New York proved last night that they want that top pick more than Cleveland.
Section 109, Row 3, Seat 3. I’ll never forget it. My first basketball game back at MSG since my brother and I witnessed at floor-level Kristaps Porzingis’s detrimental knee injury that ended his Knicks career. It was the first sporting event that my girlfriend and I went to together and her first ever Knicks game! All I can say after is: Meet the Knicks! That was the most typical New York stunner you could possibly think up. Here’s how it went down:
After a high-scoring start to the first quarter, the game was extremely close until the Knicks started to pull away and wound up with a 12-point lead at the end of the third. You know what that means: queue the collapse! In the fourth quarter, that 12-point lead dwindled down to 9, then to 4, then to 1. And then, the wheels completely fell off. Undrafted rookie and promising prospect Allonzo Trier committed a clear path foul on Collin Sexton, who proceeded to sink both of his free throws. On the ensuing Cavs possession, Cedi Osman (who??) drained a corner 3 in what was the dagger for Cleveland. The Knicks couldn’t figure out how to score after that and ultimately got outscored 40-21 in the final quarter. In the end, New York fell to Cleveland 125-118.
You may have noticed that I failed to use the word “lost,” and that is because I can’t quite say the Knicks really did lose. In terms of their record, this game will end up as their 49th (wow) loss of the season. However, in taking the hit to their record, they effectively increased their draft pick odds by bumping up the Cavaliers with an extra win. If New York had held on to win, both they and Cleveland would be tied for second-to-last in the NBA with shared records of 14-48. Instead, the Knicks separated themselves for sole possession of the second-best draft spot, only behind the Phoenix Suns who are an NBA-worst 12-50.
Separate of the end result, there were some positive takeaways from this game. Mitchell Robinson is continuing to develop into a legitimate piece of New York’s future. In 28 minutes, Robinson blocked 2 shots, grabbed 7 boards and posted 12 points on a perfect 5/5 shooting from the field. His play is more than just his stat line, though, as he continues to make highlight reel dunks and alley oops that electrifies both the team and the crowd. Allonzo Trier was another bright spot for New York, shooting 53% for 22 points off the bench.
Unfortunately, Knicks first-rounder Kevin Knox continued to struggle. The former Kentucky Wildcat shot a miserable 3/12 from the field and 0/4 from 3. Despite getting cracks at the starting SF position, Knox is still having a tough time finding his footing in the NBA. Granted, playing in New York is notoriously difficult, so hopefully the 19-year-old will be able to figure things out to close out his rookie season.
Regardless of the outcome and if you see it as a Knicks win or loss, it was a great time with my girlfriend. We hadn’t been to the Garden since she took us to see Sebastian Maniscalco (thank you again, bug!), so returning for her first ever professional basketball game was so much fun. Hopefully our continued visits to MSG will bring good fortune to New York, and if we’re lucky, maybe even a Durantula.
Purveyor of truth. Breaker of chains. Foolish fan of the Mets, Jets, and Knicks.