Game 1- The Good, The Bad and The Ntilikina
Let's call it what it is. Another Knicks team playing 3 1/2 quarters. Falling apart late in the game to give up a huge scoring run to seal a defeat.
But this one feels different. They got off to a slow start, missing some bunnies at the rim, Randle went 0-4 to start and there was some noticeable rust to be shaken off.
Once team found their stride (after being down 16) there was plenty of positives to take away. Randle looked like someone who is going to lead this team in the locker room and on the court and my Hot Take after 1 game is that he WILL be in the talks for the All Star team.
Kevin Knox looks bigger and way more confident in his game hitting back to back 3's. His defense needs to get better. DeMar DeRozen had 0 made field goals until being matched up with Knox late in the game and he exposed plenty, going baseline on both sides of the court for two easy scores.
Hot Take #2:
RJ Barrett will win Rookie of the Year, MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Executive of the Year and World's Best Boss.
He looked great! Plenty of positives to take away from his first game with a full stat line (21p/5r/5a/2s), good defense and some big shots when the Knicks needed to stop the bleeding when the Spurs went on a few runs early in the game.
16 team steals (most of which came in the 3rd quarter) shows some actual defensive promise. The trapping and pressure looked good and the Spurs were clearly surprised by the on ball aggressiveness. I'll take it!
Fouls- Elfrid Payton had 5 fouls in 19 minutes which could be a real problem for the Knicks when he and Mitchell Robinson are on the floor together at the same time. Frank played terribly, 3 minutes 2 turnovers that led to easy transition buckets AND fouls late in the game.
Perimeter defense- still seems to be a problem for this team, needing to close out and put bodies on shooters. LaMarcus Aldridge even hit a 3 (the game was out of reach in the 4th at this point, but still)!
Bad shot selection late in the game- That's youth, the game starts slipping away and bad 3 point shots and rushed layups in the paint led to quick buckets for the Spurs that fueled the late run to put the Knicks away.
We have a lot to look forward to this season and beyond. Game 2 in Brooklyn tomorrow night, I'll let Kyrie score 100 if it means they still lose!