The Knicks are placing collectively fairly the tag workforce at middle.
After beginning middle Enes Kanter struggled, Kyle O’Quinn got here to the rescue Monday night time with a monster outing and performed the ultimate minutes of crunch time.
Getting key rebounds within the remaining two minutes, O’Quinn completed with a wholesome double-double — 15 factors, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks in 21 minutes. O’Quinn was plus-14 — a staff excessive. By comparability, Kristaps Porzingis had a profession-excessive 38 factors however was even on the plus/minus scale.
When Kanter got here aboard within the Carmelo Anthony commerce, everybody figured O’Quinn can be out of the rotation, however he has crushed out Willy Hernangomez for backup minutes. Hernangomez obtained a cup of espresso Monday, getting three:07 of enjoying time, however principally has been out of the rotation.
“I”ve been questioning about my position my entire profession,” O’Quinn stated.
O’Quinn is the defensive enforcer of this platoon.
“They’re stealing my rebounds,’’ Porzingis stated of the middle duo. “That’s all I do know. They’ve each been enjoying nice. Enes is among the strongest guys within the league. Kyle got here within the recreation blocking photographs, operating the ground, enjoying nice basketball.”
Whereas protection isn’t Kanter’s robust go well with, he’s been such a brute on offense that he has flourished because the beginning middle. His numbers are stupendous — particularly as an offensive rebounder, the place he ranked fourth within the league at four.eight per recreation getting into Monday. Kanter completed with 12 factors and 9 rebounds, one on the offensive glass.
“I’m not telling you my secret,” Kanter stated jokingly earlier than the sport. “What talent might it’s for offensive rebounds? I don’t have some magnetic area the place the ball is coming to me. It’s intuition. It’s extra like getting in the correct area on the proper time and being bodily.”
Kanter stated he has studied Corridor of Famer Moses Malone’s offensive boardwork, calling him the perfect ever. He cites Tristan Thompson and Andre Drummond nearly as good at that craft, although it’s DeAndre Jordan main the NBA with six offensive boards per recreation.
On Sunday, Kanter dominated Thompson, who had one level and 0 rebounds. Mockingly, the Knicks requested for Thompson once they talked to Cleveland about buying and selling Carmelo Anthony within the week main into coaching camp.
After his profitable outing in Cleveland, Lance Thomas didn’t play Monday with Jeff Hornacek giving no rationalization. Hornacek went from a 9-man rotation to enjoying eleven, including rookie…