Despite a Mario Hezonja triple-double, the New York Knicks lost to the Houston Rockets.
Another day, another loss for the New York Knicks, we only got four more of these before a big summer. In a unique way, Mario Hezonja got to start at point guard with Emmanuel Mudiay, Allonze Trier, Dennis Smith Jr, Frank Ntilikina and Kadeem Allen all ruled out. Yeah, you can say the Knicks were thin at point guard. They only had 10 active bodies and it showed in the way they played. The Knicks lost this game 120-96 and it wasn’t close from the start, trailing by 16 at the end of the first quarter.
This was the Mario Hezonja show, dropping a triple-double in his debut at the point for the Knicks. For a second straight game, Hezonja has made Coach David Fizdale look like a genius after re-inserting him into the starting lineup. Last game he dropped 29 points, tonight he had 16 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists. This is his first career triple-double and dropped a career high in rebounds and assists after setting his career high in points last game. He looked very comfortable running the show, calling plays and getting others involved. This wrinkle in his game, could really help establish interest this summer, when he becomes a free agent. He has always been a streaky scorer but if he can provide an all-around game like this, teams would want him in a sixth man role off the bench, a combo-guard that could play both back-court positions. Overall another good performance that he can use as a confidence booster.
Other Knicks that played well were Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson. Knox has looked like he has regained some of his confidence, scoring 13 points grabbing 5 rebounds. For stretches he looked like he hit a rookie wall but the last 3 games he has scored at least 13 points and more importantly he is getting to the line, taking 7 free throws tonight, like on drives like this:
Robinson keeps shining, maybe the best young piece the Knicks have. He has now blocked at least 2 shots in 27-consecutive games. He reminds me of a young Andre Drummond. As usual, he was active on both ends, grabbing rebounds, blocking shots and dunking on defenders. Robinson finished with 12 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks and had an emphatic one on Harden’s layup attempt.
Otherwise, this game was over pretty quickly, the Knicks basically had a G-League team out there, the Rockets looked liked a well-oiled machine heading to the playoffs, while the Knicks looked ready for the off-season and looking towards the lottery. Most of the guys on the active roster for this game will not be on this team next year but it gives them chance to show something to other teams.
- Poor game for Damyean Dotson, shooting 3-14 from the field for 7 points. He could not buy a basket, a lack of play-maker, made many of the shots heavily-contested.
- A nice game from the glue guy of the Knicks, Lance Thomas, finishing with 10 points and being very aggressive, taking 10 shots.
- Billy Garrett Jr, played all the back-up point guard minutes and did very little to establish himself, 8 points and 2 assists. The Knicks have a team-option on Garrett, they must decide by the end of the year, expect to give him a good-hard look with all the injuries they have at point guard.
- For a second-consecutive game Luke Kornet came off the bench, did nothing special, putting up some numbers in garbage time, 6 points and 5 rebounds.
- John Jenkins had another solid all-around game, providing some scoring and playmaking finishing with 8 points and 5 assists, finishing second on the team in assists.
- Henry Ellenson scored his most points with the Knicks with 16 points and grabbing 7 rebounds. Almost all was during garbage time.