Dennis Smith Jr Career-High Game: Feb 9, 2019: Detroit 120 NY 103

The losses are piling up like can of corn now. 15 straight. They are coming easy. It looked like the Knicks might take this one in Detroit, coming back from a horrid 1st quarter when they fell behind by 18 in the first 10 minutes of the game — to tie the game at 82 late in the 3rd quarter. But then you looked away to eat your Chinese food for dinner and find out what channel the New Orleans Pelican game would be on at 9:30 pm where Anthony Davis would be booed at home — and the Knicks were down 14. How did that happen?

This was the game where Dennis Smith Jr. broke out for a career high 31 points. His third game as a Knick; his second straight 25+ pt game vs Detroit. (In his first game he put up Frank Ntilikina numbers — 8 pts on 3-9, but then scored 25 against Detroit in his second game.) Smith was penetrating, and dishing, and doing 360-degree slam dunks on the break. He looked good.

Mitchell Robinson stole the show as usual, electrifying the tv screen with his dunks and blocked shots, and — a new thing now — his offensive rebounds. In the last few games he’s become an offensive rebound machine. Prior to that his rebounding had been so-so; often not pulling the ball down in traffic. Now he’s doing that. Big improvement, and a sign that he could be heading to stardom. Also he hit his free throws in this game — 5 for 7. Another big piece he’ll need to play the last 6 minutes of a game.

Allonzo Trier looks like he is going through a learning process where he is purposefully trying to pass first, and is not being as aggressive at attacking the rim as he had been earlier this season. Hope he gets through this process soon and starts to attack the rim and be that lethal-every-time-he-touches-the-ball player. He is still putting in a few highlight drives a night. If he and Dennis Smith Jr ever get it going on — it will be unbelieveable and will lead to a lot of wins. So maybe the Knicks keep a tarp on this and unveil it next year, as the goal now is to lose games.

“Boring” Alley Oop Slam Dunks

DeAndre Jordan played well — 14 pts (5-5, and 4-5 from free throw line), 11 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 29 minutes. Still Andre Drummond outplayed him (as he did last game — this was the second of a back-to-back) — Drummond had 29 pts (12-15) and 20 rebounds in 33 minutes.

DeAndre Jordan had several alley oop slam dunks — on passes from Dennis Smith Jr (and one from Mario Hezonja) — but his slams seem pedestrian to the way Mitchell Robinson SLAMS the ball. He is a bigger, heavier guy in his career now and doesn’t seem to get up as high or with as much energy as Robinson.

Blake Griffin (26 pts) was good. He and Dennis Smith Jr have been getting into a thing on the court — hard fouls against each other; in this one Griffin stood on a dime like a statue impeding Smith’s path who had just finished a terrific drive and was heading back up court — Smith realized what Griffin was doing so banged hard into him — Griffin flopped and they called Smith for a flagrant.

If You’re Reading this Article in the Future

And that was that. Another loss. 15 in a row. Still the worst record in the league. Jalen Rose said this week that he didn’t feel Zion Williamson would become a superstar in the NBA. Ja Morrant is also getting more and more talk on twitter as the player to get in this year’s draft. The trade deadline is just ended and Anthony Davis did not go to LA, so the Knicks are in play for him as he’s said he wants to play in either NY or LA. Kevin Durant seems almost a given to be a Knick next year. And Kyrie Irving wants to come here too. If you’re reading this article years from now, this is where the Knicks fans mindset is during this horrible losing streak.

Detroit in Playoff Hunt with Two Knicks Castoffs

Langston Galloway started for the 25-29 Pistons and was a +21, 5 pts. Other former Knicks castoff Jose Calderon was 4th man off Detroit’s bench but didn’t score. Coaching is 65% of the NBA and it is interesting to see Detroit be a team in the hunt for the playoffs with coach Nate McMillan, using two Knick castoffs as part of their main rotation.

Other Knicks

Damyean Dotson played well (4-8, 10 pts), Kevin Knox did not (7 pts on a tepid 2-8), Mario Hezonja had 8 pts on 3-11, and Lance Thomas was ok (good defense, 2-7 for 4 pts). Noah Vonleh started but only played 3 minutes; got pulled with Knicks down 12 and did not return (killing his ppg and rpg avg). Coach later said it was due to his Defense, and his game had fallen off recently probably due to the massive minutes he’s been seeing this year. Late in the game there was an Isaiah Hicks sighting. Hicks played good D in the few minutes he was out there. Luke Kornet. He played 4 minutes and hit a 3.

The boxscore:

http://www.espn.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=401071490

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