August 2018
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Knicks Lose to Celtics Despite Encouraging Effort

At the Garden, the Knicks fell to the Celtics, but their young players gave it their best shot.

Although both teams entered this contest following a win, the Celtics (43-19) looked to pick up a win and close on Toronto’s number one seed, while the Knicks’ (24-37) would prefer a loss to increase their odds in the lottery.

Both teams got what they came for, although the Knicks’ young guns put up a fight, with Trey Burke again leading the way (26 points, six assists). After Kyrie Irving (31 points, nine rebounds, eight assists) took over with a fourth quarter barrage, the Knicks faded away to drop the contest 121-112.

Let’s dive into the action.


Beasley Firing at Will

It seems impossible if you’ve watched Michael Beasley through the course of his career, but with Kristaps Porzingis gone he has never cared less about ball movement. He kicked off his night by getting swallowed up while forcing a drive into three bodies, but nailed an easy bucket the next time down the floor. He has zero conscience right now; it’s been like this since KP went down.

Beas has been such a ball hog that when he kicked the rock out to Mudiay in the short corner towards the end of the first quarter I swear I heard a gasp from the home crowd.

Moody

Emmanuel Mudiay looks confident, like he has nothing to lose:

Watch out for Mudiay. His bad habits — early pullup threes, wild, out-of-control drives, meandering dribbles — are still really bad, and he hasn’t phased them out of his game in a meaningful way. If he continues to brick shots and turn the ball over, those bad habits will look even worse under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden.

But if he can start making those terrible shots, Mudiay could become one of the Knicks’ go-to guys on offense (I call this the “Kobe effect”). There’s a huge void on that end, supported up by the rickety whims of Tim Hardaway Jr.’s hot streaks and the possible (hopefully not) fool’s gold of Trey Burke.

Kanter

Definitely not lazy. Lead-footed, but not lazy:

Trey Burke: Michigan Mode

Burke is coming for the throne. If he had been playing like this all season, he’d be a frontrunner for Most Improved Player.

He’s making the absolute most of every minute he’s on the floor, and it’s awesome to watch. He’s taking a lot of shots, but he’s done a good job of creating space and getting open. Burke isn’t getting discouraged at all by misses either. He bricked his first shot, a semi-transition three in the first quarter, but kept gunning and caught fire, finishing the frame with nine points in four minutes. He absolutely took over in the fourth. The point guard finished with 26 points, and the Garden was on fire with every herky-jerky drive down the stretch:

Burke’s court vision has also improved since getting called up from the G League, an encouraging progression for his game.

Hardaway Jr., Undeterred

There’s a saying: “fat people miss no meals but THJ will shoot until they do.” I think I’m remembering that correctly.

Maybe the streakiest shooter in the league, THJ was hot tonight. He carried the Knicks offense for a stretch while Kyrie, on the other end, struggled to find a rhythm early on, which kept the game close.

Tank Watch

For a front office that’s looking to lose as many games as possible, the Knicks’ on-court representation is (most of the time) their best five-man lineup. When it’s not, they’re experimenting with ways to figure out their logjam at point guard. At one point, Mudiay, Burke, and Frank all shared the floor, and it was kind of dope! It’s a lineup with zero three-point shooting and porous defense, but inimitable quickness off the dribble. Fun stuff from the Knicks, who also get the added benefit of seeing which guard(s) deserves a spot in their future plans.

Clyde barked like a dog for Chinese New Year

Yeah, for real.

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