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  • Porzingis, Knicks Reach New Heights with Incredible Comeback, Defeat Pacers 108-101

Porzingis, Knicks Reach New Heights with Incredible Comeback, Defeat Pacers 108-101

Wow! Porzingis scores a career-high 40 points and the Knicks completed a real comeback!

 

Well, if you turned the Knicks game off at halftime… you missed a lot.

The Indiana Pacers (5–4) and their young players, including Myles Turner, Victor Oladipo, and Domantas Sabonis, came to New York for a Sunday night game of basketball. We saw a lackluster first half from the New York Knicks (5–4). But then, sparked by the magically delicious play of Kristaps Porzingis, and aided by Frank Ntilikina and Lance Thomas(?!), the Knicks smoothly chipped away at the Pacers’ double-digit lead. Porzingis poured in a career-high 40 points, Ntilikina played down the stretch and straight up CLAMPED Indiana’s Darren Collison, and the Knicks shocked long-time fans and viewers with a merciless exorcism of their age-old fake comeback.

Inject this into my veins, please:

 

 

Let’s get to the (happy) recap:

Pacers live up to their name

The Paul George-less Pacers have broke through the early season with a remarkable pace (no pun intended). Nate McMillan’s team is 5th in the NBA in Offensive Rating, per Basketball-Reference, and although they haven’t reached a consistency on defense, the Pacers have pretty much ran their opponents off the floor by dictating the speed of the game.

The Knicks fell behind in the first half due to some huffing-and-puffing (shouts to Clyde). The beneficiary Pacers, on the other hand, sprinted out into transition off Knicks misses, and due to some board-crashing from Kanter, O’Quinn, and the rest, Indiana found little to no resistance facing them at the other end, leading to some easy, fast break buckets.

That sort of fast paced approach can be a double-edged sword, however, as it allowed the Knicks to create their ferocious comeback in the second half. When the Hoosiers’ shots weren’t falling, the Manhattanites took advantage with a similar fire and desire pace. The additional possessions helped New York’s case, and with a steady diet of devastating Kristaps isos, the Knicks hit biiiig shot after big shot, drowning the Pacers to the sound of a jubilant Garden crowd. Really, wow.

 


Enes Kanter, a monster on the glass

Good Lord, Enes Kanter enjoys snagging rebounds. I don’t really have much else to say here other than Kanter’s propensity for rebounds is practically megalomaniacal. Enes corralled 11 boards in the first half alone–Patrick Ewing numbers–and while that created more possessions for New York, the downside involved poor Knicks transition defense. Kanter would finish the game with nine points and 18 rebounds.

 


No answer for Domantas Sabonis

The sophomore big man started in 66 games during his rookie campaign in Oklahoma City, but with the return of center Myles Turner, Sabonis had been relegated back to the bench. No matter, Sabonis was dominant against the Knicks’ second unit, pump-faking his way to create space between himself and the basket, setting high screens, and fooling the Knicks’ perimeter defense. He reminds me of a… young Al Jefferson perhaps? Arvydas’ kid is super creative with the ball, and New York’s second string had no answer for the Lithuanian-American.

This will for sure be a stretch, but the Pacers’ incessant utilization of the high pick-and-roll (Sabonis as the roll man) looked strangely like the Stephen Curry–Draymond Green PnR for Golden State. The sheer level of points per possessions that Indiana attained from this play alone proved so successful. New York would usually switch and have the smaller guard on Sabonis, who would choose between driving to the rim or finding the corner wing player for an almost always open triple. Phil Jackson’s spirit still saunters around MSG through New York’s terrible corner 3 prevention.

Domantas finished with 14 points in the first, 16 overall, eight rebounds, and three assists. McMillan’s substitution for Sabonis back into the game was too little too late.

 


 

Let’s talk about Kristaps and Frank, chicken soup for the soul

Well, credit Jeff Hornacek, really. And also freakin’ Kristaps Porzingis, shooting over puny mortals and banking in shots, getting to the free-throw line, and blocking SIX shots. Incredible.

Hornacek went to Frank and Lance Thomas in the fourth quarter. Frank was disruptive, to put it lightly, for Indiana’s backcourt. His length was everywhere, and the addition of Thomas guarding Oladipo proved significant enough to stiffle the Pacers’ quick offense to a paltry and slow halfcourt set.

For-ty points from KP (15-of-24 from the floor), magnificent play after magnificent play. One of the best Knicks games in years.

 


Miscellaneous
  • Tim Hardaway Jr. probably had his worst game this season purely by the measurement of shot selection. Just some awful decisions made by Timmy. Hardaway Jr., and the Knicks, couldn’t buy a bucket from long-range, an area the Pacers decimated the Knicks in (12-for-25 to 6-for-23, respectively).
  • Kristaps sparked a 9-0 run in the fourth quarter, followed by back-to-back treys from Thad Young of all people, but then an and-one and triple brought excitement back into the hearts of the Knicks faithful. An individual 15–0 run from KP delighted MSG. MVP chants rained down from the rafters!
  • Michael Beasley had some awful minutes off the pine again. I’d like to see the Walking Bucket do well in reserve time, but so far only that nine point run in the second half of the Suns game was the only moment Beas looked engaged on the court. Lance Thomas played Beasley’s bench minutes in the second half of Sunday’s match and brought a defensive energy (and awkward, double-clutch dunk) to the game.
  • Again, I want to reiterate how bad the Knicks are at covering the corner 3. It’s mostly the by-product of Indiana’s spacing, but it HAUNTS the Knicks, especially when they’re playing from behind, Just killer. Fix it, Jeff.
  • Please click on this and watch Born Ready get vehemently blocked by KP!
  • The French Prince update: 10 points (4-for-7 shooting), seven assists, a block, and three steals in (I believe) a career-high 24 minutes.

Really, the most fun Knicks game in forever, and for those who watched, they witnessed the glimpse of a future where Ntilikina and Porzingis thrive together in a joyous Garden environment. I’m speechless! I’m gonna throw in some GIFs because you, Knick fan or bystander, deserve this:

 

 

 

 

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

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