The Knicks snapped their nine-game losing streak on Thursday with a 30-point win over the Nets, and followed it up with a 38-point victory over the Magic at home the very next night.
Any belief that the Knicks problems were on the verge of being solved, however, was delusional at worst, and short-lived at best.
New York hosted the Celtics on Sunday for a noon tip-off at Madison Square Garden, but essentially didn’t bother to show up. Boston opened the game by getting out to leads of 12-0, 18-1, 25-5 and 34-10 on the way to a 41-point shellacking of the Knicks on their home floor.
There’s something about these Sunday afternoon games at home that simply doesn’t work for the Knicks; they lost in similarly humiliating fashion to the Spurs back on Nov. 10 by 31 points.
New York was without Kenyon Martin in this one due to a sore ankle, and started Tim Hardaway Jr. in his place. But that hardly was the reason for this disaster. When you start the game without a field goal for the first six-plus minutes and fall behind by as many as 25 points in the opening period, it’s due to an embarrassing lack of focus and effort more than anything else.
The Knicks fell to 5-14 on the season, while the Celtics improved to 10-12 — under .500, but leading the dreadful Atlantic Division which means the fourth seed in the dismal Eastern Conference.
Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.
Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.
Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.