All glimmer of a surprise run on a .500 season and the playoffs is just about gone now. Charlotte beat the Knicks handily at MSG on a Sunday night.
Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox
The talk of the game was that Frank Ntilikina went off offensively (7-11, 4-4 from 3, 18 points). The Knicks were getting shelacked by Charlotte at the Garden when midway thru the 3rd, Ntilikina made a behind the back move at top of the key and then hit a jumper. Next he hit a 3. Then another 3. Then a 2. He kept pouring it in until getting hit with a questionable offensive foul that had Fizdale erupting at the refs. A 6th foul and he was gone.
And Kevin Knox had his best game so far — the 2nd teenager in NBA history (the other being LeBron) to score 25 points and have 15 rebounds in a game (he had 26 points and 15 rebounds). The announcers started comparing him to Bernard King with his quick shot and love of running the floor.
But Charlotte scored at will on NY. Lot of people talking about Frank Ntilikina’s offense but those of us watching his defense were not plussed as old-timer Tony Parker dribbled past him at will for 16 points off the bench. Emmanuel Mudiay started and played the high scoring Kemba Walker.
This one seemed to be on the coach. Knicks don’t seem to have a clue as a team. You couldn’t blame Tim Hardaway because he had a good game (7-13, 3-5 from 3, 21 pts). Mitchell Robinson played well defensively (6 pts, 2 blocks) as usual. And Damyean Dotson with another good shooting game (6-8 for 12 points). Coach was asked about Noah Vonleh‘s poor performance in the postgame — and coach said indeed, when Vonleh doesn’t play well the whole team is affected.
Ron Baker got in the game in the 4th and played aggressive defense. Still there is a noticeable difference to the defensive havoc he creates vs Ntilikina’s finesse defense.