Graham Stings Knicks With Late Three: Knicks 102 Hornets 103 Review

photo from the associated press of spin.ph

Recap

New York lost a heartbreaker in this one due to their inability to contain 2nd year guard, Devonte’ Graham. Graham scored 29 points, including a career high, 9 three pointers. He drilled a contested three with 2.8 seconds remaining in regulation, to give the Hornets a 1 point lead. The Knicks responded out of a timeout with Coach Fizdale drawing up an isolation at the elbow for Julius Randle. Randle proceeded to take an off-balance jumper, that was well short and came after the buzzer. This was devastating for the Knicks who had a lead as large as 15 points and never trailed by more than 2 points in this game. New York was coming off an impressive win, defeating the Dallas Mavericks a couple nights prior. It looked like they would build upon their previous win, but the Knicks surrendered 23 points in the last 6 minutes of the game. PJ Washington and Terry Rozier were main contributors in the comeback for Charlotte. PJ Washington scored 19 points, on an efficient 7-9 shooting. Rozier added 16 points, 7 of which happened in that final 6 minute stretch. Marvin Williams and Malik Monk added 13 and 12 points off the bench respectively. The Knicks got solid performances from all five of their starters, most notably RJ Barrett. Barrett scored 22 points, while shooting 50% from the floor and 80% from the foul-line. Mitchell Robinson had another monster night off the bench, scoring 17 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, without picking up a foul. Robinson also led the Knicks, drawing 6 fouls. Bobby Portis bolstered the offense, finishing with 14 points in 22 minutes of action.

Why The Knicks Lost

The Knicks lost this game, thanks to their poor three-point shooting and lack of defense down the stretch. From beyond the arc, the Knicks shot 6-20 (30%), marking their season low in triples made. The Hornets however sank 17 three pointers, the 2nd most they’ve made all season. On defense the Knicks only recorded 5 steals and 1 block, well below their averages of 7.8 steals and 3.8 blocks. New York also only scored 4 fast break points, compared to Charlotte’s 14. The final blow for the Knicks, which was unacceptable, was being outscored 21 to 14 in the last 6 minutes… on their home court… with the Hornets playing the night before and the Knicks coming off a day of rest. Once again, so much for protecting the Garden like they said they would. To be fair, Graham did hit a well contested three over Frank Ntilikina to win the game. Fizdale then responded by getting his “best player”, Julius Randle, the ball and pulling RJ Barrett. Barrett who was hot at the time, scored 8 points in the final 5 minutes, was benched for Wayne Ellington. Ellington entered to space the floor, playing for the first time all night. Also worth noting, Marcus Morris hit the game winner from three the previous game and was shooting a hot 5-10 from the floor and 2-3 from downtown. Randle took the final shot after shooting a cold 5-13 from the field and missing on the previous possession. It certainly was a dubious call having Randle take the last shot, never mind forcing him to create for himself near the three point line, with just 2 seconds remaining.

Outlook

The Knicks will be playing their next game at home against the Kevin Love-less Cavaliers, Monday night. After that, the Knicks schedule gets very difficult until the middle of December. If the Knicks can’t win this next one, the rumors of Fizdale being fired will only get louder. 48 minutes of defense and ball movement will be keys in getting the Knicks back on track after this tough loss.

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