Well you could see that one coming from a mile away, huh? Even though this game was a lot closer than the 128-100 final score made it seem, from almost the opening tip, you got a sense that this was not a contest the Knicks were going to win.
The Celtics feel like a team that is about to go on a massive run, as their new starting lineup is clicking and Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward off the bench is almost unfair (Brown in particular couldn’t miss tonight).
Simply put the Knicks lost to a much better team, partly because their defense couldn’t keep up with an offense that is starting to operate on all cylinders and partly because they didn’t shoot it particularly well. On to individual notes:
- Noah Vonleh was about the only positive on both ends for the Knicks tonight. He’s been their best player this year, and it’s not particularly close. He put up another double double and was defending everyone from Kyrie Irving to Al Horford. Everyone is scheming to try and get him back next year, but don’t underestimate a team giving up a real asset for him at the trade deadline.
- The kids, for the most part, played fine. Knox’s shot, especially on drives, still isn’t quite there, as he needs to learn how to finish at this level, but he was 2-of-6 from deep and he once again looked comfortable out there. Mitch more than held his own, getting another couple of blocks and snagging a beautiful alley-oop from Mudiay in the first quarter. Iso Zo had a nondescript six points in 18 minutes, and offensive fouls are not officially a thing he needs to be cognizant of doing. Finally, while Dotson was his usual active self on defense, he couldn’t buy a basket, finishing 2-of-11, including 0-of-6 from deep. You would have liked to see him take it to the hole a bit more.
- Courtney Lee played again, hitting once from long range and looking…fine.
- This was a terrible matchup for Kanter, and his 24 minutes was probably a dozen too many.
- Mario…oh Mario. Super? No…no no no no no, no no…not so much. It’s 26 games and I think most New York fans have seen about enough. The poor decision making, the bad shooting (1-of-4 tonight, an ungodly 38% on the year, including 26% from deep). I don’t know if there’s a team in the league that would trade even the expiring contract of a dead man for him at this point, but his minutes are officially a waste at this point.
- Finally, of course, Frank. That’s 3 straight DNP-CD’s. Luke Kornet came into the game for the last couple minutes of garbage time, although it’s probably best Fiz didn’t think so little of Ntilikina to throw him into this poopfest. I’ve written and said too much about Frank as it is. They may trade him. Who knows. But they better give him one more honest to goodness shot on this team before they do. They owe him at least that.
It’s back to MSG for a game against Brooklyn Saturday night. Something tells me it’ll be a close one.