New York Knicks vs Portland Trailblazers – 11/22/16 – Game Recap

New York Knicks vs Portland Trailblazers
Game 14: November 22, 2016
Knicks 107, Trailblazers 103

Written by Eric Weinstein – @ericcweinsteinn

Well that was pretty damn fun.

In a highly competitive game against Portland, the New York Knicks came out victorious, 107-103 in a thriller at the Garden. This was the most enjoyable game of the season in my opinion, with Kristaps Porzingis leading the way with 31 points, which is his second 30+ point game of the season. Derrick Rose looked like his old self with 18 points and a bunch of highlight plays.

Brandon Jennings had his third 10+ assist game off the bench, and we finally had the Mindaugus Kuzminskas breakout game! Kuz had a modest 10 points in 21 minutes, but hit a clutch 3 pointer late in the fourth quarter. Damian Lillard led Portland with 22 points, and CJ McCollum had 16 points on 17 shots.

Takeaways from this game:

The Knicks can actually be fun.

Yes, you read that correctly. This was the best game so far this year, without a doubt. Kristaps proved that he should be the focal point of the offense, again. The plays he makes are absolutely astounding, but we all know that. 31 points and 9 rebounds for the 7’3 Latvian that just looked so easy for him. KP was rolling, the ball was moving, and the defense picked up throughout the game. The team was clicking on all cylinders tonight on both ends of the floor. It took a little while for them to figure out how to defend the Blazers, but the Knicks held them to 45 points in the second half, which is a good number.

Home game Brandon Jennings is different than away game Brandon Jennings:

This dude loves the Garden. Every home game the Knicks play, you can just see the joy that Brandon Jennings plays with, and the passion comes out in his game. The only issue with that is that I have to be afraid that he might pick up a technical foul every time down the court, but if he’s going to dish out 11 assists every home game, I’m cool with that. With Derrick Rose in foul trouble, Jennings stepped in perfectly, with highlight reel passes to Justin Holiday and Kuzminskas, and his continued solid play. The Knicks haven’t had a solid point guard in years, so it’s really weird that they have two now.

Down the stretch brilliance:

Carmelo Anthony had an off night tonight, there’s no other way to say it. In the past few seasons, if Melo didn’t have it going in the fourth quarter, they would lose most of the time.

This year, they have a 7’3 unicorn and a former MVP going to battle with him, and both of those guys stepped up. Rose and KP were big time in the fourth quarter and took over the game. Rose was getting the paint at will, and KP was hitting shot after shot. This team has the chance to be special if they keep playing like this, even with Carmelo having a rough night.

The Knicks protected home court once again and increased their home win streak to five games. Two straight playoff teams have been defeated at the garden this week, and another solid team is coming to town on Friday. The Charlotte Hornets may not have as much firepower as the blazers do, but Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum can both fill it up, and Walker may finally make an all-star team this year with his excellent play this season. If the Knicks want to continue this home win streak, they’re going to need to move the ball and play defense like they did in the second half of tonight’s game. Let’s hope for another entertaining win, and let’s watch the orange and blue eclipse the .500 mark. 7-7.

Reevaluating the Knicks Season

OK, I know it’s only 6 games into the NBA season and every single team in the east other than the Pacers have 3 or 4 losses already but I have to wonder if it’s time to reevaluate what was an almost universal understanding that the Knicks would finish 4th or 5th in the conference.

On the plus side JR is coming back tonight, adding some much needed offense and Bargnani had his best game as a Knick with 25 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks.  Even NBA betting lines seem to feel the Knicks will be competitive even against teams like the Spurs.

The other side of this is Tyson Chandler is out for 4-6 weeks (at least) and as Harris Decker from The Knicks Blog points out, scoring against Zeller and Biyombo is slightly easier than scoring against the Duncans, Gasols and Hibberts of the league.

I’m leaning towards agreeing with our listeners, of whom everyone seems to feel the Knicks will go below .500 in the next 23 games but it should also be noted that as of yet no one in the east is stepping up to bump the Knicks down a spot or two and Pierce and Garnett look completely washed up so far.

I guess what I’m trying to say is I don’t know what to think anymore.  My gut says this season is a mess and we should all panic but my eyes are telling me the east is turning out to be as top heavy as always and if the Knicks can stay close to .500 with Chandler out they’ll still hold on to a top 5 seed.

What do you think?

My Thoughts on the NBA’s Hard Cap Issue

I just read a lockout article in support of the players.  I have to say the author, Howard Bryant must be Kobe’s brother because the arguments made here are completely irrational.

In summary, he’s saying that there is parity in the NBA.  The owners argue that there isn’t enough parity and that they want to base their model more like the NFL’s where there is.  The author says the NFL does not have parity.  He bases his argument on stats like this “In the NFL, the league of the vaunted hard salary cap and far less guaranteed money for its players, 20 of the 44 teams in the NFC of AFC title games came from top-10 TV markets”  OK, so 31% of the teams played in 45% of the title games.  I think that’s pretty even considering some teams get ravaged by injuries or bad management every year.

To say the NBA has parity is ridiculous.  3 teams from the west have made the finals since 1999.  12 years.  3 teams.  Sounds pretty lopsided to me.  In the east there have been a number of teams that made the finals, but every year there are about 4 good teams and 11 horrible ones.  Yes the Knicks have one of the highest salaries and haven’t done anything, but that doesn’t mean having no cap is a good system.  In poker if you start each hand with pocket aces you might not win every hand but you definitely start off with an advantage.  If you have good ownership, having the highest salary is a huge advantage.  (see Lakers and Yankees).  Those two teams don’t win every year but they’ve made the finals a hell of a lot more than any other team in their respective sports.

I’m all for a hard cap.  It’s boring if the same teams are in it every year.  Why not just contract the league to 8 teams if the others aren’t going to have a chance at being competitive?  And yes I’m aware that Oklahoma City is a very small market and are doing alright for themselves, but last I checked there is still only one Kevin Durant, so not every small market team is going to be able to draft him to become relevant.