In a game where many questioned the NBA’s decision to have the lowly New York Knicks play on Christmas day where most are home and would like to seem some competitive basketball, the Knicks kept up their reputation. It was a close first half, being down by only 2 points by the intermission while holding Milwaukee under 50 points, but then the 3rd quarter happened. The Knicks were outscored by 14 points and looked out of sync the whole quarter.
Star rookie, Kevin Knox led the way with 21 points on 8-20 shooting. He started off strong once again and showed his aggressiveness and offensive talent on a national stage. Noah Vonleh had a 14/15 double double as the only other bright spot.
The Greek Freak once again dominated all around with 31 points and 14 boards and adding 4 steals and 2 blocks. He is as un-guard-able inside 5 feet as anyone not named Shaq this millennium. Brook Lopez scored 20 and Malcolm Brogdon chipped in with 17 to lead a balanced effort for one of the best teams in the league.
Kevin Knox continued his hot December scoring and growth. He’s got the deep ball, the mid range floater, can get to the rim and still looks raw. With time, the off hand will improve and so will the fundamentals. Knicks fans should be happy, it looks like we have an up-and-coming star.
Noah Vonleh continues to play a good all around game and can either be traded to a contender for some draft picks or maybe even re-sign him if they could get him cheap enough.
Tim Hardaway Jr. continues to play extremely poorly. His shot selection questionable at best and he fails to get anyone else on the team involved. He is ruining any trade value that he may have picked up earlier this year and paying him $18 million for 2 years after this is going to be a huge thorn in the teams side. Steve Mills and Scott Perry should do anything they can other than trading a first round pick just to dump this guy.
The rotations that Coach Fizdale uses are a bit strange. He preaches defense yet continues to trot Trey Burke out there over Frank Ntilikina. Burke hasn’t had a good game in over a month yet when he is healthy, he gets his minutes.
The Frank issue
A couple weeks ago, Frank was benched and the move was heavily scrutinized. It seemed to have worked as Frank came back with a hip in his step and so serious attitude. That fire seemed to have fizzled out (no pun intended) quickly and his bottom was parked back on the bench again. Will this reignite a fire and Frank starts playing well again? It could be. However, if the Knicks plan of being somewhat playoff contenders in the near future, it only makes sense for them to play Frank as much as they can and see what he actually is. He is under contract for a while and is a young, unselfish, pass first defensive minded point guard, why not try and play him?
The Knicks have a daunting schedule for the next 10 games. I think most of the fans that haven’t yet embraced the tank are finally coming aboard. If the Kevin Knox continues to play well and develop and don’t win many more games and end up with the worst record, it will be a successful season. If they can land one of the Duke big 3, it will be very exciting.
Guess who’s next? Yep, it’s Milwaukee again. Can they maybe stop Giannis on the road? Only time will tell.