NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. – The New York Knicks had one of their best team performances last night, in a 115-96 win over the Brooklyn Nets. Coach David Fizdale has voiced how important it is for this young team to develop. The Knicks took a big step in the right direction, and you have to be excited with the athleticism and energy that this young team brings on a nightly basis. It will be very important for this team to learn how to win games together, and to consistently play a full 48 minutes without let downs. Here are a few of the key takeaways from the Knicks’ second win of the season:
- Frank Ntilikina‘s biggest knock has been his lack of assertiveness on the offensive end of the floor. It’s been known how great of a perimeter defender he is, but many have longed for Ntilikina to break out his offensive repertoire. Monday night, Knick faithful got a chance to see what an aggressive Ntilikina could look like. Ntilikina did a great job of looking for his shot, and finished with 16 points on 5 of 13 shooting from the field. There has been few times where Frank has shots the ball 13 times, and that speaks to the development of his offensive confidence. When Ntilikina is looking to score, it makes creating quality opportunities for his teammates that much easier.
7 Double Digit Scorers!
- Coach Fizdale spoke about how they have been working on their ball movement in practice. We saw in some of the more recent losses, that the Knicks were reverting back to isolation ball. The Knicks do not currently have the talent to play 48 minutes of isolation basketball. Monday night, we saw the Knicks making the extra pass and driving to create quality shot opportunities on the back side of the defense. Tim Hardaway Jr. led all scorers with 25 points, but also led the team with eight assists. Coach Fizdale spoke about the development of Hardaway Jr. as a playmaker, and how important it is for him to get others involved. As a team, the Knicks finished with 21 assists and hopefully the unselfishness will grow into their team identity.
- There has been a lot of hype around rookie Kevin Knox, however more people need to pay attention to Mitchell Robinson. Robinson showed what he is capable of, and how his play can elevate this Knick team. New York was much more effective out of the pick and roll with Robinson out on the floor, and Robinson has proven to be a developing rim protector. Robinson finished with 11 points and three rebounds, and a couple thunderous slams that sent the Garden into a frenzy. It also helps when you have Enes Kanter coming off the bench, and giving you 15 points and 15 rebounds. Kanter is going to be crucial towards the development of Robinson to be a complete NBA big. We have yet to see Robinson and Kanter on the floor together, but it would be interesting to see what that could look like for New York.
Knicks Solid Defensively
- The knock on young teams is that they struggle to defend consistently. Monday night, New York did a great job of playing great defense. The Knicks limited Brooklyn to just 28% shooting from beyond the arc, and blanked the Nets on fast break points. This shows effort from the Knicks to not only run out to shooters, but to also get back on defense. Those have been two things that the Knicks have struggled to do in previous seasons. New York also did a good job of limiting second chance opportunities. Brooklyn only recorded 12 second chance points, and that was a direct result of being out rebounded 53-32 by the Knicks. Moving forward the Knicks need to translate that same effort defensively in every game they play.
The Knicks (2-5) will look to pick up back-to-back wins for the first time this season, when they square off against the Indiana Pacers (4-3) on Wednesday night.
Barry Holmes is a Senior Writer for PureSportsNY.com. Follow him on Twitter @BHO732
(Featured Photo Credit: Barry Holmes/PureSportsNY)