The first match for New York without their top dog Porzingis was rough, but it featured surprisingly fun moments from G League alums.
It has been quite the chaotic week thus far for the Knicks, highlighted by the trades of Willy Hernangómez and Doug McDermott, the call ups of Isaiah Hicks and Luke Kornet, and of course the ACL tear that will sideline Kristaps Porzingis seemingly an eternity.
Tonight the “new look” Knicks looked exactly how you’d expect them to against a Raptors team that has been on a charge recently. Despite a combined 15 points on 4-of-21 shooting from Toronto’s backcourt of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, the Raptors were still able to dominate the Knicks en route to a 25-point beat down at the Air Canada Centre. Solid performances from frontcourt players C.J. Miles, Jonas Valanciunas, and Serge Ibaka gave Toronto a balanced attack all night and were able to stymy New York, especially in the second half. Plus a great bench performance from Toronto (61 points), the Raptors easily pulled away from New York, 113–88.
As expected, the Knicks had great difficulty scoring the ball tonight in their first game since KP’s catastrophic injury. A total of 88 points and under 40 percent from the field is not going to yield many competitive performances, especially against a team like Toronto, who suddenly looks like the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. Michael Beasley led the offensive charge with 21 points and is now seemingly the Knicks’ best option offensively along with Tim Hardaway Jr.. Offensive talent is something the Knicks were deficient in before Porzingis went down, now that deficiency has turned into a bottomless pit.
The lack of fluidity on the offensive end was alarming on Thursday night, and everyone seemed to be playing for themselves. One can attribute that mostly to the poor point guard play the Knicks have been getting. Jarrett Jack is a liability at this juncture and is hurting the offense with his questionable decision-making. Frank Ntilikina simply has not gotten enough minutes and is going through inevitable growing pains when on the floor. Ntilikina looked timid and indecisive tonight, finishing the game with five horrendous turnovers. With time, Frank will improve if Coach Hornacek realizes he has to give him significant minutes. Right now, the point guard situation doesn’t look too good, and it is illuminated with the absence of KP. Maybe Emmanuel Mudiay can come in and make an impact, only time will tell.
Started from Westchester Now We Here
The must anticipated debuts of Luke Kornet and Isaiah Hicks on the big boy Knicks went fairly well, considering the circumstances and turmoil surrounding the team. Kornet posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds and displayed his versatility knocking down three shots from behind the arc. Hicks was okay in his first NBA action and showed a lot of hustle and heart in his 17-minute debut. At this moment, the DubKnicks’ three best players from the beginning of the season have all made it to the NBA, with Trey Burke being the third member who already matriculated to the ‘Bockers. As the downward spiral of this season continues, the Knicks might as well see what these guys can do going forward. This is the perfect opportunity to give all the youngin’s minutes and see how they could potentially fit in to the roster next year moving forward.
The Knicks are back in action Sunday at 5 p.m. against the Indiana Pacers.