing it. I guess it’s probably true of all offensive rebounds. Wonder if that will change any inputs in the various models.

    It should definitely decrease the value of offensive rebounds. It has in my thinking, but I doubt anyone has enough data to know what the correct adjustment is. IMO, they all overrate offensive rebounds as is (or to be more specific, guys that do a lot of their scoring off offensive rebounds).

  29. Owen

    Not getting into that kind of debate. Served my time.

    I do think it’s going to be interesting to see how the 14 second rule works out. I am a big fan, like everyone I think, but i wonder if there will be any unanticipated consequences. It is kind of amazing that a rule with such broad support took this long to get enacted.

  30. chrisk06811

    I’m guessing Henry George is Silverman, and he’s jealous what a great job Farfa is doing right out of the gate.

    And to answer our author:

    Not going to debate on whether I’m able to write funny things or not (I might as well be failing at that in the same way Dolan fails at music),
    Nope….Dolan fails at everything. his +/- at life is negative

  31. chrisk06811

    btw, I’d be happy to take a stab at a writeup when Farfa is away, if you guys can stomach poor grammar, unchecked spelling, and a JV knowledge of basketball. I will be gone next week, but back from the 18th to the 30th.

  32. Hubert

    It’s pretty hard for me disagree with everything someone says, but I do here.

    Back at you :)

    A healthy KP coming back and playing well will 100% help the Knicks chances of landing a FA. It’s not the only factor, but it’s one of them.

    ^ The only thing I agree with. I just don’t believe in the opposite.

    There are many ways a potential free agent can determine if Porzingis is healthy. One of them is seeing him in action for a portion of the NBA season. Another is knowing he had a full rehab. Another is seeing him in offseason workouts.

    Do you not remember, for instance, how Carmelo Anthony was ready and willing to sign with the Bulls if we didn’t offer the mega max even though Derrick Rose hadn’t proved he was healthy? They just let Melo watch him working out in the gym FFS.

  33. d-mar

    Actual headline in the NY Post (Berman):

    “Derrick Rose’s big night gives Knicks hope for Mudiay’s potential”

    I can’t even……

  34. Max

    Good recap Farfa, have a nice vacation!

    Any theory or comment on Burke’s disappearance?
    Yesterday DNP-CD sound strange to me, if memory serves he’s on a not guaranteed until january, maybe he could be in the mix (with Kornet and Baker) when Iso-Zo’ll get his full contract?

    The Post’s headline is too stupid even for a Post’s headline… Berman’s a (well introduced) clown…

  35. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    I think we all agree the Knicks will convert Trier to a full time player instead of a two way one when they have to and assuming injuries don’t intervene. He can play on the regular roster for 45 days before they have to decide. That is roughly until the beginning of December, but travel days don’t count towards the 45 days, so let’s say they have to make a decision by roughly the middle of December, give or take a couple of days. As it happens December 15th is the first day players signed over the summer can be traded. It’s also about 30 games into the season, which is long enough for teams to make up their mind they have to do something. Perry and company would certainly rather trade a player for something rather than just cut someone. I think it unlikely he can find a reasonable deal, but stranger things have happened. If we got a second round pick or two for Baker or maybe Burke, that would probably be worth it.

  36. bobneptune

    If we got a second round pick or two for Baker or Burke…

    Yeah…. I can just imagine the phone lines burning up to pay a pick for Baker and his contract…..

  37. Bruno Almeida

    Holy shit did Melo really go 1-11 against the Thunder?? How is that even possible!!

    Brb I’ll be at reddit laughing at the Rockets fans who said it was a “no-risk signing” and that Paul would make him better.

  38. Bruno Almeida

    If I’m the Raptors or Celtics I’m doing everything I can to avoid playing the Bucks in the second round. Too scary.

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