Was it or wasn’t it a Fake Knicks Comeback? From about the eight-minute mark of the third quarter, this seemed like a game the Knicks were destined to lose, as Washington decided at halftime that this would be one of their “try” games.
The Wiz turned a nine-point halftime deficit into a lead that seemed to hover right around ten for the rest of the game, then ballooned to 16 in the fourth before a furious-ish Knicks comeback late. Had it not been for a John Wall three with under 15 seconds to go, New York would have had a shot to tie. Oh well. They lost 110-107.
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- While no players truly stood out, one bright spot was that it was another game where the shot profile was where you want it. The Knicks scored 95 of their 107 points (88.7%) from deep (12-for-34, 35.3%), in the paint (38) or from the free throw line (21-for-28, 75%). That said, there seemed to be a lid on the basket in the second half, as they missed several easy looks. It happens.
- On the downside, they reverted back to the norm with assists (20, barely more than John Wall), couldn’t generate fast break points against a team that usually hemorrhages them (five total) and gave up 48 points in the paint themselves. They need Mitchell Robinson to grow up even faster, although he did manage to log another three blocks.
- Who was the best guy on the court? The dude who couldn’t get on it for four games at the end of November, Damyean Dotson. He ended up with 17 points and nine rebounds on 6-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-6 from deep. He is a live wire on the floor at all times. I’m setting the over/under for non-injury-related games he misses over the rest of the year at 0.5. Wager accordingly.
- Timmy had a quiet but efficient 20 points on 7-for-15 shooting, but only got to the line three times, which has become something of a barometer for him.
- Kevin Knox didn’t do much scoring-wise (3-for-11 for eight points), but pulled down nine boards and once again looked comfortable, at least on offense. You can tell it’s starting to come together for him, although there will surely be another valley or two to come before his rookie season is over.
- Courtney Lee made his season debut and was clearly rusty, even missing a bunny late that may or may not have mattered where the final outcome was concerned. Physically though, he looked fine, and defended like we became accustomed to early last year. He now stands tall and proud atop the trade block. For how long is anyone’s guess.
- Emmanuel Mudiay couldn’t buy a bucket for much of the game, but was ever-present late, spurring the rally that fell just short. He played a team-high 36 minutes and seems to have David Fizdale’s complete and total trust. With the way Mud is playing, who could blame the coach for that.
- At backup point guard, Fiz once again turned to…Allonzo Trier, who had one of his worst games, finishing 0-of-4 in 15 minutes. His minus 12 +/- for the game did not appear to be a misnomer, although the point guard experiment does look to be worth continuing. Perhaps another ball handler on the floor would help…someone like…
- Frank Ntilikina, who once again was a DNP-CD, and once again, was the first guy off the bench to cheer on his teammates throughout the night. Gold Star for him. You have to think David Fizdale is in his ear, keeping his confidence high and letting him know his time will come. As I’ve noted, he has yet to play the type of attacking style we are now uniformly seeing from this team. Maybe watching a few games from the bench will open his eyes as to the adjustments he has thus far not been able to make. We are indeed in the darkness. Knicks fans simply have to hope dawn is not that far away.
The Knicks play a rare Thursday game next, as they are back in Boston. The Celtics have played worlds better since the Knicks took it to them on Thanksgiving Eve. A tough night lies ahead.