Game Thread: Knicks @ Hawks

In the later-1990s, I spent quite a bit of time working on the road. I was fortunate to spend those travels with a very good friend, and fellow Knicks fan. Whenever possible, the two of us would take in an NBA game whenever we had a bit of time to kill in a basketball city somewhere far away. While in Atlanta one year, we were lucky to be in town while the Knicks were paying a visit. In our youthful exuberance, we strolled around the arena proclaiming loudly that Phillips Arena was now “Madison Square Garden South.” To make a long story short, the Knicks ended up losing that game on a missed free throw by Allan Houston in the final seconds. The game would have been tied. I’ve always carried that memory around with me as a symbol of basketball hubris. Don’t tempt the basketball gods, as Phil Jackson might say.

We’re nearly 20 years beyond that fateful moment, but I still dread the Knicks’ tilts against the Hawks. This is especially true with the new Spursy approach the franchise has taken in the Mike Budenholzer era. It’s a team of no-frills players, who play a mistake free brand of hoops. They shoot the ball extremely well from both 2-point and 3-point range and they are relatively good at protecting the ball. On the other hand, they are the worst offensive rebounding team in the NBA and the 2nd worst rebounding team overall. If the Knicks are going to beat them tonight, they’re going to have to limit second opportunities and get them to make a few more mistakes than is typical for the Hawks.

One of the keys, which harkens back to our Melo-less loss to the Cavs, is to keep moving the ball on offense. The Knicks can’t forget the hot hand, whether it’s Porzingis (especially if it’s Porzingis) or Afflalo or a guy who’s typically lower on the totem pole. Keep that ball moving, find the guy who’s rolling, and play more mistake free basketball than the Hawks. The Knicks play these guys three times in very short order and it would be VERY nice to take 2 of 3 from them somehow. This is a good test for the Knicks to see how well our own brand of basketball can hold up in the face of a very smart and crafty opponent, who gain quite a bit from their coaching.

Let’s get this one fellas. May the Force be with you.

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164 thoughts to “Game Thread: Knicks @ Hawks”

  1. Every time I’ve been to a game in Atlanta, the opposing team’s fans comprises about half the crowd.

    Went with some buddies to see the Celtics a few years ago in one of the last Garnett/Pierce/Allen/Rondo years and it had to be like 80% Celtics fans.

  2. What’s the word on Melo and O’Quinn?

    Clips need a low post scoring machine like Seraphin now that Blake is going to miss time.

  3. I remember that game Mike, it was during the 1999-2000 season I believe. Houston was fouled shooting a 3pter with a few seconds left in OT and the Knicks down 3 but he missed either the 1st or 2nd and was forced to miss the 3rd and they wound up losing by 2.

  4. Clips need a low post scoring machine like Seraphin now that Blake is going to miss time.

    Let’s showcase Seraphin next time we play the Clips. Doc pretty much only makes moves for players that had a good game against his team once upon a time.

  5. Here’s hoping Porzingis keeps it going tonight and that Cleveland wasn’t a fluke game. His slump has really had me feeling pretty down lately :(

  6. This loss is going to sting when we inevitably blow this late in the 4th relying on a steady diet of failed hero ball.

  7. Oquinn is very slow out there and not hitting his shot either.

    Grant could use a little dleague time.

  8. Knicks should be winning by more than this with this shooting percentage. Melo has had a nice half.

  9. Unless Teague and Schroeder get kidnapped at half-time I dont think the Knicks will win this game.

  10. I’ll guess he has a very good plus minus for the half. He’s a game changer even when he’s off a little.

  11. 7 points on 8 shots, two TO’s, no boards, blocks, or assists. Yeah, he’s a game changer tonight.

    Looks like Cleveland was just a fluke and Wallzingis is still stuck in the mud. Disappointing.

  12. Since the Knicks arent making the playoffs its time to start looking at potential draft prospects!! Oh wait that’s right they dont have their 1st rd pick this summer….

  13. Really not loving afflalo at all lately. We get no easy shots. It’s rushed. I’m over this offense. It’s official … The scheme is trash

  14. There’s nothing right about these lineups and the gameplan… And the gameplay itself is clearly sub-par. The movement that this offense generates is so phucking rehearsed and methodical. It’s passionless

  15. KJG, well to recap, we were on fire. Rolled out to a 14 pt lead early on. Hitting on all cylinders. Then our beloved coach started subbing at about the 5 minute mark.

  16. Man, if Porzingis played all 36 minutes, clearly we’d be up by like 30. What, with his 9 points on 9 shots and 1 board. Supserstar stuff there.

  17. I think it’s time we came back down to earth on Porzingis. The guy is a 20 year old rookie, it’s ok if he’s not the savior yet. He’s got a few years to develop before we need to start chanting fire the coach for not playing him 48 minutes a night.

  18. Thanks for the recap… I’ve only been witness to a hodgepodge of calamities. … Can’t even hit the bunnies anymore

  19. Kahnzy, we are you being a Richard? We were playing great and he started subbing at the 5 minute mark. Do you disagree?

  20. . Rolled out to a 14 pt lead early on. Hitting on all cylinders. Then our beloved coach started subbing at about the 5 minute mark.

    Why didn’t he play the starters forever?

  21. It’s good we figured out how to beat Atlanta tonight since we play them 2 more times in the next 10 days

  22. reub, you do realize that the players are the ones actually playing, right? Your penchant for blaming absolutely everything on Fisher makes it hard to take you seriously when you might otherwise actually have a valid point.

  23. THE KNICKS ARE LOSING BECAUSE THEY STOPPED SHOOTING 66% PLAYING DEFENSE AND STARTED TURNING THE BALL OVER. NOT BECAUSE ONE PLAYER WAS ON OR OFF THE COURT.

  24. I mean, look, I’m not sitting here championing Fisher for coach of the year or anything. The guy’s been mediocre, I agree. But at some point you need to hold the players accountable. They are far more responsible for what happens on the court than the coach is.

    KP has had another bad game, and there really isn’t anything you can do to spin that.

  25. When you’re team is playing the best that they have all season and are up by 14 at the 5 minute mark you do not substitute. They weren’t even sweating yet. Simple!

  26. I’m just saying, Lopez is the only guy with a positive plus minus. So his injury is why we’re losing.

    Also we have to trade him because he doesn’t fit the system

  27. So I hate the offense for the most part… But. Our D is just as horrific. When the going gets tough. Our defense just becomes non existent

  28. Jesus, reub, stop. Every coach in the NBA has a set rotation in the 1st half, whether they go up by 14 or down by 14. We lost this game because the Hawks are a much better team, and the only way for us to beat them is to not turn the ball over and slow down their guards, which we kind of didn’t do.

  29. The pass back to the big man at midcourt is a signal from Fish to Phil telling him that he’s in control of things.

  30. I’m sticking by my guns. You don’t sub out when the team is playing great and they’re not even sweating yet. Sorry.

  31. Turns out players aren’t responsible for how they perform out on the court, the coach is. Good to know.

  32. The bench was horrific tonight. Sadly, so were the starters after the 1st quarter. The whole team stunk.

  33. I’m with reub on this one, sorry guys.

    Subbing patterns have been horrible. Every game a hot hand is subbed out for no apparent reason.

    Passing to the big man at the 3 point line on every play is fucking stupid.

    We don’t play enough pick and roll to take advantage of some of our great shooters when open (Melo and KP specifically, Williams/Lance/Langston/Afflalo too)

    We play way too much iso-ball.

    Defense is rotation-happy and ridiculous looking.

    We don’t have that bad of a roster to be playing like this. It is at least partially Fisher’s fault.

  34. Fisher is mediocre, at best. I agree. But to think we’re a good team is a bit of a stretch. We’re a mediocre team, and we play like it most nights.

  35. @135. I too find Fisher’s subbing patterns weird at times, but I don’t think that that explains this loss. It looked like some of the guys stopped playing hard in the 2nd quarter, and certainly everyone (including the starters) came out flat for the 3rd. Perhaps that is on Fisher, too. Maybe just a post-Christmas burp. We’ll see tomorrow.

    Also, Atlanta is a pretty good team. :-)

  36. Thanks wetbandit for being reasonable. Why would any good coach sub out at 5 minutes when you’re playing so well? We might have lost anyway but that was ridiculous. Why is anyone even defending it?

    Btw Schroder was plus 24. When is he available?

  37. A look at the Celtics tomorrow will show you how a mediocre team can become good with good coaching, defensive effort, and plays designed to maximize on strengths. We’re 0/3 on those.

  38. Fisher is mediocre at best. I agree.

    Then why are you being a Richard???

    Because you’re being wholly unreasonable and absurd in your analysis. I’m just calling you out for it. You blame Fisher for every possible thing, but then try to spin 9 points on 10 shots and only 2 rebounds as “game changing.” It’s just bad analysis, man.

  39. Melo and KP specifically, Williams/Lance/Langston/Afflalo too

    Melo is a terrific shooter, and Afflalo has a nice track record. Kristaps is a great shooter… for a 7’3″ rookie. He’s got a sub .52 TS% and is hitting 33% from downtown. He’s not there yet.

  40. This game saw a 32 point swing in the 2nd half. That’s on the players as much as, if not more than, Fisher. Fisher bears some responsibility, sure, but the bulk of it has to fall on the players.

  41. This is painful rooting for an Eagles win just so the Giants game tomorrow night could be meaningful. Not like they are likely to win w/o Beckham playing but at least it would be worth watching. I assume by the time the Giants game starts the Knicks will be getting blown out at halftime so my full attention could go to the Giants.

  42. And you do realize that Porzingis changes the game on defense too? Don’t you? Or are you just looking at offensive stats? And you are aware that we were up by 14 points with him in the game 5 minutes in? Aren’t you?

  43. And you do realize that Porzingis changes the game on defense too? Don’t you? Or are you just looking at offensive stats? And you are aware that we were up by 14 points with him in the game 5 minutes in? Aren’t you?

    My goodness, that’s a lot of questions. I certainly do love Porzingis’ defense, but surely you are not suggesting his defense was the reason we shot up by 14 early in the game, are you? You did watch the game, didn’t you? Atlanta came out playing like garbage, then woke up and played like the superior team that they are. We were shooting lights out and Atl was missing and turning it over a lot early on. Porzingis was a part of that, but hardly a major contributor.

    I can’t help but think you fell in love with Porzingis when he had that hot stretch in November, and now that he’s come back down to earth and is playing like a rookie you’re utterly incapable of being objective about his play. He’s not been very good lately, and I can’t for the life of me understand how you think you can even argue that.

    And that’s not really even that bad a thing. He’s 20. He’s a rookie. He’s not even American (which I honestly view as a good thing, the further a player was from AAU ball the better imho), so he not only has to deal with the pressure of playing in New York, but he’s also gotta learn how to be an American. That’s a lot for a young guy to take on all at once, and the fact that he’s struggling is not only unsurprising, but also completely understandable. Whether he came out 6 minutes in or played the entire first quarter, we were gonna lose that game. My evidence? The remaining 36 minutes of mediocre basketball.

  44. This just in : the Hawks are a better team than the Knicks right now.
    New York really needs to improve on defense and could use an upgrade in the backcourt,
    Dr Obvious Out

  45. Richard said that I blame Fisher “for every possible thing” and yet hasn’t backed that up when I asked him to. That’s because he made it up!

  46. No one was a bigger fan of drafting Porzingis than me, but he’s been pretty lousy in 9 of his last 11 games. There’s no debating that. Last night, he pretty much stunk. But that’s OK, he’s still way better than most people expected him to be. He’s just over his head physically and mentally right now.

  47. I also agree with DRed…we’re just not that good, and again, that is not a surprise. Most of us predicted a win total of 32-37 games, and Vegas had them around 30. We just got predictably smoked by a team that will win in the mid 50’s on their home court.

    All that said, I am finding the offense boring and predictable. And I do have qualms with some of Fisher’s sub patterns. But whatever, it wasn’t making a difference last night. Atlanta is a very good, deep and well-coached team.

  48. The Celtics are playing pretty damn well. If it’s a win, it’ll be a quality, tough it out one.

  49. Some other random points:

    Lance has been a revelation, but do we really want our offense to be as dependent on him as it is?

    Anyone notice that Jokic of Denver has very quietly become arguably the league’s best 20yo and a ROY candidate?

  50. Does it sometimes look like we’ve become the Washington Generals with our plodding team?

    Sorry, Brian. My position was totally mischaracterized and I responded like a New Yorker.

  51. With any luck Phil will sell high on Lance and get us something as we approach the trade deadline. He’s the type of guy you can get a stupid, go for it now, GM to trade for a future first.

  52. On a lighter note, Patriots elect to kick in overtime versus our Jets! Belichek won’t be very happy.

  53. Anyone notice that Jokic of Denver has very quietly become arguably the league’s best 20yo and a ROY candidate?

    That’s how great Towns has been. Jokic has been excellent and he’s still roughly a win back of Towns in win shares. But yeah, Jokic has been great. And Gallinari is all the way back and having his best season yet! Denver is shockingly in the playoff race in the iffy back end of the Western Conference playoff race.

  54. Man, I couldn’t bear to watch another gut-wrenching loss to Brady so I didn’t watch the overtime. Now we’re set up to take on Rex!

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