The Knicks had a fake comeback for the ages, extending the game all the way to the wire before eventually losing to the Jazz 117-113.

The New York Knicks (13-10) were in Utah to take on the Jazz (8-16) to kick off their west coast road trip. The Jazz were without Jordan Clarkson and desperate for a win coming into the game on a three-game losing streak. Desperation would bode well for the home team as they survived the Knicks’ comeback, winning 117-113. This is the first loss the Knicks have suffered to a sub-.500 team.

The Knicks started the game with some rough long-distance shooting, missing their first eight three-point attempts, but that didn’t slow down their momentum as they were able to get out in the open with some easy transition baskets. Julius Randle picked up right where he left off, scoring eight of New York’s first 11 points and ruthlessly attacking the paint. Showing no signs of rust after missing a game with knee inflammation, Immanuel Quickley returned to his usual spot and immediately got on the board, knocking down the Knicks’ first three-pointer of the game; he scored eight points in the first quarter. While the rest of the Knicks struggled to score, Randle continued his assault around the rim quickly reaching double figures in scoring and helping the Knicks open a 10-point lead. The Knicks got back to their defensive roots holding the Jazz to just 33.3% shooting in the opening quarter and taking a 31-22 advantage into the second. 

The Jazz started the second by scoring five straight points but it was the spark of Quickley that kept the Knicks in control. The Jazz would not be denied, however, as they stormed back with a 13-0 run to take the lead midway through the quarter. The three-point shooting was the difference as the Jazz started to connect from long range while the Knicks struggled all the entire first half. RJ Barrett continued to struggle mightily, after missing his first 10 shot attempts he was finally able to get one to go late in the second quarter. Despite their offensive struggles, the Knicks went on their own 9-0 to briefly tie the game and salvage the half. Utah would take a 52-50 lead into halftime. New York’s offense staggered in the second quarter, scoring just 19 points. They shot an uncharacteristic 3-17 from three-point range in the first half, despite coming into the game ranked fifth in the NBA in three-point shooting. 

RJ Barrett came alive early in the third quarter. After having just two points in the first half he quickly scored six points to keep the Knicks within striking distance of the Jazz. Randle got himself into some foul trouble with four through the three quarters but with the Knicks playing catchup coach Thibodeau gambled and left him in the game. This would pay off and despite the Knicks’ offense continuing to struggle Randle put the team on his back scoring 10 straight points allowing for another timely IQ three-pointer to briefly give the Knicks a two-point lead. The Jazz would answer back and regain a five-point, 89-84 lead to end the third quarter that included an ill-advised foul at the buzzer by Isaiah Hartenstien that put Lauri Markkanen at the foul line for three free throw attempts. 

The Jazz would build on their lead, extending it to 11 after six straight points to start the fourth quarter forced a Knicks timeout. The erratic inconsistency continued as the first play of the timeout resulted in a Jalen Brunson turnover allowing the Jazz to go up by 13. Utah would extend their lead to 17 but the Knicks would claw back and cut that down to just five points with under two minutes left. The Knicks turned up their defensive intensity getting stops down the stretch and with less than a minute in regulation the Knicks were down just three points, 115-112, with possession of the ball and the chance to tie the game. Unfortunately, the Knicks’ efforts would not be enough as they missed two game-tying three-pointers allowing the Jazz to escape with victory. Donte DiVincenzo in his third straight start scored 21 points and also had seven assists and was great defensively with four steals. Immanuel Quickley didn’t miss a beat in his return scoring 15 points on 6-8 shooting. 

The Knicks’ inability to knock down free throws throughout the game hindered their failed comeback attempt as they shot a combined 22-32 from the line. They also shot an abysmal 9-39 from three-point range. Julius Randle had another 30-point game to go with 12 rebounds and six assists. Jalen Brunson struggled all night despite scoring 23 points and shot 6-19 from the field, including 0-6 from three. He also missed five of 16 free throw attempts. RJ Barrett had a night to forget, shooting 3-16 from the field with just nine points, he also missed all seven of his three-point attempts. 

Next up, the Knicks are in Phoenix on Friday to face the Suns at 10 PM.

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