Eric Webb Checks in on the Knicks
The Knicks head into the week with a bit of momentum after beating the Minnesota Timberwolves in a back-to back matchup after losing two close games earlier in the week.
A week ago, on Saturday, the Knicks faced the Charlotte Hornets, who have exceeded many’s expectations thus far in the season and are playing very good basketball. They briefly were the second seed in the East only behind Cleveland.
During the Knicks’ matchup with the Hornets the Knicks dug themselves into a hole early in the game by getting off to a slow start, which ended up hurting them in the end. The Knicks were outscored by the Hornets 38-22 in the first quarter, and they were never able to recover from that point on.
A few players played a solid game, but it still wasn’t enough and resulted in a 107-102 loss. Derrick Rose nearly had a triple-double with 18 points in addition to eight assists and eight rebounds, Kristaps Porzingis had 25 points and 6 rebounds, and Brandon Jennings had 12 points and five steals off the bench.
The collective effort as a team, or lack thereof, is the biggest reason why the Knicks lost. They only shot 37% from the field, and played very poor defense, committing 27 fouls, which resulted in 29 Hornets points. In addition to that they were out-rebounded 55-68.
“They didn’t quit, that’s a positive, but we got to get off to better starts,” said head coach Jeff Hornacek. “I think it was the energy early on that got us. Our defense was good after that. Again when you dig a hole it’s tough to come back.”
The Knicks next matchup was against the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have been led by a triple-double machine in Russell Westbrook. This was a close game but the Thunder pulled away at the end thanks to a run anchored by Enes Kanter. He scored 27 points and added 10 rebounds off of the bench. Westbrook notched another triple-double (27 points, 14 assists and 17 rebounds) to help put the Knicks away. In addition to that Steven Adams scored 14 points and added 10 rebounds.
However, the game was close because of a few Knicks players having a good game but again it ultimately wasn’t enough. Rose scored 30 points, added four assists and seven rebounds, Porzingis scored 21 points, added five blocks and five rebounds and Carmelo Anthony scored 18 points and got eight rebounds.
Once again the Knicks lacked when it came to a collective effort. They were out rebounded 63-47, outscored by points in the paint 46-66 and only shot 31% from the field.
The final score was 112-103.
The next matchup was the first of a back-to-back against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Unlike the first two games of the week for the Knicks, this was a good collective effort. This time it resulted in a W. The three ball was falling for the Knicks, who shot 40% from behind the arc. They also were +7 in assists with 24 total, and scored 21 points off of turnovers. By no means was the win perfect however. The Knicks were out-rebounded 54-50, outscored in the paint 30-42 and committed 26 fouls resulting in 32 points at the free-throw line for the Timberwolves. They also let reigning Rookie of the Year Karl Anthony-Towns score 47 points and get 18 rebounds. The final score was 106-104. The final game of the week was the second of the back-to-back against the Minnesota Timberwolves, this time at the Garden. The Knicks got off to a strong start for a change, outscoring the Timberwolves 30-21 in the first quarter, and were able to keep it going for a full 48 minutes. The Knicks shot 47% from the field, and out-rebounded the Timberwolves 54-46. This was another good team win for the Knicks as Anthony scored 29 points, Rose scored 24 points with five rebounds and five assists and Justin Holiday scored 13 points and seven rebounds who started in place of Courtney Lee who was out with a sore ankle. The biggest surprise however was Kyle O’quinn scoring 20 points off of 81% shooting and grabbing 13 rebounds, who started in place of Joakim Noah, who’s also been out with an ankle injury. The final score was 118-114.