Postgame Report: Knicks at Wizards
Carmelo is back. 37 points on 11/18 shooting. 4/5 from 3. Clutch contested jumpers and free throws. Yeah I think he found his groove again. The Knicks as a whole looked a lot better tonight than they did against the Hawks and were able to challenge a very good Wizards team late into the game. Although the Wizards were coming off the second game in as many nights, they are a team that was going to bring a lot of challenges in the back court for the Knicks, and it wasn’t terrible. Jose and Sasha actually played decent games (10 pts and 3 assists for Calderon; 4 pts, 4 assists and 6 rebounds for Vujacic). Calderon finished at a -7 but Vujacic leaves the game with his first positive rating of the season at +6. Derek Fisher did a nice job mixing up lineups and finding the right fit for when Jose comes out of the starting lineup and the pairing of Grant/Vujacic and Calderon/Galloway played the best tonight. Would the switch be a long term solution? I hope not. The dynamic duo of Jerian Grant and Langston Galloway has been too good to break up for extended periods of time. Coming into the game they had a combined +/- of +22 and scored nearly 100 points in their last 50 minutes of play time together. Not only has Langston Galloway been lights out from deep (8/12 total in three games this season) but Jerian Grant has been setting our pace at one of the highest in the league (5th in the league at 107.8). This is a young, defensive minded and extremely talented back court we have at MSG and fans should be ecstatic.
Tonights game was refreshing and coming out of three challenging games on the good side of .500 is very telling of how this basketball team can play this season. When the Knicks are hitting baskets, they are very competitive with some of the best teams in the east. Tonight, Derrick Williams was almost a non factor, playing in only 15 minutes and scoring 7 points. O’Quinn finished the night with 10 points and 2 boards in only 15 minutes of play. Two guys that carried the Knicks in the past couple of games were not needed because of Carmelo’s resurgence. Who knows if they were sore or just not able to catch fire tonight, but Carmelo caught on and took control and lead the team to a quality win against a quality team. If the Knicks are able to rely on Anthony 60% of the games to be the force he has been in the past and get help the other 40% like the bench played in Milwaukee, it should be a fine season for the Orange and Blue.
Another decent showing from Porzingis. He had a nice spin move in the paint that led to a pretty jumper and was active defensively. He’s consistently filling his role as rookie staring power forward that is still learning the ropes. He logged 21 minutes, scored 8 points and grabbed 6 boards. He looks comfortable in his role and understands that he needs to develop into being the player the world hopes he can become. Knick fans, if you’re not already excited about this kid, hop on the train cause it’s only going to go faster.
One negative takeaway from tonight is Derek Fishers desire to play Lance Thomas late in games. Not exactly what sort of presence he brings at the end of a game that we can’t find in Porzingis or Derrick Williams or Kyle O’Quinn. At the end of the game the lineup was Langston Galloway, Sasha Vujacic, Lance Thomas, Carmelo Anthony, Robin Lopez. Thomas has been playing well, but seems like an odd fit into that lineup. Even having Vujacic in, and not Grant, seems a little odd. A Grant, Galloway, Anthony, O’Quinn, Lopez lineup is a defensive force full of players that are talented passers. If this lineup was to run the Triangle, there would be some beautiful possessions on the offensive end, followed by some very locked in defensive possessions that could really help make an impact late in games. Think about it Derek.
Also, if you’re actually reading this, go watch the Mets.