Most of Friday night’s attention was paid to surrounding stories between the Knicks and Celtics soon after the Porzingis trade, as the New York team fell at home to Kyrie Irving and the C’s.
There’s no way to sugarcoat this. On February 1st, the Knicks took on the Boston Celtics at home after trading away beloved all-star Kristaps Porzingis. It was an interesting night with fans starting a “We Want Kyrie” chant and Ma$e making a guest appearance for a lift-your-spirits halftime performance. New York lost, but everyone was far more preoccupied with the narratives around the game than the actual basketball being played.
The names on the starting lineup were a bit lesser known, with the Knicks’ roster decimated and the trade holding out all players involved. Kadeem Allen, Damyean Dotson, Kevin Knox, Noah Vonleh, and Luke Kornet took to the floor to start the game and delivered. It wasn’t a win, but they delivered something.
The Celtics got to the paint easily and early in the game. Floor general Kyrie Irving took the reins and spent so much time in the paint you’d swear he was moving in. What lost the Knicks the game was the reliability of the Celtics’ supporting cast. Sure, Irving shot 9-of-20 with 10 rebounds and six assists, but Marcus Morris, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, and Gordon Hayward all competed well in their roles.
It wasn’t all bad though.
Damyean Dotson caught fire early and was the driving force behind the Knicks’ refusal to fall too far behind for a large part of the game. He had the Knicks’ first bucket and scored well and efficiently throughout the game.
Dotson scored 22 points, shot 50 percent from three, and tallied six rebounds in 38 minutes. There wasn’t much he could do to contain Irving or Morris in mismatches, but his efforts are still recognized. With Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, and Trey Burke gone, Dotson could prosper in this new role. His bucket coming off of an Allonzo Trier chase-down block is the kind of defense leading to quick offense that improves his team.
Defense turns to offense (I love Trier blocks) pic.twitter.com/B5VzfCRNlD— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) February 2, 2019
Kevin Knox didn’t have any answers early, but chose to launch shots anyway. In the first quarter alone he was an ugly 2-of-7. Surprisingly, Coach Fizdale didn’t call it quits and kept the rookie in for a large part of the game.
Eventually finding his rhythm, Knox scored nine points in the third quarter and ended the game shooting 9-for-21. It wasn’t the most efficient game, but his 21 points and five rebounds are encouraging without context.
Luke Kornet, Mario Hezonja
Kornet and Hezonja weren’t headliners tonight, but they did contribute. Hezonja went 4-of-8 from the field, but shot 100 percent from inside the arc. His fast-break assist to Knox was also a bright spot for New York.
Kornet was far from elite as a rim protector this game, but he was still a marked improvement over his backup, Enes Kanter.
Ineffective on offense tonight and a glaring weakness on defense every night, Kanter gave up points and added nothing. He was a disaster in the pick and roll on both sides of the court. However, Kornet at least scored decently. He shot 4-for-9, but the three-point shots just weren’t falling for him as he shot 25 percent from beyond the arc.
- The Knicks’ first five field goals made were assisted. During that time they went on an 8-0 run. Some attribute it to Tim Hardaway Jr., who wears “ball stopper” as a scarlet letter, being absent, but new addition Kadeem Allen had something to do with it too. Three of the five assists were his.
- The New York Knicks lost to the Boston Celtics, led by their soon-to-be free agency target Kyrie Irving. Knox, Dot, and to some extent Trier shined for the club, but the Knicks still couldn’t battle to within single digits. Or break the 100 point mark, for that matter.
Either way, with another tank game down and another tank game in front, the Knicks are unapologetically setting themselves up for Zion Williamson, one loss at a time.