Tank Talk – March 11th

If you’ve been following me or have come into contact with me at any point over the last 2.5 seasons, you’ll know there’s only one thing I can say right now:

BOBBY PORTIS SZN, BABY!

I’m kidding. Although Portis did have a fantastic night offensively (despite being a blackhole on offense), today is obviously about Frank Ntilikina.

Do you hear that? That clacking noise? It sounds like… it sounds like me TAP DANCING ON THE MOTHERFUCKING GRAVES OF FRANK’S HATERS.

I’m not afraid to admit that I screamed like a six-year old girl when he hit that final three to make it to 20 points. I’m not exaggerating. I really yelped. I said “He got it!” in a falsetto I didn’t know existed since my plums descended over a decade ago. It wasn’t my finest moment, but goddamn it, it was pure.

The night felt special from the get-go. Ntilikina scored a quick eight points and then he just would not stop being a two-way force. He needed a three late in what became a meaningless game, and by golly, that man got it. And while he was aggressive in finding his own shot, he still looked out for his teammates. He finished with 20 points, 10 assists, two steals, two rebounds, two turnovers, and one tech (!!!) on 6-of-9 (nice) from the floor, 3-of-5 from three, and 5-of-6 from the line. Every time there was a technical foul, he walked to the line with authority. The man has brass balls, and if we’re being honest, the jostling of those brass cajones is probably what is making his groin so sore. Someone needs to get this man a wheelbarrow, Randy Marsh style.

To be serious for a moment, last night conveyed why so many fans have believed in and stuck with Ntilikina. Nights like last night are likely the exception, not the rule, but that doesn’t matter. Knicks fans have been so starved of quality, young talent that many are unable to admit they don’t know what development looks like. But hey, that’s what happens when the last first round pick signed to an extension was Charlie Ward in 1999.

Having a defensive-minded player who can be versatile, who can be a secondary ball-handler, who can score, and who gets along with the team’s stars (see: Barrett Jr., Rowan) is crucial to a team. Last night, even for a fleeting moment, is justification that the Knicks made a good call on June 22nd, 2017. The best call? Probably not, but that doesn’t really matter. Why can’t we envision last night as foreshadowing? Why shouldn’t it be a realistic glimpse into the future? I choose to believe Frank is finally starting to arrive to the party. You may say fashionably late but I say he’s right on time.

And what’s more? The tank prevailed! Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, Elfrid Payton, and Moe Harkless were the true MVPs last night.

Recapping Last Night

Knicks lose ✅

Bulls win ✅

Cavs lose 🤷‍♂️

Wolves win ❌

Warriors win ❌

Clippers lose ❌

Knicks game aside, this was a very meh night. Some separation was created between the Knicks and the Bulls, so that’s good. And since the Bulls have the second-toughest remaining schedule in the NBA, it’s for the best. I’ll give it a 4.5/10.

Tank Standings

Five teams within a game of each other. It’s beautiful.

This is why I want the Knicks to lose games – they’re so close to being really bad. So if they’re already going to be bad, they might as well be really bad and prevent falling further in the lottery… right?

Damn the Clippers. We probably have to accept the fact that the pick won’t be higher than 27. Anything can happen though!

Sim of the Day

Oh hell yeah. Give me LaMelo Ball.

Average pick: 4.25

Average jump/fall: 0.75

Games Tonight

Pistons vs. 76ers

The Pistons are baaaaad. The 76ers are not, especially at home, where they’re 28-2.

Who we want to win: Pistons

Philly’s got this. Next.

Knicks vs. Hawks

The Wizards were up 14 on the Knicks, then the Knicks were up 18 on the Wizards, and then the Wizards were up 14 on the Knicks. SNIP SNAP SNIP SNAP SNIP SNAP.

This Knicks have won the second game of a back-to-back once this season and it was an OT thriller against the Warriors. The Hawks are a more talented team than the Warriors team the Knicks faced on December 11th. What’s more, the Knicks are less talented than they were on December 11th as well. They won’t get 36 from Marcus Morris but the Hawks could get 32 from Trae Young, just like the Warriors got 32 from D’Angelo Russell.

Who we want to win: Hawks

Sorry, Knicks fans. Better to be a half game ahead of the Hawks on the climb to the tank than 1.5 games. It’s one thing to root for the Knicks against a good team, it’s another to root for them against a bad team that could hurt lottery positioning.

Hornets vs. Heat

Hornets = bad. Heat = good.

Who we want to win: Heat

This is one of those games where, thanks to the Knicks losing against the Wizards, there’s enough breathing room between New York and Charlotte to allow for a loss. A Heat win helps Miami keep pace with the Clippers while a Hornets loss improves the second round pick thanks to a Bulls win.

Jazz vs. Thunder

Two good teams in the Northwest division. Only a game separates them. Who will come out victorious?

Who we want to win: Jazz

The Jazz are closer to the Clippers and the Thunder have to give up their first round pick to the 76ers if they finish between 21 and 30. I would rather they give up two second round picks instead, per the terms of the deal. You probably wish that too.

Nuggets vs. Mavericks

Oh baby, this is easy.

Who we want to win: Nuggets

Denver is so close to the Clippers in the standings. We have to root for them.

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