Knicks’ Julius Randle raves about Obi Toppin’s performance against Dallas

New York Knicks, Obi Toppin

The New York Knicks were embarrassed by the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night, who completely controlled them down the stretch. Falling 99-86, New York has had significant problems with their offense, reaching 100 points just once in the past three games, and barely against the worst team in the NBA, the Minnesota Timberwolves. Against Dallas, their star players fell ill to hopeful expectations, with Julius Randle scoring 14 and RJ Barrett eight.

However, the Knicks experienced one solid performance from the eighth overall pick this year, Obi Toppin. Toppin played just 11 minutes, going 4-of-5 from the field, and scored nine points. He also collected two rebounds and one steal, earning +5 +/-.

Fellow teammate Julius Randle was ecstatic for the rookie, who had struggled this season prior to the matchup against Dallas. He’s averaging just 4.2 points, 2.2 rebounds, and .486 from the field over 11.7 minutes per game. Alternatively, Immanuel Quickley has earned far more playing time and more opportunities to showcase his abilities.

“His confidence, I’m proud of him,’’ Randle said. “He just looked aggressive and wasn’t worried about making mistakes. So that’s great.’’

Despite Toppin’s performance, the Knicks are in a bit of a funk, losing their last three games. They quickly need to get out of this bad string of performances, as they take on a lowly Detroit Pistons team on Saturday at 8 PM.

“We’re in a little bit of a funk and we’ve got to work our way out of it,’’ Thibodeau said.

The Knicks have a significant advantage over Detroit, who are coming off a win over the Washington Wizards. Nonetheless, they’ve lost six of their last eight games, with just 14 wins and 34 losses this season.

The leading players for Detroit are Jerami Grant, who is averaging 22.5 points per game, and Josh Jackson, averaging 13 points per. Ultimately, this should be an easy one for the Knicks, considering they traded a majority of their team away at the deadline and don’t have any bonafide star players. However, New York does have to keep an eye on Hamidou Diallo, who has been killing it for Detroit recently, averaging 14.7 points in his three games with the team.

 

 

Mavs sink lethargic Knicks to 3rd straight loss

Luka Doncic got loose in the final quarter to power the Dallas Mavericks to an ugly 99-86 rout of the slumping New York Knicks Friday night at The Garden.

The Mavericks overcame the absence of their head coach Rick Carlisle, who tested positive for COVID-19 before the game.

Jamahl Mosley, who interviewed for the Knicks coaching job in the offseason, guided the Mavericks to their 26th win in 47 games for a firm grip of the seventh spot in West.

The loss dropped the Knicks one game under .500 (24-25), tied with the Boston Celtics for the seventh and eighth spots in the East.

Doncic delivered 13 of his 26 points in the final 9:36 while ex-Knick Kristaps Porzingis punctuated the road win with an alley-oop slam.

Doncic shot 6-for-11 in the decisive fourth quarter, converting one more field goal than the whole Knicks combined.

“It was a hard-fought game up to that point,” New York coach Tom Thibodeau said.

It was a struggle offensively for the Knicks, who shot 5-for-19 in the final frame as they only coughed up 17 points.

Despite their shooting struggles all game long, the Knicks only trailed by three, 78-75, early in the fourth.

Then Jalen Brunson, son of ex-Knick Rick Brunson and a former Tom Thibodeau assistant, caught fire. He combined with Doncic in a back-breaking 12-0 run to pull away for good.

Brunson finished with 15 points. Former Knicks Porzingis and Tim Hardaway, Jr. added 14 apiece.

Porzingis, who got booed lustily by a sparse Garden crowd, overcame a 2-for-11 shooting in the first half. The 2015 Knicks’ fourth overall pick made four of his six shots in the second half.

On the other hand, the Knicks’ current top three players—Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, and rookie Immanuel Quickley—were a combined 10-for-40 from the field. The entire team shot 36 percent overall.

Alec Burks paced New York with 20 points off the bench. Randle ended up with 14 points, eight rebounds, and 11 assists, but he was only 5-for-20 from the field. He also committed a team-worst five turnovers.

The Knicks looked banged up, lacking the bounce and energy in their game.

“We’re at the stage of the season where players start to feel something. We have to manage that, play better. Right now, we’re in a bit of a funk,” Thibodeau said. “We have to fight our way to get out of it.”

With their offense stagnant, the Mavericks pounced on the opportunity, punishing the Knicks inside the paint.

Dallas scored the bulk of their points around the rim, outscoring New York, 50-30 in the paint.

“We have to play with energy and share the ball,” Thibodeau lamented.

New York only had 18 assists, 11 of them coming from Randle. Derrick Rose was the only other Knick who issued more than one with four assists.

Obi Toppin was the only bright spot for the Knicks. The lottery pick finally hit his strides offensively, scoring all of his nine points in a fun stretch in the second quarter. Toppin’s explosion highlighted by a nasty putback slam over Porzingis had the Knicks jumping to a 13-point lead. But it was short-lived.

The Mavericks closed out the first half with an 18-2 run to go up by three at the break, 49-46.

It was all downhill from there.

The Knicks have barely 24 hours to recover and dig deep in their reservoir for energy as they travel to Detroit for the second game of a back-to-back schedule.

Perhaps they can find some energy from Norvel Pelle, the shot-blocking big man they recently signed to a 10-day contract in the wake of Mitchell Robinson’s foot injury.

The Pistons will also welcome back their lottery pick Killian Hayes, who hasn’t played since January with a hip injury.

New York has beaten Detroit twice this season. But with the way the Knicks are playing lately, a third straight win isn’t a guarantee.

It will get more challenging for the Knicks after the Pistons with the surging Brooklyn Nets and the Celtics on their plate next week.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Can Knicks’ Obi Toppin live up to his lottery pick expectations?

New York Knicks, Obi Toppin

It is early, really early to be having a conversation about New York Knicks’ power forward Obi Toppin. However, Toppin has quickly been surpassed by 25th overall pick Immanuel Quickley in terms of impact and production in their rookie seasons.

Obi was selected eighth overall and was expected to be a powerhouse in transition and offered the Knicks a dominant presence in the paint. Through 27 games, Toppin is averaging just 4.7 points and 2.5 rebounds over 12.7 minutes. Ultimately, his production hasn’t even been close to his lottery pick expectations.

The former Dayton stand-out participated in and slam dunk contest on Sunday evening in the All-Star game, just barely being edged out but posting a few impressive dunks in the process.

Toppin is a physical and exciting player in transition, and the Knicks likely felts with their elite defense, he would offer them a rangy player when traveling the length of the court and scoring in transition. Unfortunately, his adaptation to the NBA has been a bit troublesome. He has been buried on the depth chart as a last choice on the second team. His 12.7 minutes barely scratch the surface, especially when Quickley is averaging 18.8 per game.

Despite his deficiencies, specifically on defense and inability to dominate in the post, Toppin has an elite work ethic, and most aren’t worried that he will eventually grow into his role and begin impacting the team.

The question to ask is, why do the Knicks continue to ignore the point guard position in favor of power forwards? While he is a developing second piece behind Julius Randle, New York has desperately needed a PG for quite some time. They are currently rolling with a rotation of Derrick Rose, Elfrid Payton, and Quickley. In fact, I would be surprised if Toppin even cracks the starting team next year, given the presence of Randle and the amount of cap space the Knicks have to acquire a star player. That doesn’t devalue him as a second-team player, as he can make an impact in that role as well.

I see Obi making an impact as a productive pick-and-roll man, specifically when featuring in the frontcourt, using his speed and athleticism to tantalize defenses and force them to move out of shape.

Since Toppin was expected to be a ready-made player for the NBA at 22 years old, his production this year has been a bit disappointing. However, when the game finally starts to slow down, and he can find his role, I believe the Knicks will begin to rely on him more.

Knicks rookie Obi Toppin falls short in Slam Dunk, hopes to return next year

New York Knicks’ lottery pick Obi Toppin came up short in the Slam Dunk Contest as his between-the-legs dunk from inside the free-throw line wasn’t enough.

Portland Trail Blazers’ guard Anfernee Simons sealed the Slam Dunk title with a kiss to the rim.

Though the 6-foot-3 Simons didn’t actually kiss the rim on his final dunk, but his bounce and insane vertical leap gave him a 3-2 edge in the final round.

New scoring format

In the NBA’s attempt to avoid the Dwyane Wade judging controversy last year, they changed the final round scoring from scorecards to “judges choice.” The five judges, all past Slam Dunk champions, were made to choose who is their winner after seeing both dunks.

Dominique Wilkins, Jason Richardson, and Dee Brown went with Simmons, while Spud Webb and Josh Smith chose Toppin.

The Knicks rookie feels he has more to show and hopes to have another shot as early as next year.

“Me, given this opportunity to be on this stage with all these great players, it’s a dream come true. I didn’t get the win, but all three of us had great dunks, and it was a fun experience,” Toppin said. “Hopefully, I can come back next year.”

Next year’s NBA All-Star Weekend will be held in Cleveland, where Toppin would have some sort of homecourt advantage, having played college ball in nearby Dayton, Ohio.

Flashy start

Toppin started the contest with a sick trick — a reverse between-the-legs bounce pass to himself.

Then he followed it up with a slam jumping over his teammate Julius Randle and his father Obadiah Toppin in the next round.

Double L

It was a double whammy for the Knicks as Randle also got booted out early in the Skills Challenge. The eventual winner Domantas Sabonis eliminated him right in the first round.

Randle played for 13 minutes as a reserve for Team Durant in the All-Star Game won by Team LeBron, 170-150. The first-time All-Star tallied four points, two rebounds, and two assists in his brief stint on the floor.

The Knicks will be back in action on Thursday. They will start their grueling second-half schedule against newly minted NBA All-Star MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks on the road.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

All-Star send-off: Randle powers Knicks over .500 after Pistons rout

Julius Randle put on a show at The Garden before heading to Atlanta for his first NBA All-Star game.

Randle’s near triple-double powered the New York Knicks to their first winning record at the All-Star break in eight years.

The Knicks improved to 19-18, sitting at fifth place in the Eastern Conference after a wire-to-wire 114-104 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Thursday.

This marks the first time the Knicks are above .500 this late in the season since they were the Eastern Conference’s second seed at the All-Star break in 2013, the last time they reached the playoffs.

After a disappointing road loss in San Antonio two nights ago, the Knicks vented their ire on the Eastern Conference-worst Pistons.

With Randle leading the way, the Knicks led from start to finish. The first-time All-Star already had a double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds) in the first half alone as the Knicks sat on a 13-point halftime lead, 59-46.

New York extended the lead to 19, heading into the fourth quarter. The undermanned Pistons put up a token resistance in the final period cutting the lead to nine, but RJ Barrett quickly restored a double-digit lead with a three-pointer.

Randle bullied his way to 27 points, 16 rebounds, and seven assists, becoming the first player in Knicks history to have 800 points, 400 rebounds, and 200 assists at the All-Star break, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Aside from that milestone, the 26-year old forward also recorded his 10th game with at least 25 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists, the second-most in franchise history. He needs five more to tie the franchise record held by Bob McAdoo, which he did during the 1977-78 season.

“We’re growing as a team, growing as a unit,’’ Randle told Rebecca Haarlow after the game. “We got to go into the break and stay ready because the second half will be a beast. The first half was great for us, but we know we can keep improving and get better as a team, and we will.’’

The Knicks took care of business in the first half of the season, winning 12 games against losing teams and scoring victories against some playoff-caliber teams. They routed Golden State and Boston on the road and Milwaukee at home while beating Indiana twice.

But it will get tougher after the All-Star break.

The Knicks will play 26 of their last 35 games against playoff-contending teams, starting with a tough road trip in Milwaukee next Thursday followed by visits in Oklahoma, Brooklyn, and Philadelphia.

But before they get tested, this night was all about the Knicks punctuating a terrific first half of the season, which pundits never saw coming.

The Knicks’ turnaround wasn’t only about Randle. Collectively, this team emerged from the long years of dysfunction and incompetence.

They learned to play for each other under first-year coach Tom Thibodeau. Thursday night’s encore against the Pistons was another testament to that.

Derrick Rose missed his second straight game due to COVID-19 health and protocols, but Elfrid Payton returned to the starting unit with aplomb.

Payton directed the Knicks’ offense which became stagnant in their 119-93 loss to the Spurs earlier. He was active on both ends of the floor, collecting 20 points, six rebounds, four assists, four steals, and a block in a complete performance. Payton tied Reggie Bullock, who had 12 markers, for the night’s highest net rating with +17.

All five starters finished in double figures, with Barrett scoring 21 points on 9-of-13 shots. The Canadian swingman, chosen as one of the Rising Stars for the second straight year, added four boards and five dimes.

Nerlens Noel continued to provide a defensive spark with Mitchell Robinson (fractured hand) and Taj Gibson (ankle injury) still sidelined. He stuffed the stats sheet with 12 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, four steals, and two blocks while shooting a perfect 5-for-5 from the field.

Dennis Smith, Jr. returned to New York for the first time since he got traded for Rose and scored 12 points in a starting role. Another ex-Knick, Wayne Ellington, who spent last season in New York, led the Pistons with 17 points.

It was a fitting send-off for Randle, who was selected and praised by one of the All-Star captains, Kevin Durant, also the leader of the championship-caliber team in Brooklyn, just across the borough.

Bannering Team Durant are starters Kyrie Irving, Joel Embiid, Kawhi Leonard, Bradley Beal, and Durant’s replacement Jayson Tatum.

Randle joins James Harden, Devin Booker, Zion Williamson, Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, and Donovan Mitchell as reserves.

Randle will also compete in the Skills Challenge while Knicks rookie Obi Toppin hopes to end his dull first half with a bang in the Slam Dunk competition as a springboard to the second half of the season.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

New York Knicks’ rookies aren’t getting the playing time they deserve

Through 25 games, the New York Knicks have turned some heads this season. Currently 11-14 and just 0.5 games out of the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks are seemingly headed in the right direction under coach Tom Thibodeau.

However, despite the surprisingly strong start, many Knicks fans are disappointed in the lack of playing time for rookies Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley. Some struggling veterans are getting playing time instead, and the team’s rotations may have cost the Knicks some games.

Toppin, the eighth pick in 2020’s NBA draft, averages just over 11 minutes a game. He’s doing okay in his limited minutes, 4.6 ppg and 2.6 rebounds, but doesn’t get enough playing time to really show what he’s got. Playing time certainly isn’t given, but the eighth overall pick on a rebuilding team needs extended minutes.

Although many of Toppin’s minutes are taken by the forward duo of Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson, Toppin should be getting some of Reggie Bullock’s minutes. Bullock’s know to be a “three-and-D” player but has struggled a lot this season. He scored 21 points the other night against Miami, but averages just 8.9 ppg in 27 minutes.

Quickley has had some games this season where he’s completely lit it up, yet he sits on the bench. He’s scored 16 or more points eight times this season but averages just 19 minutes. Despite the Knicks winning two of their last three games, Quickley has played no more than 17 minutes in those games.

Elfrid Payton, on the other hand, continues to be an offensive nuisance. In nearly 29 minutes per game, Payton averages 12 ppg (same as Quickley), while shooting just 43% from the field and 24% from downtown. His defense keeps him in the lineup, but his offense is just brutal to watch.

Over the weekend, the Knicks acquired Derrick Rose, adding another guard into the mix. While Rose and Payton will likely see the bulk of the minutes, the Knicks must continue to give Quickley playing time. Rumors indicate that the Knicks could eventually move on from Payton, but for now, he’ll remain a Knick and another obstacle blocking Quickley’s minutes.

Despite the Knicks having a deep roster, the Knicks must give their rookies decent playing time. You can’t turn a team into a dynasty without young talent, and they have plenty of young talent. The Knicks aren’t a contending team this season, so they need to make time for their rookies and development.

 

 

New York Knicks: Tom Thibodeau makes interesting Obi Toppin prediction

New York Knicks, Obi Toppin

The New York Knicks are coming off an impressive win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday evening, in which they held their opponent to just 81 points. The Knicks finished with 102, and while they would like to be a bit more defensively proficient, their defense continues to be a focal point under head coach Tom Thibodeau.

In the victory, RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley lead the charge with 24 and 25 points, respectively. Quickley has emerged as a catalyst for New York on offense, but eighth overall pick Obi Toppin could take a bit more time to adjust to the speed and physicality of the NBA.

Toppin finished the game with just 13 minutes of action, scoring five and recording three rebounds. His influence has been minimal at best, as he continues to work on his defensive prowess and find reasons to earn more playing minutes.

However, Thibodeau is slowly understanding what Toppin’s strengths really are, as he made one interesting prediction for him after the win over Cleveland.

“I think [the three-point shot] will be a big part of his game. He’s got that skill set,” Thibodeau said. “I thought he played really well yesterday. I thought our bench gave us a big lift, but I thought he played with a lot of poise yesterday. I thought he shot the ball when he was open and he should have shot the ball and he passed the ball when he should have passed, and I thought he made quick decisions.”

The New York Knicks are taking it slow with Obi:

Toppin has interestingly taken more three-pointers than he usually did in college, despite the line being a few more feet back. He is attempting 2.1 attempts per game but averaging just 12.5 minutes per. As he gets more comfortable on the floor and improves his shooting, Obi should be a force from all spots, but his jerky nature won’t make him a finesse player that can rise above defenders and shoot adequately. The Knicks need to have a more transition based offenses, which activates Toppin running the floor and using his dynamic athleticism to make plays. As stated before, though, he is still adapting to the NBA, and it will take some time before we see his true potential. Luckily, his draft partner in Quickley has played well enough for both of them.

Thibodeau also went on to say that Toppin has improved defensively, which was a major weakness of his going into the season.

“And I think he’s making great strides defensively, which I think is critical for him and for us.”

New York Knicks: Just how good is the Knicks’ defense 18 games?

New York Knicks

Tom Thibodeau, Mike Woodson, Kenny Payne, Johnny Bryant, along with the rest of the developmental staff are in the midst of a culture change with the young New York Knicks roster. The Knicks are currently number one in the entire NBA in least opposing points scored against and opposing three-point field goal percentage. The scary part about this early accomplishment is the fact that there’s still upside for the Knicks defensively.

The men sporting the orange and blue are succeeding in Coach Tom Thibodeau’s defensive schemes. Thibs has been laying out floor plans for victories, and the Knicks have been executing to the best of their abilities. The young Knicks roster have bought in on the coach, and they’re still getting acclimated to each other. This is a young season full of promise, especially while watching inexperienced and talented players work and gain confidence in their crafts under a veteran, savvy coaching staff.

The return of Frank Ntilikina for the Knicks will be interesting because the French born combo guard is arguably the Knicks’ best perimeter defender. Ntilikina’s frame includes being 6’6” tall while possessing a 7’1” wingspan. He’s a menace defensively already at the age of 22 years old. Ntilikina can help take pressure off Reggie Bullock and Elfrid Payton in the backcourt.

Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley are two rookies who’ve shown flashes on both ends of the basketball court. Toppin has shown the ability to use his athleticism defensively. The Dayton “High” Flyer is understanding defensive positioning in the NBA. Quickley is using his length at the point guard position to his advantage. The former Kentucky Wildcat possesses solid defensive IQ. He’s also aggressive but still learning on the defensive end of the court.

Overall, the Knicks are in position to become better defensively under Tom Thibodeau. Healthy young roster depth allows the New York Knicks to play an ultra-aggressive defensive style. Knick fans might have to get used to the Knicks being a top-three defense in the NBA. It’s definitely a welcoming sight.

Draft steal Tyrese Haliburton haunts Knicks

Tyrese Haliburton made sure the New York Knicks would remember this loss for passing up on him in the NBA Draft.

Haliburton, who slid to No. 12 in the Draft, helped the Sacramento Kings deal the Knicks a stinging 103-94 loss that put an end to their three-game winning streak.

The Knicks went into a black hole at the start of the second half but appeared on track for a comeback in the final quarter before Haliburton made them pay down the stretch.

The 12th pick of the draft hit the dagger three-pointer with 2:35 left — his only field goal in the second half — that gave the Kings a nine-point cushion, 96-87. Then he stole the ball on the other end to seal the win.

“I guess it fueled me personally,” said a grinning Haliburton before pivoting.

“But I love it here. If we did this all over, I pray to God that I slid here. It’s not hard feelings or anything. It is what it is. It’s a business. I don’t care,” he added.

He must be incensed for getting little interest from a team that badly needed a lead guard.

Haliburton showed what the Knicks could have had at No. 8.

“My job is to make them think about that when they go to sleep. So I’m just going to go out there and be the best player I can be. I’m not that big into that motivation,” Haliburton said.

Haliburton entered the game as one of the top rookie performers averaging 11.1 points on 50 percent shooting and 49.2 percent from deep with his unorthodox shot and five assists.

The 6-5 rookie combo guard was the best rookie on the floor Friday night at the Golden1 Center.

Haliburton was all over the court as he finished with 16 points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals, and four of the Kings’ 14 blocks in 31 minutes off the bench.

In contrast, the Knicks’ eighth overall selection Obi Toppin had six points and five rebounds in 12 minutes off the bench, his sixth game since recovering from an early-season injury (strained right calf).

The Knicks, playing on the second night of a back-to-back schedule, started slow and trailed by as many as 10 in the opening quarter. They recovered quickly and grabbed a 26-25 lead.

The Kings, who came into the game with the league-worst defense, stunningly limited the Knicks to just five points in the final 5:47 of the pivotal third quarter. They would grab a 10-point lead midway in the last quarter, but the Knicks charged back and got within two, 89-87.

The Kings lived at the line before Haliburton bailed them out with the big triple — their first field goal in four minutes — to gut out the big win.

”This was a weird, weird game for us,” said Randle, who led the Knicks with 26 points, 15 rebounds, and four assists.

“We started slow, worked our way out of it, and was up at the half. The third and fourth quarter was a little bit of a funk. I don’t even know what happened. The ball stuck a little bit.”

The Knicks’ offense turned cold after a sensational showing the night before in a 119-104 rout of the Golden State Warriors.

RJ Barrett added 21 points, seven rebounds, and four assists, while Mitchell Robinson put up a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) but had little help from the rest of the Knicks.

De’Aaron Fox, who trolled the Knicks for landing No. 8 in the Draft Lottery, paced the Kings with 22 points and seven assists.

Together with Haliburton, they outplayed the Knicks point guards Elfrid Payton and Immanuel Quickley, who combined for 15 points and five assists.

The Knicks (8-9) will continue their West Coast trip in Portland on Sunday night.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Bullock’s injury forces Knicks to shake up starting lineup

Reggie Bullock of the New York Knicks

As the games keep on coming, the injury bug also keeps on hitting the New York Knicks.

Starter Reggie Bullock will not play Monday night in Charlotte due to a sore right hip, the Knicks announced.

Bullock has been averaging 28.7 minutes producing 8.5 points on 33.3 percent on threes, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.3 assists.

His outside shooting and defense will be sorely missed as Tom Thibodeau’s wing rotation is getting thinner.

The timing couldn’t have come at the worst time with the Knicks in the midst of a two-game losing streak. They have their plate full this week with a four-game schedule, including Monday night’s match against the streaking Hornets.

Bullock joins the Knicks’ injury list that also includes rookie Obi Toppin (strained right calf), Frank Ntilikina (sprained right knee), Alec Burks (sprained left ankle), and new signee Taj Gibson who is still undergoing health protocols before joining the team.

The Knicks are expected to bring Austin Rivers up to the starting unit to replace Bullock. But there’s also a chance that Kevin Knox will get the starting nod if Thibodeau opts to have a veteran leader on the floor for his second unit.

Meanwhile, Toppin is making progress with his recovery, although he hasn’t been cleared for contact.

“Right now, it’s 1-on-0, with some movement, jumping, change of direction, and that sort of thing,” Thibodeau said last Sunday.

“Then he’ll progress to 2-on-2, 3-on-3, and get to the point where he can get to 5-on-5 and get through practice,” he continued.

Toppin hasn’t seen action since the season opener.

Burks, on the other hand, is closing to re-evaluation later this week. The veteran wingman had been on a walking boot since Wednesday last week. He was initially given a 7-10 day timetable before he can be re-evaluated.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo