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  • Flashy Passing from Knicks Disrupts Brooklyn, All-Around Team Contributions Fuel Win in Porzingis’ Absence

Flashy Passing from Knicks Disrupts Brooklyn, All-Around Team Contributions Fuel Win in Porzingis’ Absence

The Knicks overcame a KP injury and found unusually pleasant contributions from their bench to edge out the Nets in Brooklyn, 111–104.

The New York Knicks (15–13) mounted up for a borough barrel at the Barclays Center for Kenny Atkinson’s feisty Brooklyn Nets (11–16) team. However, approximately halfway through the third quarter, Porzingis was sidelined with a non-contact injury to his left knee. Despite the health concern for KP, the Knicks rallied behind quirky plays and moments from their desperate bench. Courtney Lee led the team in scoring while Frank Ntilikina played 27 minutes, including the entire fourth quarter (again), dished out eight assists and proved vital to fuel New York’s momentum.

Let’s recap the Knicks’ 15th win of the season.


#Seltering update

Kristaps Porzingis couldn’t deliver an encore of his 37-point, five-block, five threes made performance on Tuesday. Without the presence of Instagram models, Porzingis acted more cognizant of double teams Brooklyn threw at him, though, punctuating his four first half assists with a highlight court-width perfect find for a Courtney Lee triple:

Grimly, Porzingis left the game and headed to the locker room with Knicks medical staff halfway through the third quarter to check a non-contact knee injury. In KP’s absence, the Nets took the reins of momentum to spark a run that pushed them in the lead (reminder: the Knicks led by 13 points at the half). Without KP as the centerpiece of the Knicks’ offense, like Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, New York had zero continuity. And on the other end, the Nets punished the Knicks’ worry for their star’s health, led by Dinwiddie’s three-ball and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s handy length to convert on looks without much available space. Following the Nets run, a wild sequence of Ntilikina blocks and passes ensued, recapturing the lead for the Manhattanites, 87–82 after three periods. By then, we learned that Porzingis would not return to the game, observing caution for KP’s health. Alas, the Knicks would have to stymy the underdog Nets without their Latvian stud.

Frankie Four Eyes

Rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina put on a dime show on Thursday night. Four first half assists (excluding the wicked bounce pass in transition to O’Quinn who was fouled) showcased Ntilikina’s fantastic vision and playmaking ability, which is growing up before our eyes. Frank was largely the star of the game; between flashy passes and contesting bigs he had to switch onto, Frank’s next generation play excited the large Knicks fan contingent at the Barclays Center, making the future feel that more lucid. Frank didn’t look to score much against Brooklyn, but his crisp passing created space and opportunities for his ‘Bocker teammates to find easy scoring looks:

The Knicks, sans Kristaps, desperately needed contributions for the Walking Bucket himself, Michael Beasley, along with Courtney Lee and the playmaking Frenchman. The Knicks utilized Ron Baker, too, as Ntilikina’s backcourt mate and formed a yin and yang of loose ball snatching guards. Both Frank and Ron tallied a pair of steals each, and Ntilikina totaled seven points, eight assists, and five rebounds. The French Prince, y’all.

The city is under new management

You know, I can’t quite tease the Nets; they’re trying to rebuild, and they seem to be rebuilding The Right Way™ despite the noticeable lack of first-rounders or top shelf talent. I’m particularly found of Spencer Dinwiddie who does so much to help his team succeed.

One thing Dinwiddie and company did on Thursday against New York was to punish the Knicks at the free-throw line. The Nets’ athleticism was on display as they found ways to bother the Knicks and force silly fouls committed by Thomas, Porzingis, and Kanter to name names. The Nets attempted 15 free-throws in the first half and 23 overall. They certainly shared the ball well, and were freely chucking up shots (some ostensibly worse than others), but at 11–16 they’re in a better position as a team and franchise than they were this time last year or two years ago. The Knicks limited Brooklyn to 12-of-42 (that’s bad) from three-point land, range where they rank second in the league in attempts, fifth in makes (that’s good). Looking forward to compete with Kenny Atkinson’s team for high stakes in the future.

Filling in the gaps

Without Porzingis, the Knicks needed contributions from all ten players that stepped on the hardwood on Thursday night. Key moments like back-to-back Ron Baker steals led to fast break points; Courtney Lee’s strong shooting night (27 points, 9-for-17 from the field) plus tight perimeter defense was extremely necessary; Beasley’s energy was … erratic as usual (he sat towards the end of the night with 15 fouls yet three turnovers and a personal away from another foul-out). Even though it was against Brooklyn, Thursday’s win felt heartwarming due to the team-nature of the rally. Additionally, the Knicks finally won their second road game, so yeah that’s something. Four Knicks scored in double digits, plus two more at nine points. Also, 23 total assists were needed as the Knicks went 10-of-20 from three-point range.

Miscellaneous Notes
  • Lance Thomas, Brooklyn native: one field-goal made; the dagger three to put the Knicks up nine points with 66 seconds left.

 

  • Nets, obviously without Lin for the remainder of the season and Russell for an indeterminable among of time, found scoring in Dinwiddie and RHJ, two players worthy of admiration, who combined to score 51 points on 57.6 percent shooting.

 

  • When Kanter inbounds the ball baseline off a make he’ll only be one foot out of bounds, one foot still in bounds. I always thought that was a violation, no? Anyway, Kanter was a board away from a double-double and backup center O’Quinn was a point away from the same achievement. Kyle’s offensive rebounding was non-ironic *Italian chef kissing fingers.*

 

  • Coach Hornacek ran the dual–point guard lineup (Jack and Ntilikina) again on Thursday night (final 1:30 of the second quarter). We previously saw the two share the backcourt at the end of overtime on Tuesday. There’s not much substantial analysis here, just another mention to see if it becomes a trend. I don’t suppose I understand the move other than the shallow shooting guard depth with Hardaway Jr.’s leg injury.

 

  • Knicks lost the free-throw battle 23–22 and the rebound battle 43–40.

The Knicks are two games above .500, and Saturday will be the welcoming (?) party for Carmelo Anthony and the downtrodden Oklahoma City Thunder.

Managing Editor of The Knicks Wall. Still not over the ’94 Finals. Andy Bernard levels of Cornell love.

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