More Insults! — April 5, 2019: Houston 120 NY 96

This was a lackluster blowout game almost from the beginning. And then — in the 4th — it turned into a consequential game as Houston’s starters left the bench before the game was over to go work out in the weight room!

According to Houston Chronicle writer Jenny Dial Creech, “they didn’t leave and like go home… they went to get treatment and lift instead of sitting cold on the bench during a crucial time in the season.” Also, quietly, Houston coach Mike D’Antoni wasn’t even there as he was out ‘sick’ for the game.

Disrespect & a Twitter War Between NY & Houston Analysts

After Walt Frazier had pointed it out during the game, Knicks analysts Bill Pidto and Alan Hahn pointed it out after the game:

This caused a war between Knick analyst Alan Hahn and Houston analyst Adam Clanton.

It might (and should?) give the Knicks players ammunition for revenge the next time they play Houston. Or not — maybe the Knicks will continue to be an embarrassment and disrespected by everyone forevermore. Last week it was another star (Dwayne Wade) getting lauded and then killing the Knicks at the Garden in his final game there. The Knicks have spent 18 years being continually disrespected. The players change — many of these Knicks won’t even be here next year. So who’s to say any Knick will remember.

Remember

The question is — which of these Knick players will still be here next year to remember it?

Knicks Clinch Dead Last

The Knicks went in perched on clinching dead last — 2.5 ahead of Phoenix with 4 left. A loss and they’d clinch a tie. As it turned out, the Knicks lost and Phoenix won so Knicks clinched sole possession of dead last and guarantee themselves no worse than the 5th pick in the draft.

This means — there are 3 games left and the Knicks can try to win them all. The Tank is OVER.

The Game

Mitchell Robinson (5-6 shooting, 12 pts, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks) shone out early, blocking or altering several James Harden drives to the basket, or causing him to effect his play. On one possession, Robinson blocked Harden’s layup sending it out of bounds, then Houston inbounded, and Harden through a pass through the lane out of bounds. But soon Houston started to build a big lead.

Hezonja

Before the game it was announced Emmanuel Mudiay was injured and wouldn’t play. So that meant all the Knick point guards (Mudiay, Dennis Smith Jr, Frank Ntilikina, and Trier) were out. Mario Hezonja would be the starting point guard, going up against Harden and Chris Paul. We were in for an eventful evening.

Hezonja simply laid down another fantastic game — a triple double — 16 pts, 15 rebounds, and 16 assists. LIKE WHAT THE HEY??? WHY DIDN’T HE DO THIS ALL YEAR???

Knox

Kevin Knox had a so-so game, 5-14 for 13 points and he got stripped of the ball once when he wasn’t looking.

Dotson

Damyean Dotson with another horrible shooting game — boy is he streaky. In this game, 3-14 (1-8 from 3).

The Reserves

The Knicks were down by about 40 in the 3rd and 4th, then with a 4th quarter run against Houston’s reserves pulled to within 20+ points. Henry Ellenson played really well (16 pts) and you wondered why he didn’t play more this year. Billy Garrett Jr was on the court as was John Jenkins,

And then the Houston starters — Clint Capela, Harden, Paul, PJ Tucker, and Eric Gordon — left for the weight room.

Next Year

After the game, coach David Fizdale admitted that with the Knicks moving towards not being in the playoffs most of the year (aka the Tank), he was essentially allowing players to build their career for next year — and their next team. On Mudiay, he said “I think about these guys’ careers from the standpoint of, we’re not going to the playoffs, this kid has now established himself and put himself in position to have an offseason where multiple teams are going to want to talk to him.” That’s why Fizdale is a Player’s Coach. But next year — if the Knicks land Durant and someone else — Fizdale had better be above .500 by end of December. This is the last year he’ll be allowed by Knick fans to build players’ careers for their next team.

Also after the game, Fizdale explained that when he promised a Winning Culture, what people didn’t understand is that it meant LOSE LOSE LOSE Losing first.

The Boxscore

http://www.espn.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=401071857

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