Tim Hardaway Jr. helped distribute the scoring load as the Knicks blew by a tired Brooklyn Nets team, led by solid outings from Frank Ntilikina, Enes Kanter, and Allonzo Trier, too.
Halting their tank movement for just one game, the New York Knicks (2-5) ran the Brooklyn Nets (2-5) out of Manhattan and back into their own borough.
Coming off a 1-5 start to the season, the Knickerbockers needed to capture the mojo and energy that they had as a group in their first three games. Coach David Fizdale stuck with the same starting lineup that he played against the Warriors—Frank Ntilikina, Tim Hardaway Jr., Damyean Dotson, Noah Vonleh, and Mitchell Robinson—which showed defensive promise as a unit.
A common theme over the previous two losses has been inconsistency throughout 48 minutes. Fizdale and his staff had two days to correct these issues and the results were evident against the Nets. Scoring 52 points in the first two quarters and 63 points in the second half, the Knicks were led by Hardaway Jr., who dropped in a cool 25 points and assisted on eight buckets, which tied his career high.
Defensive intensity and rebounding helped surge the Knicks past the Nets. An astounding 21 more rebounds, 15 of which were defensive, aided the Knicks’ fast-paced, octane-injected offense. Following an up and down fourth quarter, the Knicks managed to actually keep a lead and win in front of their hometown fans. (Sorry, Nets fans. Go back to Jersey.)
Frank Ntilikina Remains Aggressive…And The Point Guard
After Ntilikina’s 17-point offensive explosion against the Golden State Warriors, fans were left drooling over the young guard’s unique potential. Having played the small forward position earlier in the season, fans wanted to see Frank in his natural position of point guard.
A floor general is what the Knicks have lacked over the past several years, so could the second-year lottery pick fill that void? On 13 shots, Ntilikina made five baskets, three of which were from beyond the arc. It is especially exciting to watch Ntilikina develop on the offensive end due to his 6-foot-6 frame and excellent passing abilities.
Frankie drops in a three for the first Knick bucket of the night pic.twitter.com/vi0qg2YqoK
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) October 29, 2018
Still only 20 years old, the French Prince was +15 while on the court, snatched five rebounds, and assisted on four scoring plays. He was completely engaged all over the floor and didn’t show any of the timidness that was present last year. Ntilikina not only showed up on the box score, but he was a major key in obtaining this win.
Kanter Dominates Off The Bench
Being benched for such a raw rookie in Mitchell Robinson must sting a bit for Kanter. That hasn’t stopped him from being a leader in the locker room and on the court. He poured in 15 points on 54 percent shooting, but more importantly, he extended plays with his six offensive rebounds.
One could say that Kanter is destined to become the sixth man, a role he often played while in Oklahoma City. He absolutely dominated Jarrett Allen in the paint and kept his own on defense against Brooklyn’s second unit. His defensive abilities still leave a lot to be desired, but Kanter’s play has not dropped off at all since his departure from the starting lineup.
Allonzo Trier Is No Joke
How many rookies come into the league with a perfected go-to move? When Trier drives into the lane, the defender must be thinking about his step back, which is just absolutely deadly thus far in the season.
Scoring 12 points on 71 percent shooting, Fizdale has seemingly given Trier the green light to shoot when he feels he can make it—which is often. Playing 25 minutes, more than Trey Burke, Mario Hezonja, Lance Thomas, and Robinson, Trier is quickly becoming a major player for this young Knicks team.
Trier is on a two-way contract, which means that when the Westchester Knicks season began, Trier’s 45 days in the NBA started ticking down. It’ll be interesting to watch his contract situation play out. The Knicks would have to cut a guaranteed contract on the roster—possibly Luke Kornet or Emmanuel Mudiay—in order to sign Trier for the remainder of the NBA season.
The New York Knicks face the Indiana Pacers next on Halloween. The Knicks are showing some awfully spooky talent; let’s hope that their young guns continue to show some signs.