Once again, the Knicks dug themselves a hole early, losing 29-15 after the first 11 minutes of action. The Knicks fought hard, eventually tying the game at 61, with 7:40 left in the 3rd Quarter. Brooklyn responded with a 21-11 run to end the 3rd, taking a 10 point advantage into the final frame. The Knicks mounted one final comeback, cutting the Nets lead to just 1, with 1:21 remaining in the game. Down by 3 with 44.6 seconds left, Frank Ntilikina had a wide open look from three, alone in the corner. He missed the potential game-tying shot. Joe Harris iced the game for the Nets, sinking both free throws to put Brooklyn up by 4, with just 6.8 seconds left. Brooklyn who was without Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert, leaned heavily on Spencer Dinwiddie. Dinwiddie poured in a game high 30 points, 19 of which came in the 1st Half. Jarrett Allen (18 points and 10 rebounds), Taurean Prince (14 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists), and Garrett Temple (12 points, 4-8 from three), all played significant roles for the Nets as well. As for the New York Knicks, Marcus Morris Sr. inspired his team with 26 points, shooting an electric 7-8 from downtown. Morris Sr. nailed several contested jumpers, shooting 5-5 from three in the 2nd Half. Julius Randle (15 points and 8 rebounds), Taj Gibson (8 points and 8 rebounds), and Wayne Ellington (12 points, 4-7 from three) all had good, efficient, games for the Knicks, shooting a combined 14-23 (61%) from the field. Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox both had very disappointing nights. Frank shot a poor 3-11 (27%) from the floor and missed the game tying shot, with less than a minute remaining. Knox drew his first start of the season and made very little of an impact (5 points, 4 fouls, and a team worst defensive rating of 125 in 18 minutes), seemingly wasting his opportunity. The Knicks leader in defensive rating was Dennis Smith Jr. (88.1), who also added 10 points and 5 assists. Mitchell Robinson posted their 2nd best defensive rating (92.3) and had 3 blocked shots. However, Robinson’s fouling woes continued, fouling out in just 19 minutes. Bobby Portis Jr. continued his erratic shooting, scoring just 3 points in 17 minutes of action, a game after he posted 16 points in 20 minutes off the bench.
Why The Knicks Lost
The two statistics that stand out in this game are the Knicks shooting 18 less free throws than the Nets and the Knicks commiting 7 more turnovers than Brooklyn. The Knicks also didn’t record a secondary assists in this game, continuing their trend of being dead last in the NBA, averaging 1.9 secondary assists per game. Also, New York is last in assist to pass percentage, 7%. This is due to the motion offense the Knicks run, involving lots of meaningless passes on the perimeter and it mainly involving only 2 players at a time, while the others space the floor. Another statistic to back this up, is the fact that the Knicks are 12th in the NBA is passes per game (296.5), yet are 28th in the league in assists per game (20.6).
The Knicks last 4 losses have all been for less than 10 points. This team is clearly capable of winning more games than they’ve shown. This can be attributed to their troubles with fouling, not making their free throws, and contesting the three-point line. The Knicks are in the top half of the NBA in turnovers per game (15.3) and free throw attempts per game (23.9), thus not being issues for this team. New York is last in the NBA in personal fouls per game (24.2) and free throw shooting (67.1%). The Knicks are also allowing teams to make 12.8 threes per game (8th most in the NBA). They will be facing the reigning champion, Toronto Raptors, on the road Wednesday night. The Raptors are 12-4 and 7-0 at home, led by rising superstar, Pascal Siakam.