The Knicks Continue To Stumble And Bumble On The Road In OKC

New York Knicks, Frank Ntilikina
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The New York Knicks got pummeled on the road in Oklahoma City, 128-103, and unfortunately, the game was even worse than the score indicated.

Coach Fizdale continued his rendition of musical chairs, as the Knicks once again rolled out a new staring lineup. This time, the French Prince and Damyean Dotson were reduced to the bench and a limited roll, meanwhile rookie Kevin Knox was slated for his first career start and Emmanuel Mudiay was promoted.

Despite Coach Fiz claiming these moves were not demotions and claiming Frank and D-Dot would still play their average 20-25 minutes, they both played about 7 minutes in this blowout. This lineup tweak is not extremely surprising as Frank as been struggling as of late. Knox is starting to shake off some rust and beginning to look healthy coming off of his ankle injury, and the Knicks are looking for a solution at point guard with the team averaging the lowest assist totals in the league, 19 per game.

Did the New York Knicks ever have a chance against OKC?

On paper it seemed like the Knicks might have a chance in this game with Enes Kanter returning to Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook sitting out, and a lineup change always gives room for some pre-game optimism. But the reality is that about 8 minutes into the game, it was clear the Knicks had no energy and it was going to be a long night for the players and the spectators.

Paul George had 18 points in the first half despite having two fouls in the first quarter. The All-Star lobbied Coach Billy Donovan to remain in the game, and the coach abided, much to the benefit of Oklahoma City. It was extremely disappointing that the Knicks did not have the fortitude to be aggressive and attack Paul George in the paint in order to capitalize on the playmaker’s foul trouble and lack of Westbrook in the lineup, in order to make a respectable run at the road victory.

Instead, Paul George must’ve played “Encore by Jay-Z” at halftime, because George came out in the second half as a man possessed, dropping 17 points in 3rd quarter with ease, his highest in a quarter with OKC, and finishing the game with a season high 35 points, on the Knicks swiss-cheese defense.

If you have a sensitive stomach, do not keep reading. It gets ugly.

The New York Knicks are not fun to watch, they have a bad record, 4-11, and the team has bad statistics all around to prove it. Not only are the Knicks last in assists per game at 19, they are also 28th out of 30 in three-point field-goal percentage sitting at 31.6%, which is not too far off from the last place team in the category, the Detroit Pistons, who are sitting at 31.3%.

The simplest statistic, in my opinion, that tells a story of how an NBA team is doing is points differential. New York is currently sitting at a -6.6 points differential on the season only ahead of Chicago, Atlanta, and Phoenix. That is not surprising as the Knicks have not had a lead in the last 10 NBA quarters, but it is also important to come to terms with the class of teams that the New York Knicks are and should be associated with, at least at this point, in the 2018-2019 NBA season.

The rookie second round pick, Mitchell Robinson, has been a bright spot in the paint averaging almost 2 blocks per game. However, the reality is, the negatives surrounding the Knicks perimeter defense and off/on ball defensive rotations is not outweighed by the occasional highlight block by the rookie center.

Also, Robinson, a rookie second round pick with a lingering ankle injury, is not getting any help due to the Lance Thomas ailment and from the veteran Enes Kanter, who is never at a loss for words or too shy for the camera or social media. But he sure does have an affinity for hiding on defense and snagging a rebound if the opponent happens to miss the shot.

How’s that working out you ask?

The Knicks are allowing their opponents 36% from downtown and 112.7 points per game, both 22nd in the league. Conversely, New York is allowing their opponent 47.5% from the field, 27th in league, while the Knicks are shooting 43% from the field, both 27th in the NBA.

What’s Next?

The Knicks are continuing their road trip to New Orleans as they have a scheduled practice on Thursday, November 15, before facing ‘The Brow’ on his home floor on Friday night [Cue the Friday Night Knicks on MSG music].

Anthony Davis and the Pelicans have shown some resiliency this year after overcoming an early 6 game losing streak with a 3 game winning streak that was snapped last night in a close game, against the newly revamped Minnesota Timberwolves. This is another bad spot for the reeling Knicks as the Pelicans have shown they play well when angry or ‘with a chip on their shoulder’ and New York will have no answer for Davis, especially following their early season trends and most recently, the Knicks interior defense against Steven Adams in OKC and Mitchell Robinson hobbling throughout the OKC matchup with an apparent aggravation of an earlier ankle injury.

Every minute that you torture yourself to sit through this season to physically feel the growing pains along with the team just remember one thing… Knicks trending down as Duke trending up.

Also… I agree… listening to the Friday Night Knicks upbeat song while getting blown out on the floor is agonizing. It’s like getting into a car accident (God forbid) while an upbeat Chance the Rapper song is on and you’re listening to him have a grand ol’ time and sing all cheerfully while you’re trying to figure out and piece together what just happened.