The Bobby Portis Revenge Game — Oct 28, 2019: NY 105 Chicago 98

Down 98-90 with 3:33 left in the game, the Knicks ran the table — scoring the last 15 points of the game — with RJ Barrett continuing to look like a 19-yr-old man against boys, Frank Ntilikina playing good Defense and providing orchestration and penetrations on the offensive end, and Bobby Portis continuing to light up the Madison Square Garden air with 3-pointers. The Garden was ROCKING like it was the 7th game of a playoff series. Take that Kevin Durant. You will never, ever see that in Brooklyn.

Portis (and the Knicks overall defense) had gotten the Knicks back into the game with his sharpshooting in the 2nd half — he tied the game at 88-88 with a 3 at the 6-min-left mark. Portis finished with 28 points on 10-14 shooting (4 for 4 from 3). Bobby Portis was originally drafted by the Bulls and played 4 years there (averaging 13 – 14 ppg his last few seasons) before being traded for Otto Porter Jr. on February 6, 2019.

Knicks Got Shooters

Early last season, coach David Fizdale said the Knick roster didn’t have as much 3-point firepower as he would like. In the off season, GM Scott Perry went out and got sharpshooters — adding Portis, the 6’11 center who shot 40% from 3 last year, Wayne Ellington, 2-way player Marcus Morris (who shot .387 from 3 last year), and 2nd-round pick “Iggy” Ignas Brazdeikis to add to Allonzo Trier and Kevin Knox. That fire power has been evident the first few games of the season — Wayne Ellington‘s 3 straight 3’s in the 4th against Brooklyn gave the Knicks the lead (for a while) on Friday night.

Ntilikina and Knicks’ Defense Shines

The Knicks started off horribly in this game — down 18-6 early, they were down by 18 points at the end of the first quarter. Fizdale’s seat was getting hotter and hotter. But they settled down and played better defense in the second quarter, pulling to within 10 at the half. That good defense continued through the 2nd half and, combined with Bobby Portis‘s sharpshooting, allowed the Knicks to get back in the game. Frank Ntilikina played well on both ends of the court — despite the boxscore showing he was 0-6 for 0 points. In the 4th quarter, he did a pretty good job helping to orchestrate the offense as an off guard (Barrett played role of main facilitator) and penetrated to the basket 4 times — one Ntilikina penetration resulted in what appeared to be a goal tend that wasn’t called — and another resulting in a nifty dish at the last second to Julius Randle for an easy score.

RJ Barrett continued to dominate. Down the stretch in the 4th he was everywhere — on defense and offense, grabbing big rebounds, and playing the point guard role. He even hit big free throws in the final minute. That has been the one weakness to his game so far, and Fizdale made an interesting decision — keeping Barrett in the game with the Knicks leading by 5 and 16 seconds left. Chicago immediately fouled Barrett sending him to the line. He hit BOTH, BIG free throws to ice the game.

And so a good night was had by all, except Allonzo Trier who did not play coach’s decision.

Etcetera

Mitchell Robinson played well — 10 points (4 for 9), 2 blocks, and 9 rebounds in 18 minutes. He didn’t play much down the stretch because Bobby Portis was carrying the Knicks with his offense.

Julius Randle did a nice job passing out of the post in the 4th quarter — instead of trying to take it himself on every play and turn the ball over against a wall of defenders, as he had been doing. Knicks Twitter pointed this out at once, as did Coach Fizdale after the game.

Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 21 points, but seemed undisciplined on some of his jumpers, as the Knicks got into his space on Defense. Lauri Markkanen had 18 points on 5-13.

The Boxscore

https://www.espn.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=401160684

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