Despite Porzingis’ resurgent shooting night, the Knicks fell apart late into the game and let a narrow lead disappear, continuing the worrisome trend of losing road games ahead of a away-heavy schedule.
On the second night of a back-to-back, the New York Knicks scrapped for a fourth quarter lead against the Detroit Pistons behind Kristaps Porzingis’ hot hand. Just when it seemed like they had a rare road win in the bag, it slipped from their grasp. After a slew of sloppy turnovers and silly fouls, the Pistons roared back behind Reggie Jackson’s playmaking off the dribble, and the Knicks’ offense sputtered to a stop, dropping the game 104–101.
Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty.
No encore for Beasley
Michael Beasley, after returning to Earth tonight with six points on the same number of shots, proved he has not in fact unlocked 11 percent of his brain. He was still aggressive, but with Porzingis regaining confidence after the worst offensive performance of his career in Boston, Beasley naturally had a lot less touches.
By gloriously pandering to his “shooters gotta shoot” mentality over the past two games, Beasley won over a lot of fans in New York. He didn’t necessarily play poorly tonight, but the Mayor Beasley referendum definitely lost a little steam. He did prove he could be a quality rotation player with Porzingis back in his usual role, though, so expect to see more of Beasley in the near future.
Porzingis bites back
After returning from a two-game absence (sore left knee), Porzingis dropped 1 point last night in Boston on 0-for-11 shooting. He insisted the knee had nothing to do with it.
Just in case you didn’t believe him, Porzingis took it upon himself to prove it tonight in Detroit. He was in full Mamba Mentality, and despite struggling with his shot early, turned up the heat late. KP finished with 29 points on 12-of-28 from the field, including nine rebounds and a pair of assists.
It was nice to see zero hesitation on the second night of a back-to-back after things went so poorly in Boston.
In a wild sequence of events, the Knicks tossed away a late fourth quarter lead and found themselves down one with the last possession of the game. Head Coach Jeff Hornacek had a chance to draw up a play and had a few options:
a.) Clear out for KP, give him the ball at the top of the arc and let him iso;
b.) Have KP start weak side and cross-screen for him to catch the ball at the elbow extended and let him face-up;
c.) Give the ball to Jarrett Jack and run a high screen-and-roll with KP.
— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) December 23, 2017
Instead, Horny had an impotent offensive lineup on the floor—why Ron Baker gets subbed in for anything other than quick spurts of defense is beyond me—and went with a KP/Courtney Lee give-and-go, with a red-hot KP acting as a diversion for Lee to take his man off the dribble (???).
Lee was stuffed at the rim.
The Knicks are now 2–10 on the road, and three of their next four games will be away from Madison Square Garden. Let’s hope they can turn their luck around at home on Christmas Day against the Philadelphia 76ers (12:00 p.m. Eastern Time).