The New York Knicks got absolutely blown out at home 118-95 by their archrival, the Boston Celtics. Amazingly, the Knicks opened up this game leading 13-2, were up by 5 at the half, and were only down by 6 heading into the 4th quarter. The Knicks were outscored 36-19 in the 4th Quarter which included embarrassing effort from the Knicks and a couple Tacko Fall dunks (after the crowd begged for Celtics Coach Brad Stevens to put him in). Leading up to this game Coach Fizdale, Marcus Morris, and the rest of the Knicks team have made it their priority to protect the Knicks home court and give 110% for their fans. That attitude and resilience didn’t last more than 3 quarters. How could they possible talk as much as they have about protecting their home floor and then not find the energy to compete in their first game in the mecca this season? This Knicks team is going to need to work hard to regain the trust and faith they have lost from Knicks fans already, only 3 games into the season. Kemba Walker led the way for Boston scoring 32 points on 11-17 shooting. Jaylen Brown added 19 and Jayson Tatum contributed 15 points in this route. For the Knicks, RJ Barrett once again prevailed with little help and had a tremendous night. Barrett scored 26 points, shooting 9-20 (4-6 from 3), while adding 7 rebounds. His one blemish in the box score was his 5 turnovers. Excluding Barrett, the only player there is to compliment from New York is Mitchell Robinson. Mitch offered 17 points on an efficient 7-7 from the field, along with 6 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. These two young Knicks have shown they are special players with incredibly high ceilings, giving Knicks fans a glimmer of hope in this dark start to the season. Julius Randle and Marcus Morris (the two best players on the Knicks.. not really) combined for 22 points (7-20) in 59 minutes of action. Kevin Knox and Allonzo Trier both lost their shooting touch that was on point in Brooklyn. Knox shot 2-7 (0-4 from 3) for 7 points in 26 minutes, while Trier went 0-4 from the floor and finished with a measly 2 points in 21 minutes. Knox and Trier had a combined +- of -53. Fizdale still decided to keep sharpshooting, 3 and D specialist, Wayne Ellington chained to the bench. This was after Ellington scored 9 points in 11 minutes the night before where he drilled three clutch 3s in the closing minutes of the game and played suffocating defense. Bobby Portis the offensive backup center for the Knicks offered no help for the struggling Knicks shooting a brutal 3-10 from the floor.
Why The Knicks Lost
The Knicks lost this game due to their lack of effort in the 4th Quarter, poor rotations from Coach Fizdale, and having an inexplicably terrible game on offense. You simply cannot give up 36 points in the 4th Quarter at home, that is flat out unacceptable. Coach Fizdale did not help the Knicks though, as he didn’t put in his best defenders to stop the bleeding at any point in this game with Ellington getting a DNP and Frank seeing a single possession on defense to end the 1st half. Not to mention Damyean Dotson another 3 and D option for the Knicks didn’t get a chance until garbage time, where he took one 3 pointer and drilled it. Also, Dennis Smith Jr. has looked completely out of it and he clearly needs some time in practice to work on his confidence and get out of this funk. It was clear as day that Fizdale should’ve held him out of this contest as playing him would only make matters worse. Smith Jr.’s night ended with him getting booed by his own fans while they also chanted “we want Frank” while he was still on the court. I would imagine that didn’t help the 21 year olds confidence. Finally, the Knicks shot 38.8% from the floor, 25.9% from 3, only had 15 assists, and had a ridiculous 26 turnovers. Their offense has been brutal to watch with little passing and flow. It has been compromised mostly of isolations, post-ups, and dribble handoffs from the bigs. Opposing teams are locking up our big men inside and daring them to shoot from the perimeter. So far this season, Julius Randle has shot 1-8 from 3 point and Bobby Portis Jr. has shot 0-7 from downtown. Apparently the Knicks liked how these 2 bigs could space the floor and hit shots and both vowed that they improved on their jump shooting this offseason. If they can’t start hitting jumpers and spacing the floor, the Knicks will need to start considering smaller lineups with Morris and Knox playing power forward and Randle/Portis Jr. playing the center position. Something to consider, is the only way that happens is if either Randle or Robinson starts at center and the other comes off of the bench. Even if the Knicks don’t go small in their starting lineup, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Coach Fizdale trying out different “small-ball” lineups off of the bench in future games.
The Knicks have had major issues on offense while also being in the bottom 5 of the league in almost every defensive category excluding steals thus far. I would expect to see some new rotations and a lot of effort out of these Knicks in a very winnable game against the Chicago Bulls in the Garden tomorrow night, as they are desperate for a W. It would make sense for Frank to regain the role as the backup point guard unless Fizdale elects to bring Payton off of the bench and have Barrett start at the point. Randle and Morris should have taken their poor effort last night to heart and bring everything that they have to get the Knicks their first victory of the season. Whether the Knicks win or not, at least RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson will be suiting up and be a beacon of hope for this team moving forward.