The Knicks dropped their second straight game, losing 107-84 to their division foes just north of the border.
One part pitiful, one part showcase for some really nice things to come! The New York Knicks began another losing streak tonight, downed by the Toronto Raptors 107-84 in a match up that showed the King of New York, Lord Kristaps Porzingis, looking simply dejected amongst his subjects. Sprinkled into his struggles were some other strange, and occasionally encouraging, moments that we can look to moving forward.
The Kase With Kristaps
Gonna do a little free-thinking here: There’s a trend developing with Kristaps, and I think it has something to do with his predecessor. Towards the end of his experience with the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony was beloved by many Knicks fans for his toughness and desire to overcome the adverse mental games Phil Jackson was assaulting him with. It reeked “New York Attitude,” and it was nothing new to the former-franchise player who has been defined by the toughness he’s embodied throughout his career. But maybe Anthony’s hollow play rubbed off on KP, opening the door to Kristaps’ lackadaisical play when the game just begins to look out of reach, rather than putting maximum effort into the improbable comeback.
It’s just a thought.
And whether you thought any of that was of import or not, the fact of the matter was there was no way KP was going to keep his scoring average above 30 with a near 50-40-90 stat line. Not with the pieces and system that he has around him now. Maybe the elbow is the main issue here, but he just can’t be letting the little things get into his head. Pascal Siakam treated him like a rag doll on Friday night, holding KP to .231 from the field on 13 shots with three makes. He added four blocks (along with measly four boards and four frustrating fouls), but most encouraging, KP shot 2-for-3 from three! However, KP’s aggression made him want to keep pounding the ball inside, only to far too often be overpowered and made to look foolish. Had the hot-head simply stretched Siakam to the 3-point more often, maybe he’d be looking like a stud tonight instead.
Just Make It Happen
Jarrett Jack started the game beautifully and was the Knicks best player through the first half, racking up eight points and two boards with three assists by the intermission buzzer. But he got cooked by Kyle Lowry, who doubled Jack’s point total to go along with eight boards and four assists in that time. He borrowed the car and brought it back it on E.
Any hope tonight was found in the third quarter, crafted in large by the rookie Frank Ntilikina. He’s still committing bad fouls out there, like on a long 2 from Lowry that altered the shot enough to fall in. He even picked up two in his first shift, but Hornacek made the bold move of leaving him out there to simmer. The kid needs to play through his mistakes and his offense showed real signs of craftiness as the game went on. He finished an unremarkable 2-for-7 with seven points, an assist, one steal, and one turnover with three fouls in 17 minutes, but Frank made big money quickly tonight—like these two plays in particular:
Better and better each game.
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) November 18, 2017
He wasn’t perfect and he definitely needs to maintain his strong defense without fouling. Offensively, Ntilikina needs to keep trying to discover his three-point shot, but as Mike was onto in his preview: it’s time to let Ntilikina start. The KP Parade is beginning to break up, so let’s say the two of them work through their kinks together and maybe learn a little about each other along the way.
All I’ve Got
Tim Hardaway Jr. retains the title of Most Infuriating Player I’ve Ever Watched Play/Root For In Two Separate Stints, but he was manageable tonight, finishing 5-of-11 with 13 points, five boards, and three gorgeous steals plus a classy 3-for-7 line on 3-pointers. He also left the game for an X-Ray on his foot in the second half (that would appear negative according to NY Knicks PR). Courtney Lee entered the game averaging 18 points over his last two contests but was locked-down to a freezing cold three points on 1-for-9 shooting with six boards and four assists. Enes Kanter continued to look rock-solid on offense and quite boulder-like on defense with 12 points and six boards in 24 minutes, while Kyle O’Quinn was largely invisible in his 13 minutes on the court—scoring only on a single Ntilikina dime while adding six rebounds.
The Knicks take on the Los Angeles Clippers at home on Monday, November 20th. Tip-off’s at 7:30 p.m. eastern and The Knicks Wall has you covered with pregame, in-game, and postgame coverage on theknickswall.com, on Twitter, Periscope, and Snapchat!