Some thoughts on the Knicks/Hornets game.

(K)nickles for Your Thoughts

  • KP came out scorching on offense. Defense was a little lackluster – didn’t close out at all and just looked disinterested at times.
  • As you can see below, Kanter was a mixed bag. Following up a bad play with a good one. His highs were good, but his lows were terrible – how can you let Dwight take you off the dribble from the FT line?
  • THJr used the drive the first few minutes of the game to set up the open looks from the outside. He got some good looks from kickouts / swings, too.
  • KOQ – awesome help defense on multiple shots, great tip leading to steal, beautiful pass to THJr (and another to Doug on a backdoor) in paint when defender had back turned, and yelling defensive instructions to everyone on the court (even though nobody appears to be playing defense this game…). The second he stepped onto the court, the energy changed. KOQ hit Doug with multiple backdoor passes – Doug doesn’t stop moving, and KOQ hits him with perfect passes. In the fourth quarter, he had some big finishes in the paint – nice touch on layups and strong dunk.
  • First quarter featured absolutely no defense whatsoever. It was disgusting.
  • In the beginning, Frank had an awesome hesitation coming off the screen. He missed the floater, but it was a decisive move and he knew where the defense was – saw him trailing, so took another step in and took the floater instead of going for the jumper. Another awesome play in the second feeling the defense behind him on the dribble drive, getting into the paint, and dipping it off for the easy layup.
  • Frank has been letting the pressure get to him when he’s handling the ball on the corners – CHA is cutting off his lane / sending help, and Frank keeps picking up dribble. His defense this game wasn’t as great – CHA kept sending screens at him, and Frank was having a hard time getting over / recovering.
  • Doug is a legitimately smart defender – when his man was in the far corner, he was helping on the strong side (or, at worst, keeping one foot in the paint if he didn’t think he could get out in time). Just like in the Phoenix game where he was able to stay in front of Josh Jackson, Dougie should the same defensive ability when he was guarding Lamb in the fourth. On offense, , the Knicks are actually using him how he should be used – constant motion, cutting off ball, and not only as a spot up shooter. Chicago and OKC used him as a spot up shooter and that greatly diminished his effectiveness. Watch how after he sets screens off ball after a screen is set for him and he doesn’t get the ball. Always moving. I cannot stress enough how much I love his game. He was incredibly efficient last night and played good defense.
  • Knicks make a mini-run to cut into deficit in the second quarter. Kanter comes in and all momentum is gone. CHA goes on 12-2 run in first 3 minutes of Kanter’s return off bench. This is not a coincidence.
  • Kanter’s help-defense is horrible. I really cannot stress that enough. Aside from the examples you’ll see below, we made runs every time he was OFF the court. That’s not a coincidence, folks.
  • Fourth quarter
    • Knicks’ 3 point defense was bad this whole game…and it shows. They were slow rotating to the open shooter and it ended up costing them with poorly contested shots.
    • Played with MUCH more energy on defense
    • Lance Thomas was one of the spark plugs –
  • I LOVED the small ball lineup with KP at the 5 and Lance/Doug at the forward positions. It pulled Dwight away from the paint (not comfortable guarding stretch 5s) and allowed for easier drives / a less clogged paint.
    • KP at the 5 is going to be a killer lineup going forward as he gets stronger. He can defend the paint with his length and opposing bigs are almost always afraid of going to the perimeter to defend him.
      • Dwight was useless against him on both ends of the court
    • On the KP/Frank PnR with 1:22 left, Frank should have pulled up from the FT line. Instead, Frank kept driving but Kemba had the step on him and drew the charge.
    • KP contested Kemba’s 3 on the Dwight/Kemba PnR PERFECTLY
    • 16 seconds left KP/THJr PnR, both defenders go to THJr (VERY bad defense), Monk closed out too hard and KP drove for the layup putting the Knicks up 3 with 11 seconds left.
    • Monk used downscreen to come up and catch and shoot 3 – great contest from Frank. CHA got ORB but Knicks’ defense kept them from shooting a 3 and forced a turnover.
    • Lee fouled with .3 seconds left and iced the game.
      • This was his best game of the year. Solid  defense (slightly worse than usual, though) but he was our best playmaker on offense. He’s been a very good secondary playmaker for the Knicks – something he did not show much last year.
    • Lance Thomas played great on both ends of the court. He was contesting shots, moving on offense, but most importantly he was playing with energy when the Knicks needed it.
    • KOQ should be starting over Kanter. There is no point whatsoever in having to come back from a deficit every game because Kanter is starting. PLEASE, Jeff, move him to the bench.
  • Malik Monk has a very bright future as a lightning plug scorer. He showed some flashes on defense and playmaking (two things he never did at Kentucky), but he will make his mark


  • first possession – gives up sideline and the baseline which allows for Kemba to get into paint, and Charlote ends up scoring on this possession. Follows it up with a nice follow on the other end.
  • misses boxout on Dwight, Dwight scores
  • Kemba gets by Jack, Kanter steps up on baseline – good defense
  • Another ORB putback on KP’s miss
  • Kanter fouls Dwight on postup – Kanter is in the 8th percentile on postups…no need to foul
  • Just got taken off dribble from FT line by Dwight
  • Backs up off Dwight and baits Dwight into taking the jumper (miss)
  • Kanter takes bad angle on Kemba drive, but forces Kemba to pass – smart pass
  • Didn’t attack Kemba (ball-handler) in PnR quick enough and Kemba got off an easy lob to Dwight for the dunk (no help behind – weakside corner help never came
  • Nice spot up shot
  • Nice drive and kick to THjr for 3 (miss) – then stole ball on other end
  • Kanter horrible high-low pass to KP, gets stolen by Dwight.
  • Misses boxout on Dwight – fouls Dwight.
  • Late on rotation after MCW got by Jack – easy score for CHA.
  • Set good screen for Jack. I admit, I get on Kanter for his mistakes because they’re horrible…but he does set awesome screens.
  • Lamb has ball on wing, Kanter doesn’t even jog out and gets blown by Lamb. That’s not defense.
  • Kanter way late on rotation from Williams.
  • Kanter PnR with Jack – Jack hits him on the roll for a min-floater
  • Kanter runs off screen at elbow area for a mini-elbow jumper – made it
  • Kanter then proceeds on the play right after to have more terrible help defense – half-jog run at Marvin, caught in no-man’s-land, CHA scores with a Dwight dunk


  • Has athleticism advantage on Bacon and attacks off dribble and ends up getting fouled
  • Lamb tries taking him off dribble, but THJr stays in front
  • Takes bacon off dribble again, drawing another foul
  • Spot up three off Kanter post – Kanter kicked back to KP – ball found its way to THjr for open 3
  • Faked using screens along baseline to set defender up – stayed at rim instead, got pass from KOQ (amazing pass), easy layup.
  • Came off pin-down, had MCW on hip, slowed up a bit, shot and drew the foul.
  • THJr gets ball after CHA miss, gets in front of Graham who runs into him and fouls THJr  – THJr to FT line.
  • At halftime, THJr’s defense has left something to be desired. He’s being caught up on screens, he’s late on some closeouts, and just looked out of place at times.
  • Nice movement off ball using pindown screen from K to get an open jumper
  • Coming off screen from Kanter, gets open FT line jumper – made. Dwight WAY too far back in the PnR defense.
  • THJr hits banked three from top of key
  • THJr heat check three (miss) – needs to keep using his drive as his primary option and the shot as a secondary one. He’s getting by his guy at will and his shot has been super streaky this season.
  • After getting rebound, he pushed ball up to Doug who got the defense’s attention, and Doug kicked it back for a transition 3. BIG shot – deficit down to 3.


  • Turn, rise and shoot over Williams.
  • PnR with Lee; Lee passed back to KP for the three (make)
  • PnR with Jack – Charlotte lets Jack get too far in, easy pass back to KP (missed 3)
  • KP tries putting ball on floor when help came, Kemba steals – ends up going out of bounds
  • KP inbounds to Jack, steps in, gets pass from Jack for 3
  • …and KP another catch and shoot 3.
  • Jack HIGH pass to KP on lob and KP with the strong finish
  • Involved in PnR with Kemba and Kaminsky; KP never got back to contest shot – Frank tried contesting, but was late
  • Zeller drives by THjr, KOQ blocks, KP blocks 2nd attempt, KP blocks 3rd attempt (called foul – absurd call…).
  • Got ball with 5 seconds left on clock on far side. Takes Williams off dribble with a cross for a driving jumper in the paint – it’s good. 7’3 making moves like that.
  • KP hard dive to the rim – fouled.
  • KP weakside follow for the dunk on a missed jumper from THJr
  • KP sinking too far to help in PnR defense (probably because he’s worried about Kanter’s defense). If Clifford sees this at half time, CHA will have a bunch of open threes in the 2nd half.
  • KP gets back pass from Jack, KP’s man and help both come – swings to Lee in corner.
  • CHA sending double on first two possessions of quarter – making quick decisions getting ball out of his hands.
  • Gets ball in mid-post while Kemba is guarding him – easy turn, hits the jumper. Love the decisive and quick moves.
  • Took bad angle on PnR defense with Kemba – parallel to the sideline and didn’t cut off driving angle.
  • Fake dive, come back for 3 to take lead with less than 2 minutes left.

One thought on “Knicks/Hornets”

  1. I like the way you changed this up slightly. Brief summary of the game plays, then a section for major player by player, with plays he was involved in chronologically.
    Also, if I agree with you that McBuckets was used well, can we agree that Sam Presti is less of a genius than we thought? OKC didn’t use McD this way, and traded a guy with a lot of potential for an end of career star. We may find value from Kanter in the long run if he continues to learn defense and we play him off the bench in selected situations. So the coaching isn’t that great in OKC, meaning Presti has minuses to go along with his plusses.

    Meanwhile, Jeff gave Frank 26 minutes, which is more than Jack, so he’s going with what works best. We rarely saw good substitutions like this last year. We still don’t know if he can be a great coach, but he is definitely looking like the chain around his neck was removed when Phil was replaced.


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