Thoughts on Knicks/Pacers game.

(K)nickles for Your Thoughts

  • The last 14 minutes of the game, we saw KP take over on both ends of the court. I don’t think anyone scored on him in the paint, with him blocking multiple shots and altering other attempts in the paint. On offense, he was simply doing what he wanted – whether it was the mid-post going middle, facing up and shooting right over, diving off cuts, or spotting up from three, he was everywhere on offense.
  • Frank showed us a little glimpse of what could be. He was hitting shots, being aggressive looking for his shot within the offense (there were actually a couple of times that he had an open look but passed it up), was pressuring Collison (and Joseph) on defense, had a few nifty steals including one where he was being posted up, and was making smart rotations on defense. I am really looking forward to watching him improve upon his game and reach his potential. I initially thought he could be a bigger Jrue Holiday – if he gets more time, maybe that’s his floor.
  • The Knicks defense on Sabonis was atrocious. The scouting report going in should have been that he loves going left (just like Kanter loves using his right)…and yet, the Knicks kept giving him his left hand. The only time this entire game I saw the Knicks play proper defense on him was when KP was guarding him in the post (he ended up blocking Sabo’s shot). I love Sabo’s aggressiveness, though – he knows where he wants to go and angrily goes to that spot (or tries to). Still…that defense was horrible on him.
  • Jack cannot stay in front of quick point guards. At all. Collison was going wherever he wanted to on him (although, part of that was horrible pick and roll defense…which is nothing new), hitting jumpers, getting into the paint and collapsing the defense, and making crisp passes to open guys cutting or standing WIDE OPEN at the FT line.
  • THJr had a rough game yesterday, missing what appeared to be every jumper he took besides one three and one off-balance shot from the elbow (that he shouldn’t have taken). He had the quickness advantage on Bojan, who guarded him most of the game, but kept settling for jumpers. It would have been a lot better if he used his quickness and attacked the rim, using the threat of his off the dribble game allow for more room on jumpers.
  • Knicks defense in the PnR is terrible. I lost track of the amount of open jumpers the Knicks gave up from the FT line.
  • For those wondering, KP and Frank had the two best dRTGs on the team last night at 99 and 101 respectively. Of course, this is no surprise.
  • The team did a great job guarding Oladipo – whether it was THJr or Lee, they really pressured him whenever he got the ball. He came in averaging ~25 points on 50% from the field and 49% from three, and the Knicks held him to 17 points on 7-21 shooting and 1-7 from three.
  • Lance Thomas’ stat line doesn’t really stand out, but watching him in the fourth quarter, he really helped with energy with his dunk (which was probably the most athletic play he’s made in his career) and the two big FTs at the end of the game.
  • Doug really does a great job moving off the ball, but it seemed as if Hornacek didn’t call plays for him to do that after his strong finish in the paint in the first half. He’s more than just a spot up shooter, and the Knicks need to use him as such.
  • Kanter has no left hand. At all. He had three wide open left handed layups, but opted to go to his right hand – he missed every time. He did a terrible job finishing in the paint yesterday. Also, his pick and roll defense was again terrible. Whether it was him not closing out properly, not reacting to the FT line pass from Collison, giving the ball handler and roller/popper too much room, or not rotating, Kanter needs a lot of work. That said, he still is a great rebounder. OH, he also hit a mid-range jumper! For what seems like the first time this season, he hit a FT line jumper when the defense gave it to him. He has to keep taking this shot, because he’s always open. Even if it’s not going in as often as he’d like, he has to keep the defense honest and off of doubling KP in the post (/making the entry pass more difficult to KP).

All in all, it was a tale of two halves. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong in the first ~32 minutes of the game. The last 16 minutes, KP and Frank took over and that was the end of the game.

First quarter

  • Enes starts off quarter with good defense, a strong right-handed take, and a nice pass to a cutting KP, but missed Turner in PnR and gave up easy FT line jumper to Turner and to Sabo
    • Didn’t box Sabo
  • Yay for aggressive – looking to score KP!
    • Two strong finishes, drew 2(3?) fouls in first few minutes of game
    • Beautiful face-up jumper off glass, a la Tim Duncan
  • THjr hits 3, still playing good defense getting through the screen
    • THjr does a great job coming down in PnR / help defense to help the helper in coverage. His defense is legitimately good on ball getting over screens AND off ball.
  • Dougie moves so well off ball and KOQ passes soo well for a big. Nice drive right into a jumper too
  • Nobody on this team is forcing Sabo to his right…he’s a lefty, and we’re giving him his left hand
  • Strong take from Frank to end the quarter! Clock winding down, drove left, and drew the foul.

Second quarter

  • Frank beautiful pocket pass to Beas in PnR for the layup
  • This team refuses to force Sabo to his right. He goes left every single time…
    • 4 layups to his left, one open jumper, and one post up on KOQ – all to his left.
  • Frankie nice kick to Beasley, gets ball back for a mini jumper – no hesitation. Love seeing that
  • Knicks  give up way too many uncontested shots – whether it’s mid-range/FT line, corner threes, etc…something needs to change. Too many botched assignments. This quarter has been a mess on defense. Also, letting guys get into paint at will. No help defense coming and guys blowing by their assignments.
    • Collison blew right by Jack but KP came to block the shot
  • Knicks have given up 3 (?) wide open FT line jumpers…in the first 4:30 of  quarter alone.
  • THJr is doing a nice job keeping the pressure on Bojan. He’s not quick and THjr needs to keep him honest – he’s much more athletic, USE THE ADVANTAGE!
  • Kanter has easy left handed layup, goes for right handed with up and under. This is the second time he had a left handed layup but he chose to use his right. He missed both times.
  • KP gets doubled in the post and kicks to Lee for the three (missed). Honestly, even though it’s a miss, it’s really nice seeing KP recognize the double team and making the quick decision to swing it instead of trying to force it or wait until the double team pressure gets tighter
  • Enes cannot guard players who can shoot from outside the paint. He’s getting killed in space. He’s fine in the post, but the moment an opposing team features either two athletic guys or two guys who can shoot, the Knicks need to adjust and take Kanter out
    • Weak contest right there from Kanter on jumper from Turner…again…he jogs slowly out with his hand up but not running at him trying to contest or hurry Turner, then he runs for rebound without boxout, 3 Knicks near rim but he wants that rebound. Lol.
  • KP BLOCK ON LANCE! HELLO! Do not try to dunk on KP in his house.

Third quarter

  • Does Kanter have a left hand? Another left handed layup he ignores for a right handed push shot.
    • stop forcing it too
    • BUT HE HIT A JUMPER! I feel like this is the first jumper he’s hit all year. If he can do that, the offense can’t double KP when he has the ball in the block and Enes is at the FT line. That’d be a huge get.
  • KP defended Sabo really well in post leading to his 4th block.
  • Collison was a really solid get for the Pacers. Really smart, two-way point guard who can shoot, defend and be a pest, and create for others. He’s on a hell of a steal contract.
  • Lance Thomas hit the bottom of a rim on a layup. Yep, that just happened.
  • THJr with the strong take (and should have been fouled). His shot isn’t falling tonight and he keeps taking them. Can’t knock the confidence, but when he has the athletic advantage / quickness advantage on the guy guarding him, he has to attack the rim more. Use the drive to get more space on the shot.
  • Clyde and Breen are talking about what to do when Noah gets back from suspension. My 2c – trade Kuz, who is apparently unhappy, for a second round pick or cut Sessions.
  • Frank had a nice little shake into a strong drive to the rim. I love aggressive Frank. I’m just waiting for him to get a little more confident in his shot. Defense is so damn great now, that once his offense closes the gap a bit he’s going to be special.
  • KP two aggressive takes to end the quarter. Second one was a nice jumper that he got fouled on. Ends quarter with a BIG 3.
  • Frank can turn the corner and attack the rim more often than he thinks. He looks to pass a lot, which is awesome, but he gets more open looks / attacking opportunities than people give him credit for. I’d love to see him attack when he can.
  • Knicks cannot defend the three; Knicks cannot hit threes.
  • Knicks not attacking rim (and also not getting calls). Knicks fouling too much.

Fourth quarter

  • KP another shot contest at the rim. I don’t think Indiana has scored when KP has defended the rim.
  • KP can turn corner and attack baseline, but finds KP cutting for the dunk
  • KP hasn’t gotten out on three 3s from Young
    • Young gets another open 3, Doug doesn’t get out on him to contest
  • Knicks down 16, KP gets awkward layup to go in. Scored last 12 points.
    • Hit a three after Lance’s miss (from below) – scored last 15 points for Knicks
    • ANOTHER block from KP – Indiana isn’t scoring on him in paint
      • KP fed on other end, shoots over Joseph, misses, Kanter ORB tip-in
  • Lance comes back with a WIDE OPEN THREE (missed). I’ve lost count of the defensive breakdowns / open threes.
  • Frank-KP PnR (going to be seeing this for YEARS to come), both Pacers go to Frank, Frank turns hits KP with the pass and is fouled on a 3 – great look from Frank.
  • And…Frank just hit the biggest three of his young NBA career. Drive and kick, no hesitation, hits three from a few feet behind the line.
    • He’s showing he comes up big in big moments. The steal, the three, the defense. Wow.
  • KP hard cut to the FT line, gets hit with a pass from Thomas, and KP gets fouled going up. KP finally gets a call getting fouled on the jumper. Didn’t get one last game and hadn’t gotten one up until this call.
  • …and KP got another block. Nobody is scoring in the paint when he’s there contesting.
  • THJr drives, but guys are afraid to get to him because KP was on opposite block. Easy layup for THjr. The KP effect – all eyes on him
  • Oladipo drives on KP, KP lurking behind, ‘Dipo misses layup. As Breen said “the KP effect.”
  • So, quick thought on what’s happened this quarter – we finally started contesting jumpers. I think Indiana has only had 1 (maybe 2-3?) open jumpers. Everything else has had a hand in the face of the guy shooting. That’s really the only difference…and it’s something so stupid, and so easy – it’s what SHOULD be happening anyway. Contesting jumpers is  just reactionary…guy gets into motion, hand goes up. Yet the Knicks just start doing this on the perimeter with about 1-2 minutes left in the 3rd, carrying it into the 4th. That’s why they’re back in this game (and, of course, KP taking over).
  • Pin-down screen from THjr, Frank hits him with the pass, KP hits the shot AND the foul. Nice pass from Frank, great screen, better shot and make from KP.
    • The unicorn is officially a dragon.
    • KP takes charge on other end! Knows Sabo only goes left, and KP is there ready for him. Nobody scoring on KP in the paint. Killing it this quarter on both ends. Wow.
      • He’s one of Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons.
  • Isolate KP in mid-post. Hits jumper over Young…and KP has hit 40 points for the first time in his career. I love how we’re feeding the hot hand but would have liked some off-ball movement there (nobody moved once KP got the ball).
  • KP gets doubled and hits Frank for ANOTHER three! Ladies and gentlemen, the French Prince of New York has arrived.
  • Frank gets switched onto Dipo and pokes his hand in for the steal – ends up as a THJr fastbreak layup.
  • Frank’s defense and KP’s offense AND defense has turned this game around single-handedly.
  • Lance Thomas strong take with 11 seconds left – got fouled. Icing on cake for the game.
  • That comeback in the fourth quarter was amazing. Fueled by defense, getting out on shooters, KP closing down the paint, and KP being unguardable on offense. Just…wow.

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