The Knicks took another tough loss, this time losing by 12 points on the road to the Orlando Magic. Although Orlando played some really subpar offensive basketball, their fantastic defense coupled with a hot 3rd quarter (30 points) were more than enough to get the win. The Knicks shot 37.8% from the field and an atrocious 22.6% from 3 in 31 attempts! The Knicks offense scored only 3 points in the last 8:06 in the game leading to their 1 point lead vanishing along with the Knicks hopes of winning the game. That is absolutely unacceptable and will result in a loss every time. One of my keys to watch for, was who was going to take the big shots down the stretch and help the Knicks score in crunch time. Portis Jr., Morris, and Randle took a majority of the shots, having a hard time putting the ball in the basket. The Knicks also committed three costly turnovers in the last 8 minutes. Barrett had a very tough game scoring 7 of his 9 points in the 3rd quarter. Ntilikina and Portis Jr. both gave good minutes off the bench as Frank played his usual suffocating defense and Bobby added a double double (12 points and 10 rebounds). The biggest bright spot for New York was Julius Randle who played his best game as a Knick. Randle finished with 16 points (7-13), 10 rebounds, and 7 assists. Randle has shown that his vision and passing are a major plus to his game and it is great watching him kick the ball out of the paint to open shooters. I hope he starts going high low and finding Robinson on some lobs more as the season progresses. Randle’s issues arise when he steps out and shoots 3s along with when he spins in the paint into double teams, usually resulting in a turnover or forced shot.
Why The Knicks Lost
The Knicks lost this game due to their terrible offense. 83 points on 31-82 (37.8%) shooting from the floor and 7-31 (22.6%) from 3 will never result in a win. The Knicks offense was stagnant again in the 4th and most people are contributing the issue to Morris and Randle both being ball stoppers. Although this is true, there is no reason why the Knicks should be running plays at the end of games for Randle/Morris to get the ball at the 3 point line and be relied upon to drive and facilitate/score. The guards should be doing most of the ball handling and let them dish off to Morris or Randle to get buckets or make the extra pass for an open shot/dunk. In my opinion, Morris and Randle have been stopping the flow of the offense, but it is also on Fizdale to get them to move the ball and utilize them most effectively. It is also worth mentioning that in a miserable night for the Knicks offensively, Fizdale didn’t play Allonzo Trier a single minute who has been a spark for this Knicks team and can score in a hurry.
The Knicks will be taking on the Celtics in Boston on Friday night at 7:30pm Eastern Time. These teams faced off last Saturday where Boston embarrassed the Knicks 118-95. The Knicks may still be without Elfrid Payton and Dennis Smith Jr.. If the Knicks want any chance in this game, they will need to shoot the ball well (around 55%) and score down the stretch. For what it’s worth, that seems unlikely.