The New York Knicks hosted the Washington Wizards in their second-to-last pre-season game before the beginning of the regular season. Coach Fizdale shook up the starting lineup yet again and gave the French Prince, Frank Ntilikina, the starting nod for the first time this pre-season. It was also reported that Lance Thomas would be the Knicks starting power forward come the next Wednesday night.
Throughout the first half, there were plenty of good and bad from our Knicks. First, the Knicks pushed the ball on their fast breaks very nicely. They were not afraid to run against the Wizards and ended up with a lot of nice baskets in transition. However, there were some blunders. Hezonja had trouble on the fast breaks controlling the ball minus one slam dunk. He had trouble holding onto the ball in general in the first half. Kornet had a block party at one point, but that’s pretty much it.
The defense in the first half was not good. The Knicks had trouble rebounding the ball and gave up a lot of second chances opportunities to the Wizards. The only highlight in the first half, besides well executed fast breaks, was the play of Hardaway Jr. and Frank. Frank was aggressive on offense, adding 10 points and 4 rebounds. Frank struggled a tad on defense against Wall and Beal in the beginning, but eventually settled in. Hardaway also played well adding 12 first half points from his 18 points and 3 rebounds.
Then, the Knicks came out in the second half looking like they didn’t want to play at all. They were very lackadaisical on defense, the Wizards were able to do and create whatever they wanted basically. On offense, the struggles continued. Nothing was dropping. There wasn’t much movement and players were just standing around and everyone had trouble controlling the ball. At one point in the third quarter, you can see frustration from Burke and yawns from fans in attendance.
With Kanter was resting and Robinson still nursing his ankle, the Knicks struggled with their interior defense. Knox and his shooting woes continued, 2-9 from the field, 9 points. Burke and Trier were the only ones trying to make plays. Trier took over, yet again, in the second half. He has no fear taking to the rim on a fast break, excellent body control. Trier ended up with 18 points on 7-10 shooting. As for Mudiay, he didn’t even sniff the court until the 4th quarter, as Knicks twitter expects him to be cut, which he should.
Overall, the Knicks just didn’t come to play last night. The shooting, as a team, wasn’t good, they weren’t grabbing offensive or defensive boards and they couldn’t stop anyone in the paint. It was only a matter of time until they played a stinker after that hot 3-0 pre-season start. The Knicks did have a nice run in the 4th, cutting a 22 point lead to 9, but it wasn’t enough. The Knicks fell to the Wizards 110-98. Their pre-season finale before the regular season will be Friday as they host the Nets.