It was another fourth-quarter breakdown for the Knicks, as they lost a tough battle to the Pacers, 107-101, at Madison Square Garden on Halloween night. >> Read More
Things to know about tonight's game...
1) Tim Hardaway Jr.'s All-Star campaign continues to move on schedule. His jumper has been on fire to start the season, and that was the case in The Garden tonight, going 7-for-10 from three on his way to a team-high 37 points. He also had two rebounds and one assist.
2) The Knicks held Victor Oladipo in check most of the night, but he had ice in his veins in the fourth quarter to kill the Knicks' hopes of coming away with a win. He hit big three-pointers, including a dagger in front of the Knicks' bench to make it a 106-101 game and put things out of reach. He finished with 20 points, six boards, and five steals on the defensive end.
3) Domantas Sabonis was a problem for the Knicks all night long. He was nearly perfect, going 12-for-13 from the field for a career-high 30 points. He had a double-double as well with 10 rebounds.
4) Other than Hardaway, Damyean Dotson had another greaet offensive game in yet another start. He finished with 13 points on 5-for-11 shooting, including two three-pointers. Rookie Allonzo Trier had 14 points as well, with a crucial layup coming with less than a minute left.
5) Enes Kanter struggled tonight with just seven points on 3-of-11 from the field with six rebounds and four personal fouls.
If the Knicks have been one thing this season, it's resilient. The fourth quarter of this game should have, on paper at least, been the story of all 48 minutes. But before the Indiana Pacers locked in defensively and made their shots in crunch time, the Knicks had control of this one.
The defense held strong against the stretchy and zippy Pacers. Their communication on Indy's back screens and flares made for smart switches, and New York was happy to deal with plain spread pick-and-rolls and isolations all night. Limiting the Pacers' opportunities in transition nearly won them the game. New York especially benefitted from the toils of their opponent's bench, led by Tyreke Evans' rough shooting. The lone exception was Domantas Sabonis, who got whatever he wanted on the offensive glass and on ball screens.
Tim Hardaway Jr. owned his matchup with All-Star Victor Oladipo, seemingly improving his shot selection with every game this season. Nearly every attempt was a catch-and-shoot three or take around the rim, though he was also keen on making the right passing play as much as possible. Hardaway held his own on the other end too, with few miscues and a nice drawn charge, a play he's adept at pulling out every few nights.
Some of the younger Knicks had a tougher time against a more seasoned opponent than Monday's Brooklyn Nets. Frank Ntilikina and Mitchell Robinson has their share of "wow" plays, a spin move clearing the lane for a lay-up and a few impressive blocks respectively. However, some overzealous defense led to silly fouls and blown gambles. Both have had better games, but nights like tonight will happen. If this is a "bad" game for them Knicks fans should be pumped for all the good ones to follow. In the plus section, Damyean Dotson has filled into the 3-and-D wing spot nicely to give others room to operate while contributing when necessary. He held his own guarding Oladipo and made a huge contested three late in the fourth.
Noah Vonleh is up there among New York's sneaky great acquisitions this summer, defending like crazy, working the boards, trying to dunk on all five Pacers and even hitting a three (!) tonight. Allonzo Trier provided a major spark in the second quarter to help the Knicks even the game up after falling behind by nine. During one sequence, Indiana's Cory Joseph tried to attack him baseline with a couple of half-spins, which Trier stayed in front of to force a missed lay-up. He knocked down a three on the ensuing possession, and another a few minutes after. His driving finish in the final minute put the Knicks within striking distance of the W. Although his help defense still needs work, seeing Trier active on that side of the ball is promising.
Having a second unit with weapons like Trier that can swing the momentum of a game with a few individual plays has been a pleasant development for New York. A performance like Trier's helps ease the impact of an off game elsewhere, such as Enes Kanter's outing. The usual steady presence brought by the former starting center did not show itself tonight, as he was exposed defensively and ineffective in other facets.
The Knicks weren't as willing to switch Kanter defensively, and his pick-and-roll coverage led to some easy looks for the Pacers. Sabonis completely dominated when matched up with Kanter, coming away with offensive boards and even edging him out in one-on-one situations on both sides of the ball.
Dot stealing 🍭... pic.twitter.com/pTkiy5rtpn- NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) November 1, 2018
+ ☝ = 6️⃣ pic.twitter.com/kl5CKPPR3U- NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) November 1, 2018
Arms of the Kraken 🦑 pic.twitter.com/78mN54GYYq- NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) November 1, 2018
The Knicks hit the road for a matchup with the Mavericks in Dallas on Friday at 8:30 p.m.