The New York Knicks snap a six-game losing streak with a relatively dominant win over the Chicago Bulls on Mitchell Robinson’s 21st birthday.
Coming off the weekend of intense Elite Eight action featuring many future Knicks, the current Knicks squared off against the Bulls in a matchup too cruel for April Fool’s Day parody.
In what looked like a play-in game between two 16 seeds, the Knicks (15-62) led nearly wire-to-wire, defeating Chicago (21-57) by a score of 113-105.
The Bulls threatened late, but New York led by as much as 28 as it hit its second-most threes in a game this season (18) to build a cushion early. This was the only the fifth time this season New York led by at least 20, so that pretty much encapsulates the disaster this season has been.
The final month of the NBA regular season is upon us, meaning some farcical storylines will ensue as teams gear up for playoffs with most berths in hand and lottery positioning to be determined. Tonight’s contest featured many such happenings.
Luke Kornet curling off screens and slashing for a dunk. A dude named Walt Lemon Jr. started. Mitchell Robinson stubbed his toe while squaring off in a birthday matchup against Robin Lopez (OAKAAK). Damyean Dotson played point guard. Lance Thomas dunked. Twice.
Welcome to April, baby.
Hopefully these April showers of basketball misery bring May flowers in the form of a lottery victory, but for now we can only enjoy this Knicks season finally coming into the end. Let’s dive into what went down at the Garden.
Damyean Dotson and Luke Kornet: the new Splash Brothers
Kornet and Dotson were both prolific on the offensive end tonight, shooting a combined 14-for-19 from the field and hitting a combined 11 threes on 14 attempts from deep.
Dotson put together one of his most complete games as a pro tonight, finishing with 18 points, six rebounds, and six assists as he was spontaneously thrusted into the backup point guard role in the second half due to Kadeem Allen suffering a concussion. The six assists tied a career high for Dotson, and he’s proving time and time again in this lost season that he can be a valuable contributor on a good team.
DOTSON IS ELITE 6-6 from three ??? pic.twitter.com/YXYhMxRoa9— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) April 2, 2019
Kornet also had one of his better performances this season, tallying a career-high 24 points, grabbing six rebounds, and rejecting three shots. The combination of Kornet’s spacing and Robinson’s mobility makes the tandem playable, at least in the latter part of a 60-plus loss season.
LUKE KORNET OH MY pic.twitter.com/osva7gJA4A— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) April 2, 2019
Battle of the Birthday Boys
Sharing the same birthday, it was only fitting the 21-year-old Robinson took the jump against the 31-year-old Lopez. Instead of beating up on a nonexistent mascot, Lopez took out his pent-up anger on Robinson and Kornet, dropping 29 points and pulling down seven rebounds, finishing just one point short of his career high.
Robinson held his own against the former Knick in his second consecutive start, scoring 14 points to go along with 10 rebounds, four assists, and three blocks, marking the 25th consecutive game in which Robinson has blocked multiple shots. He has been the lone consistent bright spot in this season, showing the potential to anchor the back line of a defense for years to come.
I would marry Mitch’s 3 point blocked shots if I could pic.twitter.com/5WCrBH1rvu— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) April 2, 2019
- Kevin Knox showed some flashes tonight, putting up 19 points on 40% shooting, grabbing nine rebounds, and dishing out three assists. The mechanics on his jumper remain inconsistent and he needs more versatility in his moves to the basket, but the teenager is finishing the season relatively strongly after getting demolished by the rookie wall for a long stretch of this year.
- As mentioned earlier, Allen left the game with a concussion after logging just nine minutes of playing time. Emmanuel Mudiay played just over 36 minutes tonight and continued to be as black hole-ish as a point guard can be offensively. In his limited playing time, Allen was a +20 while Mudiay was a -10. It has become clear which point guard has a greater impact on winning, but it remains to be seen what the Knicks will do with each in the offseason.
Up next for New York is a game against the Magic on Wednesday night. Orlando is remarkably fighting for a playoff spot, so tonight’s fortune will likely not be with the Knicks in their next matchup.