Guided by Emmanuel Mudiay’s career night, the Knicks avenged ’90s teams of the past and made Michael Jordan look foolish when a massive comeback was mounted and completed in overtime.
After a heartbreaking loss due to an officiating mistake in the closing seconds, the New York Knicks rallied to defeat the Charlotte Hornets in overtime. Together, they managed to turnaround a historic 21 point deficit for an exciting win on Friday.
Kevin Knox Stars in First Half
The Knicks couldn’t have won without the stellar first-half performance of Kevin Knox.
Through the first 24 minutes of play, Kevin Knox was 7-of-10 from the field and shooting 3-of-4 from three-point land. Enes Kanter was the only other Knick to score more than five points between the two periods. He was, as Clyde Frazier often remarks, “the only Knick with a knack.” (He then mumbled something with the word “neophyte” in it.)
The rookie’s aggressiveness early on was the only thing keeping the Knicks afloat. From the individual perspective, this is another step in the right direction. Whether he turns out to be a streaky shooter or not, Knox has been making much better decisions as of late. The shots he took were impressive, especially his decisions to launch from long range; he wisely chose his moments and capitalized.
A late-game play undoubtedly drawn up by Fizdale gave Knox an easy two points in crunch time. Already, the rookie has shown growth as a player. If he can continue to develop and expand his understanding of the game at the NBA level, the ceiling is the roof for Knox, to paraphrase His Airness.
Fizdale decided to switch things up too. With Courtney Lee recalled from the G League, he experimented with plenty of four-wing lineups. Ntilikina, Hardaway Jr., Lee, Knox, and Robinson would experience minutes, as lineups with interchangeable parts showed up in Noah Vonleh and Mario Hezonja (why, God?).
The experiment mostly happened during the dull third quarter, but perhaps it served its goal by confusing defenders and tiring them out with the constant movement. It may have been one of the reasons the Knicks scored 19 fast-break points, six more than the Hornets.
And what a fourth quarter it was. What started out as a dummy mission with the Knicks down by double digits in the fourth turned out to be one of the best quarters of Emmanuel Mudiay’s career. The fourth-year guard played all 12 minutes and made the most of it. He took his game to the next level, scoring 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting and dishing two dimes.
Mudiay’s scorching fourth quarter culminated in the final minute when he drove into the paint and managed to get an off-balanced jumper to fall, defying forward Marvin Williams in the process.
MUDIAY TIES IT— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) December 15, 2018
28 on the night for Mudiay now! pic.twitter.com/2d2YGOXEGs
Mudiay continued to score by shooting 3-of-4 from the field in the additional period. He ended the game with a career-high 34 points and an above-average eight assists.
Summoning his inner Porzingis, the Uni-Kornet stepped up big time for the Knicks. Late in the game, after Vonleh had played enough minutes as a small-ball center—shout out to him, great showing!—Kornet was tasked as being the Knicks’ center. Enes Kanter was benched. He’s not the greatest defender and the former Vanderbilt standout’s inside scoring ability leaves a bit to be desired, but what he did for the Knicks was instrumental for the win—he stretched the floor.
Kornet stretched the floor and he stretched it well. In the fourth quarter alone he shot 67 percent from three and gave the Knicks a much needed late-game trey.
However, his two most significant highlights came during overtime. The first, a deep three even sent the Charlotte crowd into a frenzy. It was just that good.
LUUUUUUUKE pic.twitter.com/NL70oWP6eO— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) December 15, 2018
His last second defensive efforts included a blocked three, followed by altering Kemba Walker’s final shot before the buzzer to end OT. Bless that man.
Kevin Knox missed two consecutive clutch free throws, putting the Knicks win in doubt. But, together as a team, they managed to pull out a victory and upset the playoff bound Charlotte Hornets. Tonight, Mudiay didn’t leave the game in the hands of the referees—he put it in his own hands. And drained it.