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No Hollywood Ending for Knicks in Third Consecutive Loss

Photo: via Knicks/Twitter
 The Knicks began their road trip with a 23-point blowout in Los Angeles to Lou Will and the Clippers.

The Los Angeles Clippers (33–28), on the precipice of the Western Conference playoffs, rolled out the red carpet for the New York Knicks (24–39), who escaped a nor’easter tearing across New York State but found little solace in Southern California, dropping their third consecutive game and 11th loss in the last dozen contests. Things aren’t going so well in ‘Bocker World.

Against the tough interior defense of DeAndre Jordan, the Knicks found difficulty creating easy opportunities near the basket. Meanwhile, Austin Rivers—of all people—rained from downtown, aching the Knicks with five threes, which constantly put a reasonable deficit out of reach for New York. Jordan also terrorized New York on offense; the center not known for a polished offense game was the beneficiary of lobs and dunks, rocking the rim for 19 total points and 12 in the first quarter alone.

Although the Knicks led by a small margin at halftime, head coach Doc Rivers’ team came out firing on all cylinders in the third quarter—going on a 10–0 run before New York could tally a point in the period. Before long, the Knicks found themselves in a 14-point hole to start the fourth quarter, a gap they could not overcome. The final score: 128–105 in L.A. On to the recap.


Hang the DJ

DeAndre Jordan was a menace to South Central on Friday night, notching a double-double before the conclusion of the first half. Some excellent slashing by Los Angeles moved Enes Kanter out of position from DeAndre, giving Jordan many a opportunity to slam home dunks and hang on the rim in a defeatist tone for the Knicks.

DAJ finished with a bubbly 19-20 game—including six rebounds of the offensive variety. Kanter (18 points, 14 rebounds) could not cape around Jordan very well (most NBA centers find this task difficult, too), and quick movements from the athletic 6’11” lefty created space for dunks Kanter and Kyle O’Quinn (zero points) could not defend. Despite two backdoor assists, O’Quinn had arguably his worst game, fouling on three occasions and looking generally dismayed with the order of holding court with Jordan.

Sweet Lou

Lou Williams was undeniable, too, with nifty moves catching Knicks rookie Frank Ntilikina off guard—and seemingly deliberately fouling the supersonic Williams, who went to the charity stripe and attempted 10 free-throws in total. Indomitable, Williams’ sweet passes and lobs to DeAndre while twisting knots in Knicks defenders (like Ntilikina) and made the most of his 21 points and eight assists in just under a half an hour of floor time. Frank had trouble containing Lou, falling for head fakes and crossovers that stopped the flow of the game and sent the 13-year vet to the line.

Hardaway… sneaky good lately?

There’s still much to be desired from the 70-million-dollar man, but Tim Hardaway Jr. has played relatively well since the All-Star Break. After a 32-point first half versus D.C., Hardaway Jr. had made like Houdini* when the team needed him most. Since then, however, Tim has logged 23, 17, 14, and 17 points (although on an O.K. 45.7 percent shooting from the field). One knock on Timmy, though, is he tends to disappear in and out of ball games. Knicks brass, I’m sure, when deciding to pay him the big bucks expected Hardaway to rise to the occasion more often than not. And this is especially necessary in the absence of Kristaps Porzingis.

Nevertheless, Hardaway played mostly well while missing each of his five three-point attempts. In my humble opinion, he did an admirable job when switched onto defending Long Island’s Tobias Harris (acquired in the Blake Griffin trade).

Miscellaneous Notes
  • I swear Troy Williams, who’s on the last stroke of midnight on his 10-day contract, made his first three as a ‘Bocker making a Rockettes-like front kick forward. I have no idea how that ball went in. Anyway, he made two more treys by the end of the game and a hammer of jam here:

  • The Mudiay–Ntilikina backcourt, again, looks creaky. I can’t exactly put my finger on it just yet, but something is weird with that pairing (and the numbers per 100 possessions back it up—a -10.7 NetRtg together before Friday’s match).
  • #BurkeAlert: 12 points on 5-of-11 from the field, relatively cool for the suddenly hot Trey who, to be candid, scored some of that in garbage time.
  • Before the start of the second half, Staples Center P.A. played Bronx native Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow.” Yes, it’s broadly a hit now, but that’s sorta disrespectful to New York, no?
  • Shut up and Lance: during the Clips’ third quarter spree, New York’s Lance Thomas fouled the opposition on three instances in… I want to say 45 seconds.
  • Frank played sorta crummy in Los Angeles—six points, four assists, and four personal fouls in 20 minutes. Despite his up-and-down rookie season, I’m still a proponent of giving him plenty of minutes to figure himself out on the court, I think that yields better results, in this case, than holding the Frenchman back.

  • *Apologies to those in the illusion community, I know Houdini wasn’t as renowned for illusions as much as escape acts. Perhaps I should have said someone like David Copperfield.

Negatives: more catastrophic defense and another ‘L’ for New York. Positives: another “win” for the tank and nobody dropped 100 points on the Knicks like on this date in 1962.

Next game: Knicks take on Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig’s Sacramento Kings on Oscar Sunday. Tip is set at 9:00 p.m. EST and it’s black tie attire.

For the Knicks Film School breakdown, check out the video highlighting plays from last night:

Managing Editor of The Knicks Wall. Still not over the ’94 Finals. Andy Bernard levels of Cornell love.

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