Week five of the New York Knicks season did not go as planned. After handing a sizable loss to the Sacramento Kings, the Knicks hoped to keep the solid play going against the Cleveland Cavaliers. A lot of hype was created before the Knicks played the Cavs after LeBron James told reporters the Knicks should have drafted Dennis Smith Jr. An altercation ensued in the first half of the Knicks-Cavs game, when Frank Ntilikina shoved James out of the way. Enes Kanter immediately came to Ntilikina’s defense getting in James’ face. James got the last laugh however staging a 4th quarter comeback and defeating the Knicks in heartbreak fashion.
New York Knicks Weekly Recap: Coup Against the King
The Record: 8-7 – 8th in the Eastern Conference
The MVP: Enes Kanter
Kanter gets the MVP this week for two reasons. His continued strong play and attitude on the court. Kanter shot 63 percent from the field this week in three games. He came up big in Monday’s loss to the Cavs, grabbing 16 rebounds. After his fight with LeBron James, Kanter has immediately became a fan favorite. Showing the Knicks aren’t just a team, but a family. Kanter has fully embraced New York and its fan base, lighting a fire under a franchise that hasn’t had a fire burning for quite a while.
Kristaps Porzingis is Human
This week we saw that Kristaps Porzingis is human, he can cool down just as quickly as he can get hot. Porzingis averaged 18 points and shot a mediocre 33 percent from the field in the last three games. The 18 points aren’t awful, but they’re a major step backwards from what we’ve seen Porzingis score these past couple of weeks. This is the first week of the season he did not score 30 plus points in any one game. The Knicks were almost able to carry him to two victories, however Porzingis failed to hit some big free throws towards the end of the game against the Cavs. Porzingis isn’t the type of player to let these struggles continue, but he really is the engine that makes this team go and it was prevalent this week.
The Tim Hardaway Jr. Show
Tim Hardaway Jr. showed this week that when Porzingis struggles, he is very capable of taking over as the number one scorer for this team. Hardaway averaged 22 points this week and shot 48 percent from the field. He also showed his all around game on the floor, averaging seven rebounds, and five assists in 3 games this week. Hardaway dazzled Madison Square Garden with some big three balls, none bigger than a dagger three to put the Knicks ahead in a comeback win against the Utah Jazz.
Frank Ntilikina Making a Stand
Frank Ntilikina showed that the New York Knicks did not choose wrong when selecting rookie him 8th overall in the NBA draft. Ntilikina’s shining moment this season came when he shoved LeBron James who was in his way to inbound a ball. Many comparisons were made this week between Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr. who the Knicks passed on in the draft. Ntilikina did not shy away from the match up with the Cavs grabbing six steals, which drove the Knicks early success in that game. Ntilikina shoving one of the greatest players in the NBA showed his moxie and fearlessness in a game where most rookies may have been scared or folded under the pressure to perform.
This was the first time since week one, that the Knicks really struggled to score. As a team, the Knicks shot 41 percent from the field and 38 percent from three point range. This seems to be just an off week, as many players struggled with their shot. The Knicks will have to turn things around very quickly. Next week they play the Houston Rockets and will get a second shot at the Toronto Raptors, two teams that will be very difficult to beat based on their past match ups. They also play the Los Angeles Clippers and Atlanta Hawks, two teams towards the bottom of their conferences. The Knicks should be aiming for at least two wins this week and possibly more it everything clicks right.
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