The Knicks dropped their fifth straight loss on Friday. This time they were back at home hosting Brandon Ingram and the Pelicans.
The New Orleans Pelicans (14-25) defeated the New York Knicks (10-29) by a final score of 123-111 at Madison Square Garden. Brandon Ingram finished with 28 points, six rebounds, and nine assists. For the Knicks, Taj Gibson scored a team-high 19 points and tallied eight rebounds. With the loss, the Knicks extend their losing streak to five games after going winless on the recent four-game west coast road trip.
This was a fun game to start. Both teams got after it on the offensive end, rattling points back and forth for much of the first half and both did it with their big men. Gibson and Bobby Portis (13 points and five rebounds), who started with Julius Randle out, carried the Knicks. Both big men were key to New York scoring 38 points in the paint in the first half.
Derrick Favors got injured early in the first half, which allowed New Orleans to turn to former future Knick Jahlil Okafor and rookie center Jaxson Hayes. Okafor made a couple of good finishes, while Hayes shined in his extended playing time. Overall, Hayes finished with 18 points and had a few excellent defensive possessions, shutting down New York’s slashing attempts.
While the Pelicans combined their dominant big men with stellar outside shooting, the Knicks did the exact opposite. New York finished with just 5-of-27 shooting from three-point range, sputtering from the very beginning and failing to knock down a fifth made until the 1:35 mark of the fourth quarter. Even sharpshooter Reggie Bullock, who started the game, made just two of his six attempts.
The shooting became too much to bear for New York, as New Orleans began to pull away late in the third quarter and took an 11-point lead heading into the fourth. Bullock left the game with a hand injury, the Knicks got sluggish on the offensive end, and the Pelicans used their depth to continue to pressure and pace for the remaining quarter.
In short, it was a solid game, but one that got away from the Knicks. We’ll address one major thing in the notes, but as the Pelicans leaned on their depth, the Knicks leaned on their veterans. Being able to throw different looks towards this New York defense allowed New Orleans to wear them down and made the last five minutes rather meaningless.
On to the notes
- R.J. Barrett didn’t have a good night offensively, but you continue to see flashes that lead one to believe that he’ll be fine. Even when shooting poorly, Barrett remained active on the glass (nine rebounds) and on defense (two steals). He didn’t have much of a chance against Brandon Ingram, but I found his defense against others to be fine.
RJ finally gets to the hoop to put one in pic.twitter.com/fLN23Q6ty7— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) January 11, 2020
- It’s a shame that Damyean Dotson isn’t rated amongst the front office. Dotson should be one of the first wings off the bench, largely because he can do a bit of everything, including defending point guards and smaller shooting guards. In this game, he was good as a secondary creator and make some nice extra passes.
- Mike Miller’s rotations are awful. I’ll allow you to draw your conclusions about all the kids (sans Barrett) coming off the bench, but Frank Ntilikina, Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox should all receive upwards of 25 minutes a night. His starting lineup is also infuriating; he continues to start Bobby Portis in Julius Randle’s absence. The Knicks need to be active at the trade deadline.
New York stays at home on Sunday and hosts the Miami Heat.