The tank is back on after a clinical operation tearing New York’s defense into pieces by James Harden and the Houston Rockets.
The New York Knicks are back!
No, not competitively like what we saw on display in their past three games. Rather, the tankathon is back on track after the Knicks were humbled in a 119–97 loss at the hands of Mike D’Antoni and the Houston Rockets.
The Knicks started the game off strongly, holding Houston to 34.8 percent shooting in the first quarter, taking a 27–24 lead into the second quarter. The second period, though, proved to be detrimental for the Knick as they were unable to score for a six minute span, leading to a 16 point swing for Houston in a quarter where they outscored New York 36–21 — taking a 60–48 lead at halftime. The Knicks continued to struggle in the third quarter, allowing Houston to score 40 points to reach the 100 point threshold after three quarters. The fourth quarter rolled around with the bench playing significant time; the Knicks outscored the Rockets 23–19, leading to a 119–97 loss to lower the ‘Bockers below .500 again, at 3–4 for the season.
Let’s begin with some of the lowlights
- Turnovers: A large reason for the Knicks latest three game win streak was their ability to protect the ball. Tonight, though, the Knicks were unable to do so, giving up 19 turnovers in what was overall a sloppy game.
- Kristaps Porzingis: The prodigal son of New York City was unable to show up tonight. Let’s be honest, the Knicks, this season at least, are going as far as Porzingis takes them, and tonight was an example of why the Knicks need to continue adding talent around him. Kristaps finished with 19 points, his second lowest total of the year, shooting 7-of-18 from the field and 0-for-3 from behind the arc. (A season-high three assists, though!)
- Shooters Shoot? Not Tonight: The Knicks were completely unable to get a steady shooting stroke going after the first quarter as the team finished shooting 43.3 percent from the field and 29.6 percent (8-of-27) from three-point range. In particular, Doug McDermott finished the game shooting 2-of-7, Jarrett Jack shot 2-for-9 and Frank Ntilikina shot 1-of-7.
- Ryan Anderson: The veteran big man for the Rockets completely owned the Knicks’ number on Wednesday night. Anderson scored 16 points on 13 field-goal attempts, raising his splits to 19.5 points per game away from the Toyota Center.
Now for the good
- Tim Hardaway Jr.: To describe Hardaway Jr.’s first seven games as a Knick as inconsistent would be an understatement. Despite some shooting struggles, tonight would likely be considered Hardaway Jr.’s second-best game in his polarizing return to the Knicks as he posted 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the field, seven rebounds, four assists, and a pair steals in a game where he truly fulfilled his role as a strong second option behind Porzingis.
- Frank Ntilikina Stuffing Stat Sheets: Despite a subpar shooting night — something we are yet to see Ntilikina strive in — the 19-year-old rookie contributed eight(!!) assists and five(!) steals and strong defense on the pesky superstar James Harden for much of the evening. As he continues to garner more and more minutes (24 minutes of action tonight), Ntilikina will need to work on his shooting, but his distributing ability has been solidthus far as well as his defensive contributions.
- Damyean Dotson: Knicks fans were finally treated to seeing their second round pick Damyean Dotson in action as he logged 17 minutes tonight. Dotson was relatively efficient, contributing nine points on 4-of-5 shooting, three boards, and one assist. Despite it being garbage time, expect Dotson to slowly gain the trust of head coach Jeff Hornacek and continue to receive more minutes.
Games like this make it harder to truly see what type of team the Knicks are this season, but Porzingis and company will get another chance to impress on Friday night when the Knicks continue their home stand against the 3–4 Phoenix Suns at Madison Square Garden at 7:30 p.m. EST. We’ll see you then.