New York Knicks at Indiana Pacers
Game 39: January 7, 2017
Pacers 123, Knicks 109
If the Knicks don’t give up 120+ did they even play?
On the second night of a back to back, the Knicks spent the night in Indiana to take on the Pacers. New York has yet to win on a back to back, and that trend continued as the Knicks were defeated by the Pacers, 123-109. The Knicks were getting outplayed from the start in this one, and once again fell behind by double-digits early in the first half. Unlike last time in Milwaukee, the Knicks couldn’t muster up enough to complete the comeback. New York tried to make a game of it in the fourth quarter, but the deficit was just too steep. Brandon Jennings, after a rough game against the Bucks, led the way with Carmelo Anthony for 17 points apiece. Kristaps Porzingis finished with 16 points and 4 rebounds. The Knicks fourth quarter lineup of Jennings, Ron Baker, Mindaugus Kuzminskas, KP, and Willy Hernangomez was incredibly effective, with the other four starters watching from the bench. For the Pacers, Paul George and Jeff Teague each contributed with 19 points. Thad Young contributed 16 points for the Pacers.
Takeaways from this game:
Should I even write about the defense anymore?
123 points to the Indiana Pacers. I feel like that sentence alone can pretty much sum this section of the recap up. Whether it was on the interior or the perimeter, the Knicks just looked disinterested on that side of the ball. Not only that, but they just didn’t seem to show the right energy on missed shots. Maybe Joakim Noah would tip a miss here and there, but it just wasn’t anything substantial. I get that it was on the second night of a back to back, and the Knicks probably flew to Indiana late last night, but every NBA team has to do that throughout the season, and that isn’t an excuse.
Carmelo Anthony: Assist King
The past three games, Carmelo Anthony has gone back to more of the player we saw last year on the offensive side. Even though New York has only gone 1-2 over those games, Carmelo has put up 23 assists, including 10 in the game in Milwaukee. This is the type of play we need to see more of from Carmelo, because it’s that type of player that can benefit the offense Jeff Hornacek wants to run. The ball-stopping that Carmelo is famous for is the opposite of what this team needs, and this Melo makes the Knicks better. When he is a willing passer, he has shown that he is a great passer, and with ball dominant guards like Jennings and Derrick Rose, the ball movement becomes very limited, and the offense stagnates. When the ball moves, the Knicks win. Plain and simple.
The Knicks return home after this one and take on Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans at MSG. The Knicks dropped the first game of the season series a few weeks ago with a lackluster effort that disgusted basically anybody who took the time to watch, including the writer of these recaps. New York has a lot of winnable games coming up this week, with the Pelicans and 76ers on the slate. Monday is a must win for this team to prove that the past few weeks have only been a funk, and it isn’t what the team really is.
Side note, we need more Ron Baker. It makes for fun basketball.