Game Recap: Knicks vs. Hawks




I’m still cheering. That felt so good. Excuse me for a second…


The Knicks were especially sharp in their thrashing of the Hawks, a team that I’ve shaken more than a few fists at over the years. I hate losing to the Hawks, mainly because my heart tells me that the Knicks should always be better than them. If the Hawks are awful, the Knicks have to be slightly less awful. If the Hawks are good, the Knicks have to be very good. If the Hawks are contenders to the Eastern Conference crown, the Knicks have to be NBA champions. That’s the way it works in my head, but it rarely ever happens that way. It happened that way for one afternoon in January of 2016, and thank goodness for small victories.

Arron Afflalo got a little bit of a finger wagging from me in the very early Game Thread, and he responded in kind. I lamented his inconsistency, pinning it on the limits of his talent, and he read what I wrote and threw it back in my face with a nifty…otherworldly…38 points on nearly perfect shooting. I know he read what I wrote because he’s a Knick and this is Knickerblogger and the two coexist in the same domain of reality. We are the Knicksingularity.

It’s hard to imagine the Knicks being able to maintain that level of play more than a game or two, although that’s the dream, but it’s very encouraging that the team responded to Derek Fisher’s harsh words in the press, and in the locker room, and on the practice floor, and by himself in the shower, and in his sleep…and beat down a really good team. Fisher isn’t likely to be so assertive about his criticism in the press very often, but when it happens the team responds. That’s a good team/coach relationship and it’s very encouraging given the difficulty we fans have in reading Fisher’s coachspeak, flatline response to victories and defeats alike.

We get these Hawks again in a couple of days and I’m sure Budenholzer will be rally his troops in the same manner. If we can figure out how to do something like this again, we might have something to build a little momentum. We shall see.

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16 thoughts to “Game Recap: Knicks vs. Hawks”

  1. I’ve got a feeling we are going to get spanked on Tuesday, but I’ll enjoy this win until then.

  2. By my calculations, the Knicks could emerge above .500 in the middle of February when they play the Nets and Minnesota back-to-back (both road games). 38 wins still seems like a reasonable expectation.

  3. I’ve got a feeling we are going to get spanked on Tuesday, but I’ll enjoy this win until then.

    Yeah, I love all wins. This one was a particularly fun one.

  4. I really wanted 2 of 3 from the Hawks. I think it’s a good barometer of the progress to see the same team three times in short order and win the little series against them. It’s not likely at this point, but it has that little baseball feel if you take 2 of 3 and then get on a roll.

  5. It was nice to see Afflalo have one of those games. We need him to be more consistent. Any wins during this stretch are amazing.

  6. By my calculations, the Knicks could emerge above .500 in the middle of February

    Wait a minute– weren’t you on here calculating that they’d be .500 by the New Year, or was that somebody else?

    (And why stop at .500? If Afflalo continues to shoot like Steph Curry on steroids, the Knicks could be atop the east by mid-February! :)

  7. The tighter rotation and staggered substitution pattern in this game was a welcome sight. There were generally one or two starters on the floor at all times. It was the best overall game I’ve seen the team play all year. They were moving the ball, knocking down open shots, closing out hard and generally looking like a well-coached team. Sure, it helped that Afflalo was playing like he had a cheat code activated but this was a solid team effort. Jerian had it cooking, RoLo played a great two-way game and Melo dished out some sick passes.

    Hopefully Fish will stick with this rotation and substitution strategy for a while.

  8. Hopefully Fish will stick with this rotation and substitution strategy for a while.

    Yes, I agree. KP6 at backup 5 was a really good fix.

    AA had some good post moves but mostly the 38 came from wide open threes. So those are team buckets. I’ve never spelled his name right (or pronounced it right. I’m sticking with AA for now)

    The whole team played well. That includes guys who usually don’t like Lopez, Grant and Galloway.

    Lopez, KP and especially Grant really benefited from running a bit of P&R. I’m gonna now join in the full throated screaming for more of this. Every time they did it something good happened. Grant got Lopez a little lay in at the hoop, made a shot off a screen, etc. Seems like every time we run the triangle it results in a contested shot against the clock. Of course, it was probably better than that but I really think that’s the reason for the stagnation at times. Post man get’s taken away, reverse it. KP not strong enough to catch in the post spends the whole possession standing three feet behind the three point line. ROLO holds the ball for 23 seconds while the rest of the team runs around like the Globetrotters on percocet. Melo and KP ran a P&R with Melo initiating. He bumped off the screen, created a second of space and put in the mid range shot. Of all Melo’s foibles I’ve never heard anyone say he doesn’t have a quick release. Just keep it simple, coach.

  9. best game i’ve seen from Grant and Lopez in a while.
    sweet block by KP.

    Speaking of KP – wandering through the stats site — the coaching staff really has to rethink how they give him his shots. They’re giving him the ball a lot in the post and asking him to create stuff when he just doesn’t know how to do it yet. He’s averaging only 0.74 PPP in the post (27th percentile in the league) yet using fully 14% of his possessions on that. his jumpshooting has been pretty poor especially when he does anything other than catch and shoot (eFG 51) — his pull-up stats off either 1 or 2 dribbles are horrendous (eFG 34 and 23 respectively).

    On the other hand, he’s averaging 1.19 PPP as the roll/pop man with an eFG north of 60 (61.3) which is tied for 6th in the league. He’s also ok coming off screens (46th percentile, but has a history of being good at that in Europe so presumably that will come up).

    For a guy who is 7’3″, athletic, and offensively skilled, an overall eFG of 45.7 just won’t cut it.

    Let’s not give him the ball in the post and ask him to do stuff.
    Let’s run more PNP and PNR – put him more with the 2nd unit where he can play in the pinch post position and run weak side 2 man game with Grant or Galloway.

    And run him off pin downs etc. — no chance that opposing 4s and 5s are used to chasing guys around screens. Worst thing is that the opposing big man is pulled away from the basket and maybe we get more offensive rebounds even if KP misses.

  10. Meanwhile, how did we keep Mike Scott from scoring 25 on us? that must be the 1st time we’ve ever been able to do that.

  11. For a guy who is 7’3?, athletic, and offensively skilled, an overall eFG of 45.7 just won’t cut it.

    I agree. Seems like coach could turn him into a consistent scorer by just toning down the Princeton shit. I don’t mind the obsession with the triple post offense up until now. I like that everyone on the floor touches it. I like when guys like Derrick Williams and AA pass the ball. ATL is beautiful at moving the ball but it has a purpose when they do it. It looks surgical. Seems like we force passes and get TO’s trying to move the ball for it’s own sake. I like that we’ve learned to share. Kumbaya! Now let’s get some action toward the hoop.

  12. The rotation Fisher went with—with Porzingis and Lopez as basically the only the big men—is what I’ve wanted the whole season. Hopefully he goes with it, it does well, and he sticks with it. I’m glad that it only took him 35 games to figure out what seemed obvious to me, and I think others too, since the beginning of the season.

    Going off what you guys are saying, it seems simple: put Porzingis at the 5, play some shooters, run the PnP and some PrR, and let everyone attack with space. Kristaps’s shooting makes him helpful off-ball too. Playing him more at the 5 should really help everyone, giving more space to knock down threes or attack off kickouts. Fisher has started playing more lineups like this, but the offense being run should be a lot less Triangle heavy.

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