2015-16 Recap: Knicks 112, Blazers 110

Excuse me for getting this up late today, guys and gals, I got myself good and drunk to celebrate the win last night and thought perhaps it wasn’t the best time to write. Or maybe it was, I probably would have been more funny. Now I feel like I deprived you of the drunken review you deserved. Oh well, here goes a somewhat-hungover attempt at analyzing last night’s impressive comeback win.

What a strange game. Kristaps submitted 0 points, in large part I think due to the fact that it was the second night of a B2B and he had to battle Cousins down the stretch in Sacramento. Again, I like the small-ball lineup of putting Zingis at the 5 because of the spacing it creates, but he CANNOT be guarding a guy like Cousins for any kind of extended minutes. The kid will get beat up, and it showed against Portland. Taps was not ready to play. The infamous rookie wall is real, and though it may not be a massive block of ice that rises 700 feet into the sky like the one north of Winterfell, the metaphorical wall still has an imposing reputation, and few rookies can escape it.

I noted that Melo looked pissed off towards the end of the Sacramento game, and he carried that over the state lines straight into Portland. Melo had a 13/21 night shooting for 37 points, submitting a TS% of .741. However, despite all this, his +/- was -7. What? Yes, you read that right. The real hero of the game was…… the bench? Collectively our oft-made-fun-of-by-me bench was +42 last night, and they were the deciding factor. The bench has cost the Knicks plenty of games this year, but they were ready to fill in for an anemic Jose Calderon and Kristaps Porzingis in Portland. Maybe they scored some great weed in a Portland Dispensary and had an epic bongo session before the game to build confidence, and if they did, I recommend they do that before every game. Derrick Williams was sensational (3-4 from 3 and +18), but I think seeing O’Quinn freed from the prison cell he calls the bench was the most relieving thing about the game. O’Quinn was 7/8 from the field with 7 rebounds in only 19 minutes, and showed once again why he should be the first big man off the bench, not Kevin Seraphin (a coach’s DNP, another happy statistic from last night).

The Knicks were down 10 entering the 4th quarter and the Porzingod had accomplished nothing. It looked like another night to hold my face in my hands glumly as I watched the seconds tick away on another road loss, but the Knicks played with a fire I’ve seen from them several times in 4th quarters as of late. They had real chances to beat Dallas and Sacramento in similar 4th-quarter comebacks this past week, but couldn’t quite seal the deal. Last night, Melo would not be denied. As if he knew the fanbase was turning against him, Melo seemed to have purpose to remind us, himself, and the league, that he is still an incredible scorer when he is on and can win a game with his talent. The performance shines even brighter considering that Taps was a non-factor, and it was awesome to see retro-Melo do his thing.

Portland’s guards scored plenty of points as I assumed they would against the Knicks’ lackluster backcourt, but Lillard was a Kobe-esque 11-28 from the field in large part due to Langston Galloway and Aaron Afflalo’s efforts on defense. He had to work for every shot, and it showed in the 4th quarter as his legs began to fade. Like every other person with a pulse, I was terrified of that last shot he put up, but once it went out and the buzzer was sirening the echoes of the Knicks finally being off the schneid, all was well in Knicksland.

The Knicks get a couple of well-deserved days of rest before hosting Minnesota and KAT, and after only 19 minutes in Portland last night, Taps should have all the energy he needs to come at the #1 pick full-throttle. Really should be a fun game, and with Philly and Okafor looming after, the Knicks have a real chance to be a game from .500 after Wednesday and back in the discussion for a playoff berth rather than a depressing slog to a lottery they have no ping pong ball in. As I’ve said before, the Knicks have no incentive to lose this year, so they may as well compete like they did last night and see if some of the other East teams start to regress after the quarter-mark of the season.

Okay, I’m gonna go lay back down and wait for NFL kickoff. Our (amazingly) tied for first place Giants (5-7) don’t play until Monday, but for those of you that are degenerates like me that are playing the first playoff game in Fantasy today, or have a friendly wager or two on some of today’s games, it’s a rather big day regardless. And any day sitting on a Knicks win is a good day, so enjoy the unseasonably warm weather and kick those feet up, everybody.

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Erik Judd

I'm a lifelong basketball fan whose interests range from some things to other things.

3 thoughts to “2015-16 Recap: Knicks 112, Blazers 110”

  1. Good recap. It was easy to forget when he was buried on the bench that O’Quinn’s contract has the potential to produce some serious value for us over the next few years, but not if our coach gives terrible players all of his minutes. Let’s hope that particular change in the rotation sticks!

  2. I like O’Quinn but we shouldn’t forget it was only one game against a team with not so good bigs. This applies to LT, DWill and Melo too.

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