Photo Credit: Carlos Osorio, AP
Playoffs? Not so fast
Following the hard-fought victory against the Memphis Grizzlies Sunday night, Trey Burke felt great about the New York Knicks chances at a playoff run. “Obviously everyone’s counting us out,” Burke told The Post at the FedEx Forum. “Look on paper, people don’t think we can do it. I think we believe we have a chance — and it’s early for me to say this — but I believe we have a chance to get in the playoffs this year. That should be our goal. I think that is our goal. It starts now.”
At the time, Burke’s optimism was understandable. New York was riding a three-game winning streak, and fans who believed the Knicks should tank were feeling distraught. Unfortunately, whatever good vibes the Knicks were feeling came to a halt in Detroit. Against the Pistons, the Knicks couldn’t buy a basket. In the first half, the Knicks shot under 30% from the field, and for the game, the Knicks shot 39.6% (36-of-91).
Knicks suffer defeat to the Pistons
Despite the shooting woes, the Knicks only lost by seven, 115-108, to a defensively stout Detroit Pistons. Coming into the game, David Fizdale knew the last game against the Grizzlies would serve as a warm up to face the Pistons since both teams play a similar style of basketball. Sadly, the success against the Grizzlies didn’t translate against the Pistons.
Blake Griffin dominated the Knicks
Like the Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol, the Pistons have a dominant big man in Blake Griffin. Fizdale tried to place different players to guard the red-headed wonder, but it didn’t make a difference. Mitchell Robinson fouled out in 17 minutes trying to deal with Griffin’s smooth point-forward game. In addition to Robinson, Noah Vonleh fouled out in 19 minutes trying to deal with Griffin’s big man finesse. Throughout the game, Griffin took names as he continuously marauded towards the basket.
Griffin led the Pistons with 30 points, and 12 of those 30 points came from the free throw line. Overall, Griffin took 16 free throws. While Griffin carried the scoring load, he received valuable help from Reggie Jackson and Stanley Johnson. Both players finished with 21 points each.
Stopping Griffin and scoring buckets seemed to be a hard task for the Knicks players tonight, but there were positives to take from the game. The first positive being the play of Allonzo Trier. Often, the undrafted rookie has shown flashes of having the ability to take over games when necessary. Against the Pistons, Trier’s flashes of brilliance were shining brighter than a searchlight in the dark.
Allonzo Trier showed why he’s one of the top rookies this season
Trier’s game was so complete that he almost notched the first triple-double of his career, but as a consolation prize, Trier finished with the first double-double of his career, which isn’t bad. He scored 24 points, dished out 10 assists, and grabbed 7 rebounds. Sometimes when players accumulate stats in losing efforts, those stats are referred to as “empty stats,” but Trier’s performance was far from empty.
In the fourth quarter, Trier dropped 10 points and tried to ignite a Knicks comeback, but to no avail. Detroit built an 18-point lead in the fourth, and the deficit was too much to overcome for the Knicks. In addition to Trier’s stellar play, the other positive was the play of Damyean Dotson.
Damyean Dotson continues to prove that he deserves playing time
The last time Dotson made an appearance for the Knicks was November 18th against the Orlando Magic. In that game, the Knicks served as a punching bag for the Magic, and Fizdale felt the need to make a change. The lineup change resulted in Dotson receiving four straight DNPs, but with the Knicks struggling to put the ball in the basket, Fizdale called on Dotson to spark change. Not only did Dotson spark change, but he also reminded Fizdale why he should be playing.
Dotson helped provide a spark the Knicks needed. He played solid defense on the perimeter, as usual, and he nailed some timely baskets in the second half. Overall, Dotson finished with 17 points in 23 minutes of play. With the sudden emergence of Dotson, Mario Hezonja‘s minutes may be affected. Since replacing Dotson in the rotation, Hezonja hasn’t scored more than five points in any game. With Hezonja’s lack of production, Dotson may have reclaimed his spot in Fizdale’s plans.
No more playoffs talk
After suffering defeat to the Pistons, hopefully, the talk of playoffs will calm down a bit. Currently, the Knicks are 7-15. The only concern the Knicks should have at the moment is to improve after each game. After all, the NBA season is a marathon, not a sprint.