Knicks Kids Unable to Break Championship Drought
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said Monday, "New York is motivated to get Donovan Mitchell. But they are not motivated to move everything they have to get him."
When a franchise hasn't won a championship of any kind in the previous 49 years, two months and nine days, you can excuse the fanbase for getting overly excited about a relatively meaningless summer league game played in mid-July in Las Vegas.
So, yes, Knicks fans were amped up for Sunday's matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers. Unfortunately, they came away disappointed as the Blazers captured the Summer League chip by beating New York 85-77 in the title game.
New York's defense was up to the task on Sunday, holding Portland to just 85 points. However, their offense sputtered badly. The Knicks shot only 40% from the floor and knocked down just six of their 24 three-point attempts.
The Blazers' game plan was evident right from the opening tip; they were going to run double and even triple-teams at New York's best player, Quentin Grimes, and dare someone/anyone else to beat them. It was a smart strategy, as they limited the 'Bockers' top gun, and none of Grimes' teammates made Portland pay for their overly aggressive trapping strategy.
Grimes scored 19 points in the contest but took 16 field-goal attempts to get there. He finished the game shooting 5-of-16 from the floor, including a disappointing 2-of-11 from downtown. Grimes also added three rebounds, three assists and one steal in 33 minutes. His assist total could have (should have) been higher, but his teammates could not convert a few of the quality dimes he dropped.
Miles McBride was New York's second-leading scorer, tallying 17 points to go along with six rebounds, three assists (vs. two turnovers), two three-pointers and a steal, but he also was inefficient offensively. Deuce converted just four of his ten shots from the field, although he was able to knock down all seven of his free-throw attempts.
However, McBride played his worst defensive game of the summer in this contest. Portland's point guard, Brandon Williams, dominated Deuce. Williams finished with 22 points (on 5-o-f9 shooting), five assists (vs. only one turnover) and three rebounds. It was a surprising turn of events that dramatically impacted the game and the ultimate outcome.
Jericho Sims again played aggressively and with confidence. His final stat line (10 points, four boards, three assists, three steals and a block) doesn't jump off the page, but it's impossible to have watched Sims these past two weeks and not get excited about his future. We knew the athleticism and rim-running capability were there, but the big man showed an expanded offensive repertoire and looked the part of a reliable rotation-ready NBA center.
Feron Hunt wrapped up an up-and-down Summer League with an up-and-down final game. Hunt tallied 10 points (on 4-of-10 shooting), seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and three turnovers in Sunday's loss. As expected, he interspersed a few highlight plays with a few boneheaded turnovers. His body language on the court also leaves a lot to be desired. Defensively, Hunt could not control Trendon Watford, who finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists and three steals. Watford was named the MVP of the championship game.
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