Postgame Report: Knicks Opening Night!
I cried tears of joy tonight knowing that NBA Basketball has returned. Tuesday night was a nice little sip from the glass, but tonight was like shotgunning a beer; the most delicious brand of Knicks Basketball beer ever. I’m probably just hopped up on my basketball adrenaline, but I think tonight was a great night for us in terms of the quality of basketball the Knicks played and the amount we can learn from our own actions on the court.
The Knicks head back to Manhattan with a 1-0 record after rolling over a shorthanded Bucks team. The final score of the night was 122-97 and most of the fourth quarter was making sure that Carmelo Anthony got his minutes mark at 29. The greatest part about the whole night is that Melo did not play a very good game. He finished with 11 points on 4/16 shooting (1/5 from 3pt land) with 6 rebounds and 5 assists. This is definitely nothing to panic about because Milwaukee used their length to D up Carmelo hard. There were constant double teams and a lot lane clogging when Anthony had the ball in his hands, forcing him to throw up contested jumpers, those shots he used to love.
But there were a number of opportunities where he drew the defense to him seemingly with the intention to pass the ball to his teammates for an open look or open lane to the hoop. If he can find his stroke on any given night and play as effective team ball, the Knicks are going to be threat in the East.
Rookie Kristaps Porzingis put on a really nice show for his opening night, getting his NBA career underway. In 24 minutes, KP scored 16 points on a shaky 3/11 shooting but was able to body up down low for 5 rebounds a block, steal and a single assist. There is definitely a lot of room for him to grow, although we saw some flashes of what he can become. He had a nice baseline drive where he didn’t shy away from any contact and put it off the glass for a 3 point play. His defensive presence was apparent, but he lapsed a couple times while under the hoop. He has some things to work and things he will easily be able to point out when watching film, but a solid opening night for the rook. Hopefully his nerves won’t get the best of him in New York tomorrow night.
Far and away the best thing about opening night was the play from our 2nd unit. The cohesion we saw in preseason was in midseason form tonight as the ball was flowing, 3’s were dropping and it looked like an entirely different team from our starters. Backcourt phenom tandem of Grant and Galloway (4/5 from deep) finished the night with a combined 26 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals. It was a great night for the young duo as they are developing some very nice chemistry.
Kyle O’Quinn had a really nice defensive presence and a great night on the glass pulling in 11 rebounds with 2 blocks. His shooting wasn’t a priority as he shot 3/5 for 8 points and air balled a 3 pointer he should have passed off to Derrick Williams, but we’ll let it slide.
Speaking of Mr. Williams, it seems like the structure of the Knicks offense is really helping this guy get his confidence back. That mysterious signing the Knicks made this summer is looking like what Phil envisioned. He is aggressive and agile and can hit an open shot, shooting 47% from the floor and scoring 24 points. He pulled in 7 boards and had a nice block as the Knicks were taking off in the second half. Derrick Williams is playing with so much confidence and energy, he looks to be getting off on the right foot this season.
This Knicks win was capped with a smiling Carmelo Anthony, despite a poor individual performance. His joy in the fact that the rest of the team was able to come away victorious shows just how different this team is. Take a look at the full box score here.