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Allonzo Trier led the charge against the Mavericks
Last night, the New York Knicks pulled out an impressive 118-106 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on the road. On most nights, Tim Hardaway Jr. would lead the scoring charge for the Knicks. Instead, Trier emerged as the go-to bucket getter.
Throughout the game, Trier had the Mavericks defenders on skates. With the number of moves in his bag, it’s clear Trier must be a frequent visitor of “moves dot com,” which was made famous by Instagram personality FamousLos. In isolation situations, Trier was unstoppable. The combination of moves he would put together to fly by defenders is a thing of beauty. Trier had a highly efficient game, scoring 23 points on 8-of-10 shooting on the court. Here’s an example of Trier’s exploits on the hardwood.
Mitchell Robinson played a vital role in the Knicks win
Trier has been impressive all season for New York, but he isn’t the only Knicks rookie to make an impact. Robinson has also been a surprising revelation for the Knicks brass. Many thought Robinson would be spending ample time playing in the G-League coming into the season. So far, Robinson has proven that he belongs in the NBA with his improved play.
Against the Mavericks, Robinson’s athleticism and basketball IQ were on full display. On defense, Robinson continues to make the right rotations and defend the three-point line when necessary. Opposing players often find it difficult to shoot over Robinson’s 7’4″ wingspan, which results in players shooting high-arching rainbows. Unfortunately, those shots don’t lead to a pot of gold the majority of the time. In addition to Robinson’s defensive abilities, he’s also showing signs of improvement offensively.
Like most rookies, Robinson struggles to set screens effectively, but his understanding of the pick-and-roll is growing. An example of Robinson’s offensive growth came on a play involving Lance Thomas. Once Thomas drew in DeAndre Jordan off of Robinson’s screen, Robinson rolled to the basket. The result was Robinson catching the ball midair for a reverse alley-oop slam. His finish was so nasty that even Mavericks fans were saying “he’s a bad man” in their best Stephen A. Smith impression. Against Dallas, Robinson earned his first double-double of the season. He finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
New York’s second-year players continue to make an impact
While the rookies have been showing out lately, the second-year players have shown their worth as well. Both Damyean Dotson and Frank Ntilikina didn’t have a great game against the Mavericks, but both players played a vital role in the Knicks victory. Since being inserted into the rotation against the Boston Celtics, Dotson has shown tremendous growth. It’s hard to imagine the Knicks organization were contemplating giving up on Dotson last season.
Dotson continues to grow
Currently, Dotson is averaging 12.9 points per game (ppg), which is over 8 ppg more than what he averaged his rookie year. Also, Dotson is shooting 44.4% and shooting 37.5% from three-point range. Unlike Hardaway Jr., who has a penchant of taking ill-advised shots, Dotson plays within the offense and often takes good shots. In addition to his solid offensive production, Dotson also averages 6.1 rebounds per game as a shooting guard/small forward. Dotson contributed with 11 points and 8 rebounds.
Ntilikina continues to develop at point-guard
Trier, Robinson, and Dotson have shown growth in their play, but Ntilikina has transformed into a new player. He struggled offensively against Dallas, but overall, Ntilikina has become a more aggressive player overnight. Comparing his play last season to this season is like night and day.
During his rookie season, Ntilikina would play everything safe. He’d always play the safe pass to the point where opposing players would sit on the passing lanes for easy steals. Now, Ntilikina keeps his dribble with the intention to create shots for others instead of giving the ball up early. Also, Ntilikina drives to the basket with the purpose of finishing at the rim more often. Last season, if Ntilikina finished at the basket, fans felt the need to give him a standing ovation.
Overall, Ntilikina is looking more like a point guard each game. He wasn’t impressive scoring the rock, but he did a good job creating easy scoring opportunities for teammates. He dished out 7 assists to go with his 7 points on 2-of-8 shooting.
The Knicks youth continue to shine. Hopefully, they’ll be able to ride their momentum to Washington D.C. to face the struggling Wizards on Sunday.