Knicks Trail Pacers 66-60 At Half in Miller's Debut
The Knicks reached halftime against Indiana in Mike Miller's coaching debut down 66-60 to the Indiana Pacers.
The team came out scorching the nets, building as much as an eight point lead in the first quarter. The Pacers took advantage of the Knicks' bench unit to end the first, however, and went on a 25-12 run to end the first quarter with a five point lead.
The Knicks would take the lead again in the second quarter before eventually entering the half down 66-60.
Here are some notes from the first half:
1) The Knicks are using pick-and-roll over and over and over, a welcome change from the David Fizdale era. With two elite PnR threats in Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson, it only makes sense to. And go figure, it's been working!
2) Speaking of Randle, he's been put in a lot more situations that are conducive to him succeeding. He's not getting the ball in his hands and being asked to create over and over again. Instead, he's making quick moves; attacking out of the PnR, making line-drive moves to the hoop, initiating with quick passes at the top rather than being relied on to drive head-first into the defense and find teammates from there. The results have been mostly positive so far, as Randle has 12 points on 5-8 shooting.
3) At the risk of jinxing it... Robinson hasn't committed a foul in over 43 minutes straight of game action dating back to Thursday's tilt with the Nuggets. All of this since he tweeted that he had to do better after the Bucks game. Progress!
4) Two very different things from the Fizdale era in this game that occurred following the first quarter... Dennis Smith Jr. got a quick hook after a lackluster five minutes in the first quarter, and with that, Miller changed the lineup during the quarter break. Fizdale would often keep the same lineups on the floor after the quarter break, even if they were struggling.
5) A lot was made on social media about RJ Barrett liking the Knicks' post on Instagram announcing Fizdale's dismissal, and there's probably nothing to that, but Barrett's eight-point, four-rebound, three-assist effort in the first half certainly stood out, and he was playing with a huge amount of energy. Nothing really hammered that home more than, well, this hammer dunk:
That's about it for the first half... the second half, and more particularly the third quarter, will tell us a lot about Miller versus Fizdale. Third quarters are where things often went off the rails for Fizdale's Knicks.