This was actually fun for a little while. The Knicks were moving the ball, playing D and were in the game. But alas, this is the Knicks. A couple tough no calls, a couple technical, and a couple OKC buckets and that was that.
The biggest (literally) bright spot for the Knicks tonight was Kristaps. He showed an impressive offensive-set and reminded Knicks fans why Kevin Durant dubbed him the Unicorn. He started the game with a block of former mentor Carmelo Anthony. For the rest of the first half he attacked the boards (7 first half rebounds) and showed patience, footwork, and touch around the rim with an array of pumps, fades, and floaters.
After a quiet third quarter Kristaps went into attack mode and apparently wanted to try to dunk on everybody. While only one of KPs dunk attempts went down several others got him to the free throw line. When the Thunder gave him a little room he stepped behind the arc and nailed a 3. KP even showed some passing chops, setting up Doug McDermott for an easy dunk with a back-door feed.
It’s an early loss in a season that will likely be full of them, but Kristaps 31 and 12 gave the Knicks a reason to be excited.
Knicks Point Guard Position
Ramon Sessions scored the first bucket of the season and didn’t do much after that. Ron Baker had a few steals but struggled to taking care of the ball, staying in front of players on defense, and shooting the ball (3-8 from the free throw line). Frank didn’t get much time and airballed his first two attempts. It was known the Knicks would struggle at the point guard position this year, but this was painful.
This is supposed to be the season the Knicks develop young players, but Hornacek did not look particularly interested in developing the young core. Frank played 5 mins in the first and 2 in garbage time and Willy played 3 minutes total. It doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense but one possible explanation is that the Knicks want to show off veteran players and build their value. This would be a step in the right direction from the Phil Jackson method of driving down trade value before making a move.
The Knicks open the Garden against the Pistons Saturday night at 8. Kristaps will have to match up against either bruiser Andre Drummond or Melo-light in Tobias Harris. In either case the Knicks will hope to get more of what they got tonight.