The Knicks won the eighth game at home on Monday night, dismantling the Los Angeles Clippers.

Knicks games can be characterized one of two ways. They either come out firing on all cylinders, or they begin with a rough start and make the kind of mistakes that will have you furiously clenching your jaw. Tonight, playing against the Clippers who no longer have a real floor general, the Knicks started off disjointed and struggled to establish a consistent rhythm after trading early buckets.

Both teams suffered from a bad case of the picks. In the first half, they each had 14 turnovers. While the Knicks were disrupting the lane and playing good defense leading to those turnovers, they gave up the ball on silly possessions. In fact, three different times, Clippers players were able to simply snatch the ball away and take off in transition because the Knicks held on to the ball too long. The squad failed to move the ball around in the half-court and that cost them early.

Fortunately, Kristaps Porzingis was able to bail out his team and prevent the Clippers’ lead from getting out of reach because that’s what superstars do. Not only did KP help on defense, but he gave Blake Griffin major fits down in the paint. While Griffin did get a few easy buckets, including an early dunk, KP kept him mostly under control tonight. As the Knicks’ continued to throw down a barrage of buckets, the frustration got to Griffin. He ultimately fouled out and finished 6-for-17 as a -20.

Offensively, add Griffin to the list of guys that can’t guard the Unicorn. Despite being 7-for-20, KP was still proficient at getting the shots he wanted against Griffin. Although he didn’t hit his first three until two minutes before the half, KP was effective enough inside that he drew contact. Another area for optimism comes from the fact that we saw a few times how KP is starting to learn how to adapt to the double team. It’s a new strategy for him, and of course, he’s going to be seeing it for the remainder of his career. After seeing it recently in a voracious way by opposing defenses, I was glad to see he has the finesse to handle it and still get to the rack:

What worked well:
  • This was Doug McDermott‘s night! The star will always get the credit for the win, but McDermott was the standout to secure this victory. For the last three seasons, the bench has lacked “the guy” who could come off the bench night in and night out and just score. We’ve been starved for a young player who is intense and plays with real effort. It was supposed to be Lance Thomas. However, last year and into this season, he’s left much to be desired. In his place, McDermott is a huge spark on both ends of the floor. Tonight, he added 16 points and hit five three-pointers. What’s also special is that McDermott has an uncanny ability to always be at the right place for the rebound. He had added five of those to stat sheet too.

  • Jarrett Jack hit double-digit scoring for the first time as a Knick. He had 11 points on the night. Although he passed up a few wide open shots (one of which was an assist leading to a Doug McDermott three), he finally looks and feels more comfortable in shooting. Only having one turnover, Jeff Hornacek opted to let Jack play tonight’s bulk of the point guard minutes because the rook just didn’t look good. Sometimes it’s good coaching to reward players who take care of the ball with more floor time and put guys in the doghouse who forget to do the little things.


  • Willy Hernangómez made a three! Yes, Knicks fans! Willy is still with us and is ready to go when his number is called:

What didn’t work well:
  • KP’s shooting was bad. His shot looked flat. Other times, it looked like he was overthinking before squaring up outside the arc. Whatever the problem is, I’d rather not harp on it. 7-for-20 is bad, yes. Although, he hit all of his shots from the charity stripe. I’ll take that and live with a win any day.


  • In the first half, the Knicks had only four assists. Granted, they were able to claw their way back into the lead and come into the half on fire. But four assists and 14 turnovers is unacceptable. The Knicks play better ball and guys are able to get into a quicker rhythm when they move the ball. It’s a novel concept. Bad shot selection, whether it goes in or not, is a direct reflection of how efficient the players on the floor are at making the extra pass.

The Clippers are plummeting back into irrelevancy. The Knicks are riding their way into a tempered yet encouraging upswing along with a winning home record. Next up, the squad gets round two versus Toronto, only this time, it’s in their own backyard.