A lack of defense led to another Knick loss on Thursday night, with the Nuggets taking advantage of a porous Knicks defense en route to victory.
The Knicks were a mess defensively on Thursday night, conceding 130 points to the Nuggets in yet another road loss. Denver scored 39 in the first quarter, setting the tone for the rest of the game. They followed their 39-point first quarter with a slightly-less-impressive, yet just-as-sickening 34 points for a 73-point half, the most points the Knicks have given up in a half all season. The third quarter boasted a bit of a different narrative, with the Knicks showing a bit of interest in playing defense, allowing 26 points. The second half was a story we’ve all seen before, one in which the Knicks hung around but never quite threatened to make a big threat to the game. 56 points in the second half buried the Knicks and dropped their record to 21-28, with the playoffs becoming more and more of a mirage.
A few thoughts:
- The 2017-18 season is over. Call it. More road games are coming up, with tough competition on the horizon. It’s not getting any better. Over four games out of the playoffs with more than half the season over should constitute waving the white flag. Tank season ensue.
- This Knicks defense though. Woof. They struggled in every facet of the game, giving up 14 threes and a ton of points in transitions. Top to bottom, it just wasn’t good enough. The Pepsi Center is something of a house of horrors for the Knicks, considering that they haven’t won there since 2006. Take a guy like Wilson Chandler for example. He’s been invisible for the Nuggets, failing to score more than 10 points in the previous 10 games for Denver. He had 10 in the first half, finishing with 16 points. The defense was nonexistent tonight, just like it was against the Lakers. Seems to be a trend!
- I’m not a big believer in Trey Burke. That being said, HOLY MOLY HE WAS AWESOME. 18 points, 11 assists, 8-of-12 from the floor? Sign me up! He should see more minutes, there is no question about it. This Knicks season is going nowhere fast, so exposing some of the less experienced guys to bigger minutes should become a priority quickly. Odds are this won’t be the case, considering that the Knicks will claim to be gunning for the playoffs until they are mathematically eliminated. One can hope. Jeff Hornacek will also be coaching for his job post All-Star break. Best of luck with that, buddy.
- Lance Thomas has come alive a bit from deep, knocking down six of his 10 threes over the last four games. The problem during Thomas’ tenure as a starter was that he wasn’t providing enough offensively, but if he can start to become a more reliable three-point shooter, he becomes a more viable option. Does he make any sense for this team though? He’s under contract for about $7 million for the next two seasons after this one, and he has basically no trade value. It’s not a bad deal but any means, but I don’t feel quite as good about it as I did when ink hit the paper.
- Ron Baker started tonight for the Knicks, scoring zero points and finishing as a -5 in 12 total minutes. Thank god he has a no-trade clause.
- It feels like Jarrett Jack has worn out his welcome with this team. He served admirably for a team devoid of a true point guard, but all of the minutes at the one should be allocated to Frank Ntilikina and Trey Burke from here on out. We’ll see if the Knicks decide to make a move in regards to Jack as their fall down the standings continues.
- The Kristaps Porzingis – Nikola Jokic matchup was hyped up pregame, and for good reason. The two big men are among the most talented young players in the league. KP fouled out in 27 minutes played, notching 21 points and seven rebounds with one block. Jokic had an impressive line, with 18 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds in 35 minutes. It’s always fun to see the contrasting styles of these type of dudes go head-to-head, but unfortunately, New York did not come out on top tonight. KP is an All-Star though, and Jokic is not! So ha!
- Willy Hernangómez saw some minutes in the first half for the second consecutive game. He looked good offensively, dropping seven points in just nine minutes during the first portion of the game. However, his defense is what will always hold him back. The only defense worse than Hernangómez’s is Barry Zuckercorn from Arrested Development. This is why these are my general feelings on our young Spanish son:
This is why you trade him if a reasonable deal presents itself.
I love Willy the man, but he is a freakin' sieve on defense. https://t.co/Npqllzzp9b
— Matt Spendley (@mattspendley) January 26, 2018
It’s over my friends. We can officially flip the page and start to look towards next season. Tanking will be tough for this team, considering that they employ one of the best 20-30 players in the entire league, but I won’t blame you if you root for the tank.
The highs will be worth all of these lows. I promise.