The Knicks battled down the stretch against the hot Clippers, but snatched defeat from the jaws of victory as they fell in overtime 134-128.

The Clippers (30-26) edged out The New York Knicks (29-26) 134-128 in an overtime thriller tonight at Madison Square Garden. 

Los Angeles’ excellent defense led to scoring opportunities early—they knocked down seven three-pointers, including three from all-star Paul George, who notched 11 of his 30 point in the first quarter. New York’s lone all-star, Julius Randle, kept pace, pouring nine as the Knicks trailed 36-28 after the first frame. 

The bench unit righted the ship in the second quarter with a 12-1 run. While the Knicks cut into the Clippers’ lead, Los Angeles regained control of the game thanks to Paul George’s excellent first half—he shot 70% from the field and lead all scorers with 21 points. The Clippers were lights out from three-point land as they connected on 12 attempts from long distance (51.1%). Still, Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle kept the Knicks within striking distance; each had 15 points in the first half. The Clippers took a 63-56 lead into halftime. 

RJ Barrett struggled mightily in the first half on both sides of the court. He shot 2-11 and had porous defense to start but Thibs bizarrely left him to play 18 consecutive minutes before resting. The second half didn’t prove much better for Barrett, either. 

The Second Half

The third quarter turned into the Jalen Brunson show as he scored 13 of the Knicks’ first 15 points of the period. Despite his individual heroics, the Clippers proved too much; they countered every move. Kawhi Leonard came alive in the third quarter—adding 13 points of his own in the period. Why New York decided to go away from Brunson midway through the quarter is anyone’s guess as the Clippers built their biggest lead of the game at that point, taking a 15-point lead into the final frame, 96-81. 

It was once again the spark of the second unit that enabled the Knicks get back into the game with a 13-2 run to start the fourth quarter. The Knicks got to within six-points of the Clippers with about 8 minutes to go. Los Angeles quickly built the lead back to twelve 12 points before the Knicks called a timeout to regroup with under seven minutes to play. The Knicks regained momentum, even after Norm Powell’s posterization of Julius Randle. The Knicks would score five consecutive points behind some brilliance from Jalen Brunson to take a 113-112 lead with under a minute remaining in regulation. After a stop and another clutch Brunson basket, the Knicks lead by three and seemingly had a hard-earned victory, but a second chance prayer three-pointer from Nicolas Batum with one second on the clock sent the game to overtime 115-115 breaking the hearts of the Garden faithful.

The Knicks seemingly ran out of gas in the extra time, especially on defense. The Clippers scored 15 of 19 points from the free-throw line in overtime. The Knicks are now 3-6 in overtime games this season.

Key Takeaways

Jalen Brunson was brilliant once again in light of an all-star selection snub, he scored 41 points on just 14-19 from the field with seven assists and five rebounds. Julius Randle was also brilliant for the Knicks, tallying a double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds to go with seven assists. The Clippers stars were out tonight as Paul George and Kawhi Leonard both eclipsed 30 points. Norm Powell also had a huge night for LA scoring 24 points off the bench, including the dunk.

Next up the Knicks welcome the scorching-hot Philadelphia 76ers tomorrow night at the Garden. Tip-off is 6pm. 

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