Knicks Look For 2 in a Row Heading Into Matchup Against Cavs
1. On Friday night, Kristaps Porzingis delivered another prolific performance, Frank Ntilikina made a strong MSG debut, and the Knicks defense set the tone in an entertaining victory. The first win of the season was a result of New York limiting the league’s top offense (PPG) to just 86 points on 40 percent shooting from the floor. Additionally, the Knicks dominated the glass by outrebounding Brooklyn 55-34 and owning a 31-6 advantage in second-chance points. The 107-86 win marked the largest margin of victory for New York since March 9, 2016.
2. Porzingis bounced back from an off night in Boston on Tuesday. The third-year big man tallied 30 points by hitting 54.2 percent from the field in 29 minutes. He also snatched nine boards and swatted three shots. Porzingis is red-hot start to the 2017-18 season as he is averaging 26.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks this year. In fact, Porzingis is the first Knicks with at least 100-plus points and 30-plus rebounds through the first 4 games of the season since Patrick Ewing.
3. Ntilikina entered Friday’s contest at the 2:16 mark of the first quarter with the Knicks trailing by seven points. The rookie departed in the second frame with 5:50 to go in the half while New York only trailed by one point. The Knicks eventually took the lead on the next possession and never looked back in the 21-point victory. In that crucial period of time in the first half, Ntilikina provided a jolt for the home team on both sides of the floor. Defensively, Ntilikina displayed a knack for disrupting pick-and-roll action along with aggressive on-ball pressure that helped New York hold the Nets to only 14 points in the second quarter. The 19-year old finished with nine points, dished out five assists, two rebounds, and a steal in his memorable first regular season game at the Mecca.
4. Head coach Jeff Hornacek adjusted the starting lineup for the first time on Friday night. Hornacek placed veteran Jarrett Jack at the point guard spot and rotated the minutes with Ntilikina in the backcourt. Jack posted eight points, seven rebounds, and five dimes in 25 minutes.
5. The defending Eastern Conference champs shook up its roster heading into the 2017-18 season. In a blockbuster deal, the Cavaliers sent All-Star Kyrie Irving to Boston in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and Brooklyn’s 2018 first round pick. Cleveland also acquired Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Jose Calderon, and Jeff Green during the offseason. Thomas (hip) will not be available until later in the season and Rose is dealing with an ankle injury that kept him out of the contest against the Pelicans. To counter the lack of depth in the backcourt, head coach Tyronn Lue started LeBron James at point guard in Brooklyn and Iman Shumpert at the signal caller position last night. The Cavs have lost two of the three heading into the matchup against the Knicks while allowing 109.5 points per game during their 3-3 start to the season.