Coming off the bench with Ntilikina starting and Emmanual Mudiay injured, Trey Burke’s 25 points weren’t enough to sustain the Knicks versus the Nets.

The New York Knicks lost to the Brooklyn Nets in a disappointing cross-borough game. What began as a competitive game ended as the traditional trouncing the Knicks have been so fond of this season.

With Emmanuel Mudiay sidelined due to a shoulder injury, Frank Ntilikina took his place in the starting lineup alongside Lance Thomas in the latter’s second consecutive start following Enes Kanter’s demotion with the franchise. Noah Vonleh and Mitchell Robinson rounded out the center rotation in Friday night’s typical, unsustainable second-half quagmire of a loss in Brooklyn.


Vonleh’s Big Night

The night didn’t start off bad, however. Noah Vonleh started at center and scored 14 of the Knicks’ first 20 points. He took advantage of the Nets by scoring on two of the most efficient levels: beyond the arc and in the paint. For those first few minutes of action, no one on the Nets could slow him down. He ended the game scoring a career-high 22 points and nabbing 13 rebounds to go along with two blocks.

Frank’s Impactful Start and Quick Descent

Frank Ntilikina started in place of an injured Emmanuel Mudiay and early on showed signs of life by bothering his matchup, D’Angelo Russell. Russell had been on a tear and even earned some All-Star buzz. The defensive specialist Ntilikina was the obvious choice for head coach David Fizdale.

Ntilikina’s defense leading to offense helped the team gain its lead in the first quarter. He was very much the reason why the Knicks had 17 points off turnovers in the first half.

Money Mitch

Mitchell Robinson proved to still be effective tonight providing his much-needed skills off the bench. He started the game with two blocks in two minutes and showed his commitment to his grab-and-smash offense. In 16 minutes, Robinson scored six points, blocked four shots, and grabbed four rebounds. He was not perfect, but his foul total of two is encouraging.

Out-hustled and Out-rebounded

Once Ntilikina got into foul trouble, it was downhill from there.

After the first quarter the Knicks were outscored for three quarters straight. The Burke-Trier-Lee-Dotson-Vonleh lineup was a great indicator of the Knicks’ weak rebounding. Four guards on the court will do that. Throughout the game Jarrett Allen and especially Ed Davis simply out-hustled the Knicks, out-rebounding New York by a total of 60-33. The Knicks ended the game with six offensive rebounds; the Nets finished with 18. It was a bad night for them on the boards. Even with Ntilikina returning and Burke shooting 10-of-19, the Knicks couldn’t hold off the Nets.

Shabazz Napier’s game destroyed the Knicks by getting to the line. Penetrating with ease, the shots didn’t even need to go in. The Knicks did the work for him by letting him capitalize 11 of 12 times from the free throw line. Brooklyn went 32-47 from the free throw line to the Knicks 17-26.

The Knicks are 10-37 and are showing no signs of slowing down in the tank train besides the disappointing pit stops at fake comeback junction. Next up: the Miami Heat on Sunday.