The Knicks struggled offensively, shooting 2-of-7 in overtime in their 129-123 loss to LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
It was an ugly shooting night to say the least for the New York Knicks, who shot 44.9% from the field and just 20.6% from behind the arc, as nothing could fall for them all night long. Although New York led the Lakers in the turnover battle, they surrendered more points to them following the change of possession, which killed the momentum at home and made it fair game in the World’s Most Famous Arena.
For the Knicks, Jalen Brunson led the way with 37 points, six assists, a steal, and a block. He was automatic for the Knicks tonight, carrying a large part of the offensive load with Julius Randle and RJ Barrett struggling early on. Randle got it going in the second half, finishing with 23 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists on 6-of-19 shooting from the field. Off the bench, Immanuel Quickley continues to show how valuable he is to the team’s success, scoring 19 points, dishing eight assists, and grabbing three rebounds. It may have been a loss, but it’s also important to highlight the play of Isaiah Hartenstein who stepped up to the plate, filling Mitchell Robinson’s role in the paint and owning it today. He finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds, and one assist. Tom Thibodeau opted for Hartenstein for the majority of the game, allowing him to log 40 minutes, as opposed to the 13 minutes Jericho Sims saw despite earning the starting nod.
The Knicks have been known to get off to hot starts in the first quarter. Tonight, that unfortunately was not the case. Both teams were in a drought early in this outing; virtually no one could get it going. Through six minutes of play, RJ Barrett and Julius Randle could not find the net, going 0-7 to start as the Lakers led New York 10-5. The back end of the first quarter looked much more promising, with Brunson and Quickley doing the majority of the workload to keep New York in it. Despite the rough start, the Knicks still managed to shoot 40% from the field. Check out what Brunson did to cap off the quarter:
The second quarter fared much better for the Knicks, with Immanuel Quickley coming out of the gates en fuego with a pair of free throws and a three to equalize the game. He finished with nine points in the second quarter of play, defending at a high level and knocking down a plethora of threes and floaters to put the Knicks in front down the stretch of the second quarter. Fueled by his performance, along with the play of Randle, Brunson, and Hartenstein, the Knicks were able to maintain the lead for the rest of the half. Although the Knicks shot 37% on the quarter, they ended up scoring more field goals on more shot attempts to keep them in front over Los Angeles. Led by Brunson’s 16 first-half points, New York still led 53-52 despite this ridiculous heave to end the first half:
It was another slow start to the second half, with the majority of points coming from the free throw line in the first few minutes of the third quarter. Regardless, it didn’t faze the Knicks, as the team shot at a 50% clip in the third quarter. Brunson created a lot of looks, whether floaters, turnaround jumpers, or making the right read and dishing to the teammate. He netted 10 points and two assists in the third quarter.
Outside of Brunson, the starters could not find their shot, shooting 38% as a starting unit. Compared to the benches 60% shooting in the third, it’s safe to say that the bench picked up the slack, led by who other than Quickley. Alongside the former Kentucky guard was Isaiah Hartenstein, who had one of his best performances of the season, getting to his spots and making a handful of strong offensive moves. Along with solid defense, walling up opponents as best as he can, he helped string together some crucial stops in the second half. At the end of three quarters of play, New York kept it a close one trailing 86-83 to LeBron and the Lakers.
Following the trend of the entire game, the final quarter was neck and neck, with both teams taking it to each other. Although they had poor games shooting from the field, Julius Randle and RJ Barrett finally got it going, leading the charge in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 of their 31 points in the first 5 minutes of the quarter. From there on it was a combination of Brunson, Quentin Grimes, and Hartenstein stepping up and making some big plays late. Check out this awesome setup from Quentin Grimes for a Isaiah Hartenstein slam:
And as it came down to the wire, it was Jalen Brunson leading the way for the Knicks, hitting two extremely key shots in the lane in the last 2 minutes to get the game dead set at 114 apiece. With 24 seconds remaining in regulation, LeBron James dished it over to Anthony Davis on the inside. Brunson, who was waiting, absorbed the contact from Davis and took the charge, and the Knicks once again had the ball with 3.9 seconds left and an opportunity to win the game. Unfortunately, they could not convert as this game headed to overtime.
In overtime, New York kept it close in the first minute, with Quickley hitting a floater that responded to James’s layup on the other end. Everything that the Knicks did in overtime the Lakers sadly had an answer to, with James, Schroder, and Davis taking things into their own hands. New York eventually ran out of gas, giving LA the chance to go on a 7-0 run. A LeBron James layup with 19.1 seconds remaining ended the Knicks chances at a comeback, as the Lakers gained a 6-point cushion. Free throws from Dennis Schroder to iced the game for the Lakers and put the Knicks home record at an abysmal 12-14.
»Read: The Knicks Trade Deadline Primer
»Read: Immanuel Quickley Is the Knicks’ Secret Defensive Weapon
»Read: Conference play check-in on 2023 Knicks’ draft targets