Knicks fall to lowly Hornets as nine-game win streak snapped


Part of being a successful NBA team is the idea that matchups against lower-level opponents can be taken as traps, especially due to the emotional nature of a win, like Sunday’s double-overtime thriller for the Knicks in Boston.

Tom Thibodeau’s rolling team fell flat on Tuesday night, giving the Hornets a 16-point halftime lead and shooting 5-for-26 in the fourth quarter to end their nine-game winning streak with a lethargic 112-105 loss at the Garden .

RJ Barrett scored 27 points, but Julius Randle shot 5-for-17 to finish with 16 for the Knicks, who begin a four-game West Coast swing Thursday night in Sacramento.

After missing out on the Knicks’ double win in Boston on Sunday, starting point guard Jalen Brunson sat out his second consecutive game with a sore left foot. Point guard LaMelo Ball (single) was also out for the Hornets, who have the second worst record in the Eastern Conference (21-46).

“I think every match is a trap match. You’re right, it’s human nature too. If you’re a little careful, you’re going to slip,” said Thibodeau before the game. “This competition is too good. You look at Charlotte the last 10 games, they are 5-5.

Julius Randle, who only scored 16 points, argues with an official during the Knicks’ 112-105 loss to the Hornets.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“So if you’re not ready to play… what happened the previous game has nothing to do with this game. So you have to make sure you get the right amount of preparation and we’re ready to play. … They are very athletic and they can score the ball, so we have to be at our best.

Kelly Oubre Jr. led Charlotte with 27 points, Terry Rozier had 25 and Gordon Hayward added 23.

Before the game, Hornets coach Steve Clifford said he considers Thibodeau “a great friend and mentor,” so it was not surprising that he praised the streaking Knicks. The opposing bench bosses were assistant coaches with the Knicks from 2001-03 and also with the Rockets under Jeff Van Gundy from 2004-07.

Tom Thibodeau argues a call during the Knicks' third quarter loss.
Tom Thibodeau argues a call during the Knicks’ third quarter loss.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“I know this, they have a conviction now, you can see that when they step on the floor,” said Clifford. “At the moment they are scoring. Their attack was great.

After a standout performance Sunday in Boston—38 points in 55 minutes—Quickley missed his first five shots, including four from 3-point range, in 10 scoreless minutes in the first quarter. The Knicks shot 3-for-13 from beyond the arc and tied, 21-21, for one period.

Barrett found his groove alongside the four-man second unit, with 13 points in the first six minutes of the second quarter, before 17 before halftime.

RJ Barrett, who scored a team-high 27 points, moves up for a layup during the Knicks' loss.
RJ Barrett, who scored a team-high 27 points, moves up for a layup during the Knicks’ loss.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Po

Quickley buried his first three-pointer of the night from the corner for a nine-point belt, then hit another from the right side for a thirteen-point belt with 3:14 left until the break. He converted a traditional three-point play less than a minute later.

Quentin Grimes (12 points) scored his second 3-pointer of the half before beating the clock with a reverse layup as the Knicks led 66-50 through two quarters.

However, the Hornets fell out in the third inning and they used an 11-0 run to take a one-run lead, 87-86, with 52.1 seconds left.

Obi Toppin’s three-pointer put the Knicks ahead again by two as they entered the fourth, Josh Hart (nine points) scored four points and Deuce McBride sank a runner early in the final period to cut the lead to eight. Successive 3-point buckets by Hayward and Oubre made it a one-point game, and Rozier tied it, 100-100, with a jumper with 3:22 left.

Hayward’s three-point play put the Hornets ahead one possession later, and after Randle forged another tie with a spinning drive, Hayward sank a pull-up jumper and Oubre buried another 3 for a 108-103 Charlotte lead with 58 more seconds to play.

After Randle hit two free throws, Hayward committed an offensive error to give the Knicks the ball back. But Randle was called for a loose foul on a Quickley miss at the other end, and Rozier grabbed both free throws to extend the five-point lead with 29.1 seconds left to play.

Read original article here

Leave A Reply