Knicks’ good start can be traced this surprising upgrade

Yes, the Knicks rallied and beat Utah by cramming 29 points into the fourth quarter Wednesday with 14 from Tim Hardaway Jr. And yes, it was the fifth time, fourth time in six games, this season the offense rallied from a double-digit deficit to win. And really, how did they do it?

“We play team defense. We communicate and we play hard,” Kristaps Porzingis said.

Oh, come on? Defense and the Knicks? Those two concepts have gone together in recent seasons like mashed potatoes and diesel fuel.

“We came out with more hunger and more intensity and we made some adjustments defensively, and that was it,” Porzingis said. “We just locked in.”

It’s still going to take some getting used to. Last season, the Knicks ranked 23rd in points allowed (108.0 per game). This season, they’re 12th. (104.6). Last season, they were 13th in field-goal defense (45.5 percent). This season, they’re fourth (43.5).

OK, they really stink defending the 3 — they rank 23rd in 3-point defense (37.9), a plunge from seventh last year (34.8). But overall, they’re better, usually when it matters — the Cleveland game aside. In that contest, the Cavaliers hit nine 3s in the fourth quarter, scoring an unacceptable 43 points in 12 minutes.

The Knicks were able to reverse that scenario against Utah.

“In the first half, they got a lot of easy looks,” coach Jeff Hornacek said. “Second half, we got more into their legs, put pressure on them, made them take some dribbles and then try to make that shot. Consequently, we were able to get some stops.”

Source: https://nypost.com/2017/11/17/knicks-good-start-can-be-traced-this-surprising-upgrade/

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