By Neil Beldock, 1/7/16 for basketballonsteroids.com
First off, what a crazy, crazy, wacky game last nights win over the Bucks was…..
We all know the NBA game is a game of “runs” where a handful of runs can determine the outcome….But I don’t think I can remember a game where the ENTIRE game was a game of runs…..a 9-0, followed by a 15-4, followed by an 11-2, followed by a 12-3, etc….etc….etc……..Fun and frustrating to watch….Great win, a game in which the Knicks played with a lot of heart……
Love to see 10 assists from Melo, and hitting the huge “3” to give the Knicks the lead after missing a couple. Porzingis was huge on both ends of the floor. Another solid game from Noah, which is a very good sign. And Thomas had the defensive play of the game…….BUT……….
I wrote after the loss to the Bucks the other night that I felt the Knicks biggest problem is the lack of a true point guard who can control pace, set-up the offense, and be a Floor General…..I mentioned that this point guard need not be a superstar, just smart and tough…….I also mentioned that with a true point guard running the team you don’t have 17 point 4th quarters as the Knicks did in their 1-point loss to the Bucks Wednesday night……..
Enter Ron Baker…….
In the 4th quarter last night, a quarter in which Baker played all 12 minutes, he provided exactly what I was alluding to……He ran the team effectively.
As Alan Hahn pointed out in the Post Game show, Baker “organized” the team. “Organizing” a team is what a true point guard is supposed to do and does.
Also during the Post Game show Wally Szczerbiak pointed out how Baker played smart and tough.
Defensively, Baker was very physical at the point. He drew a Flagrant 1 from Terry as a result of his physicality and hit his 2 free throws. A few minutes later, with around a minute and a half remaining in the game, he drew an offensive foul from Terry which resulted in Knick points on the ensuing possession which was a key to the win.
The result of Baker’s solid point guard play was that the Knicks rallied from a 13 point deficit (entering the 4th quarter) to win the game.
But more illuminating is that with true point guard play, instead of posting just 17 points in the 4th quarter as the Knicks did in their 1-point loss to the Bucks Wednesday night, they scored 33 last night and came from behind to win.
And the defense in the 4th quarter was much better which also has alot to do with the team being “organized”.
True point guard play results in better floor balance and better positioning which ultimately results in better defense with less fast break opportunities for the opponent. Last night the Knicks defense limited the Bucks to just 15 4th-quarter points.
Baker’s stat line last night, all in the 4th quarter, was 6 points, 4 assists, 0 turnovers, 2 rebounds…..And a +18 for the quarter!! The +18 is most indicative of solid point play and running the team effectively.
Now, last night was just one quarter of one game for Baker, which may or may not mean anything……But I would certainly like to see more minutes with Baker running the point to see if he can sustain that level of play and leadership……..If he can, the Knicks might have found an answer to their biggest problem………
(as a reference see below for my previous article)