Post-Game Recap

NY Post: Kristaps Porzingis’ late heroics sink Knicks in crushing opening-night loss

From Stefan Bondy, who is now covering the Knicks for the Post after the Daily News let him go:

An old enemy in new digs punished the Knicks on opening night.

Kristaps Porzingis went from booed during introductions to being cursed in a chant to taking over down the stretch of Boston’s 108-104 comeback victory Wednesday night.

The Latvian dropped 30 points against his former team, including nine in the final 2 ¹/₂ minutes as the Knicks’ offense went ice cold.

Porzingis added four blocks and expertly guarded the paint against the Knicks (0-1), who managed just three total points after holding a 101-95 advantage with 3:39 minutes remaining.

With two minutes left, Porzingis was given a technical for elbowing Isaiah Hartenstein under the basket.

It prompted the MSG crowd, still bitter over the 7-foot-3 center demanding a trade in 2019, to break out a “F— Porzingis” chant.

The former Knicks All-Star responded with two clutch free throws and a 3-pointer on the following possession.

The sequence swung the momentum for good.

It was an ugly night for Julius Randle, in particular, who has stated a season goal of becoming more efficient.

In Game 1, the power forward missed 17 of his 22 shots, including a few gimmes under the basket. Randle had just 14 points in 32 minutes in his first game since undergoing minor ankle surgery in the offseason.

Jalen Brunson wasn’t much better while shooting 6-for-21 with 15 points and six assists.

The Knicks were led by Immanuel Quickley, who, two nights after failing to agree to a contract extension, dropped 24 points on 7 of 11 shooting.

His shooting carried the Knicks in the beginning of the fourth quarter, when the home team rode a 13-2 run to take its first lead of the contest.

The Knicks couldn’t hold onto it. Mostly because of Porzingis and their own missed shots.

Eh, whatever, they still crashed the boards and played tough defense. Randle and Brunson are unlikely to play as poorly as this going forward (well, Brunson, at least, is unlikely to play this poorly going forward), so they’ll likely still win a bunch of games this year. I’m still cool with 53 wins as a guess!

Now, if Randle continues to play like this…that won’t be good.

Post-Game Recap Mitchell, Love rally Cavaliers past Knicks, 121-108

From the AP:

Donovan Mitchell had 38 points and a career-high 12 assists, Kevin Love scored 16 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied to beat the New York Knicks 121-108 on Sunday night.

Mitchell and Love combined for 28 points in the final period as Cleveland outscored New York 37-15. Love made five 3-pointers and Mitchell scored 12 points — both also had four-point plays — in rallying the Cavaliers from a nine-point deficit.

Cleveland made 23 3-pointers in a franchise-record 50 attempts. Mitchell and Love each went 8 for 13 beyond the arc, while Dean Wade was 6 for 8 and scored a career-high 22 points.

“This team never loses its fight,” Love said. “Sometimes, you have to win ugly and we did that tonight. Donovan was finding guys out there, I was finding guys out there, Dean made big shots, and we just got rolling. It’s amazing playing with these guys.”

This was a weird game. Generally speaking, the Cavaliers looked like the better team throughout, as they were hitting threes at a much higher rate (and more efficiently) than the Knicks, but damned if the Knicks weren’t MORE than just “in the game,” but actually took the lead in the third quarter from a particularly strong period from their new point guard, Jalen Brunson (who, overall, probably didn’t have his finest game as a Knick).

Then the fourth quarter happened, though, and the wheels came completely off of the bus. As we all know, the Cavs’ big thing is that they are, well, you know, big. You can almost hear Woody when you see the Cavs followed by the Bucks – “The East is big, man.” Size has been, and seems like it will be, a problem for the Knicks this season. The Knicks really only have Mitch and Hart as effective “bigs” (Sims is glued to the bench), since whatever Randle does, even when he does good things, they’re not particularly big things, as he rarely acts like a big out there (no blocks or offensive rebounds, just one blocks and 13 offensive rebounds through the Knicks’ first six games), and is instead more of a secondary point forward…who just doesn’t pass that much in general (but did get seven assists in Cleveland). And when the other team is very big, like Cleveland, Mitch/Hart aren’t even all that effective, really. And if Randle doesn’t do a lot of “big” things, Obi does practically none on defense. He was roasted in the fourth.

A lot of different guys had some decent impact on the game, but overall, it definitely felt like one of those games where attrition would eventually benefit the better team, and that looked to be Cleveland throughout most of the night. That was a shame, as avoiding said attrition could have brought the Knicks a really big win.

Post-Game Recap Giannis Antetokounmpo has Bucks as last unbeaten team in NBA

From Jamal Collier:

The Milwaukee Bucks are the NBA’s last remaining unbeaten team, improving to 4-0 with a 119-108 victory against the New York Knicks on Friday night.

It’s the fourth time in franchise history the Bucks have started a season at least 4-0 and their best start since 2018-19, when they rattled off seven straight victories en route to 60 wins and the league’s best record.

“We have a very good team, but we got to stay humble as much as we can,” Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo said after Friday’s game. “I remember the year, 2018-19, we had the 7-0 start to the season, but we didn’t win the championship. [The 4-0 start] doesn’t really matter.”

Antetokounmpo nearly put up a triple-double against New York on Friday night, finishing with 30 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists to help carry Milwaukee to another victory despite starting the season without two key rotation players in forward Khris Middleton (wrist) and guard Pat Connaughton (calf).

This was a weird game, because the Knicks played so poorly that they likely would have lost had the Bucks had the Bucks not played well, but the Bucks DID play well, so it was never really in doubt in the second half.

So I really don’t know how much this loss said about this current Knicks team. When they have bad games against good teams, they lose. But is it a fluky bad performance? That’s what we don’t know at this point.

It is hilarious that RJ scored 20. Too funny.

Post-Game Recap

ESPN: Jalen Brunson, Knicks outlast Hornets 134-131 in OT

From the AP:

Jalen Brunson scored 27 points, hitting the go-ahead basket in overtime, and the New York Knicks beat the Charlotte Hornets 134-131 on Wednesday night.

Brunson also had 13 assists and seven rebounds. RJ Barrett scored 22 points, and Julius Randle had 17 for New York, at 3-1 off to its best start in 10 years.

Gordon Hayward led Charlotte with 21 points. PJ Washington, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Jalen McDaniels each had 17.

Brunson’s 3-pointer with 3:14 left in overtime gave the Knicks the lead for good — at 124-122.

“We kept fighting,” Brunson said. “We found a way to win this game. We stayed poised and kept finding plays to make at the end of the game.”

It should really be said more that Brunson kept fighting (well, Mitch, too, but guys like Mitch, as good as they are, really rely on the other players on offense, so he can be having a good game and if the guys around him suck, he won’t score). He wouldn’t let the Knicks lose tonight. Him and the Hornets lack of cohesion (playing without their All-Star point guard, LaMelo Bell, as well as their second best plater, and other lead guard, Terry Rozier) were the decisive things keeping this from being a loss for the Knicks. If this was last year’s Knicks team, this was a guaranteed loss. So that was nice to see.

But boy, the Hornets sure played d-u-m DUMB, right down to PJ Washington not making sure his foot was behind the line on what could have been a game-tying three.

The Knicks’ perimeter defense was pathetic tonight. Luckily, Mitch played very well on defense in the paint, but Hartenstein was left in no man’s land a lot and it did not look good (it reminds me of some similar breakdowns last year where Mitch and Noel were just stuck with every perimeter player just letting their man go right to the hoop).

Randle played well at times, but often also fell back into the awful ISO stuff (at least they were terrible drives to the basket as opposed to even worst fadeaways). I swear, when Brunson was forced to give the ball up, the other Knicks didn’t seem to want any part of the ball (I really though Charlotte should have tried harder to get the ball out of Brunson’s hands late).

But, whatever, it was an ugly win, but it was a win, and it shows how valuable Brunson is to this team. Without him, hoo boy, they would not be any good.

Post-Game Recap

NY Post: Jalen Brunson helps Knicks stave off comeback in win over Magic

From Zach Braziller:

Eight minutes and 13 seconds remained in the third quarter and the Garden was suddenly quiet. A 10-point lead had vanished and the new point guard, Jalen Brunson, had just picked up his fourth foul despite hitting the floor himself.

Tom Thibodeau didn’t go to his bench, despite the situation.

“‘Thibs,’ ” Brunson yelled out to his new coach, and Thibodeau didn’t flinch.

That is how much he trusts his new floor general. Brunson responded by not only avoiding his fifth foul until the fourth quarter, but picking the Knicks up off the mat as well.

Brunson scored the game’s next seven points, and his teammates followed his lead with an explosive 25-9 run to take control, sending the Knicks to their second win in as many games at the Garden, 115-102, over the young and winless Magic on Monday night.

Another nice win! Boy, the Magic really hung in there, right? But the Knicks answered each call. It sure is nice to have a good point guard.

Surprising to see both teams only play ten guys, though.

Post-Game Recap

NY Post: Knicks offense breaks out with laugher over Pistons in home opener

From Zach Braziller:

This felt like the college powerhouse handpicking its first opponent to impress the home fans. A carefully selected team intended to create a sense of optimism.

Though the Knicks had no say in who they opened up with at the Garden on Friday night, the Pistons would have been at the top of their list if they had that option: A young team feeling good coming off its first season-opening victory in three years.

Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey and Co. were perfect foils, easy marks for the far hungrier, ball-moving Knicks. Tom Thibodeau’s team didn’t mess around after the disappointing overtime loss to the Grizzlies two nights ago, leading by 10 after one quarter and cruising to its first win, a 130-106 whipping of Detroit at a joyous and sold-out Garden.

“We knew the energy we had to come out with, and we just had a lot of fun and shared the ball,” said Obi Toppin, a force off the bench with 16 points in 21 minutes.

Pick a player, basically any player who touched the court, and he was productive for the Knicks. The starters continued to thrive. The second unit excelled. Players who weren’t at their best in the opener — RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Toppin, Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley — were terrific, and the ball bounced the Knicks’ way. Even when a Rose feed for a cutting Isaiah Hartenstein went through his hands, it caromed to Toppin for an uncontested 3-pointer.

Great win. I want them to play the Pistons every game. Can that be arranged?

Post-Game Recap

NY Post: Knicks fall to Ja Morant, Grizzlies in OT, spoiling Jalen Brunson’s debut

From Zach Braziller:

It was valiant. It was gusty. It wasn’t good enough. Certainly not the first half and not in overtime.

The Knicks overcame a 19-point deficit, and they had opportunities late in regulation and overtime to overcome Ja Morant and the Grizzlies. When the game was there for the taking, the big play eluded them at both ends of the floor.

Julius Randle fouling out early in the extra session proved crucial, as did RJ Barrett’s ugly 3 of 18 shooting performance. Jalen Brunson missed all three of his shots in overtime. The result was a frustrating, 115-112 overtime loss to the shorthanded Grizzlies at FedEx Forum on Wednesday night.

Tyus Jones’ tie-breaking 3-pointer with 47.7 seconds provided the deciding margin, as the Knicks missed their final four shots, including Evan Fournier’s 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Get teams on the phone right now, Leon, try to get a first for the Reddishaance!

That was a well fought game against a good Memphis team (although one missing a decent amount of players), and the Knicks should feel proud. That pass by Brunson to Reddish for the game-tying three was the most head’s up pass we’ve seen from a Knick since Jason Kidd was on the team.

If the Knicks play like this regularly, they’ll beat a whole lot of teams.