James Harden and a lot of crazy happened

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God damn, I wanted that one. And I know…I know there are fans out there for whom this amounted to a per-fect evening of basketball – Knicks lose but play hard, the kids play most of the minutes and perform admirably, ping pong balls fall from the sky – but I’m sorry, I can’t. I can’t be thrilled about this.

I mean how often do the Knicks get a break like this one?

This could have been one of those rare wins you looked back and remembered in a season of otherwise countless losses. But no.

Am I happy? Of course I’m happy…for Allonzo Trier, an undrafted rookie that put the team on his back to the tune of 31 points and 10 rebounds, finishing with a plus 19 in a game the Knicks lost by four.

I’m happy for Frank Ntilikina, who still can’t purchase a shot with his school lunch money, for coming out and setting the tone on both ends, almost single-handedly upping the defensive intensity and making the smart pass on the opposite end, making sure the ball moved enough to get a decent look.

I’m happy for Mitchell Robinson, who again showed why he’s going to be a monster on both ends once he can stop fouling. I’m even happy for Kevin Knox, who’s in a slump, but battled on defense and made his presence known on the glass.

But I can’t be happy with this result. The last play, where Vonleh was stripped by James Harden…what can you do. I trust Vonleh in that spot. Others may say it wasn’t the guy who should have had the ball in his hands. But you can’t blame Fiz for the play call because he was tossed a few minutes earlier, arguing one call too many on a night when he was often heated.

What you can question Fizdale for, and what will become a bigger and bigger storyline as this season progresses, is his continued faith in Emmanuel Mudiay. I get the rationale for it, for playing a guy who has shown so much improvement and can get to the basket so easily, especially when he’s someone the organization needs to make a decision on this July.

But it is getting hard to watch at times, when the offense clearly does not move with the flow that it can while he is out there. It doesn’t always happen, but it happens enough to now be a question, if not a concern. It is something to be monitored moving forward.

But for now, these young Knicks should hold their heads high. Yeah, James Harden tied the record for a visiting player with 61 points, but as crazy as it sounds, they didn’t do a terrible job on him. Call me a homer if you want, it’s cool. I’ve been called worse.

But the Knicks have nothing to be ashamed of.

Not tonight, at least.

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