“Close” — March 24, 2019: Clippers 124 NY 113

This one was “close”. The final score did not reflect the game action. Knicks were up by a point with 4 minutes 20 seconds left. And then, two Clipper 3’s sandwiching Danilo Gallinari free throws and just like that Clippers were up by 7. In between the Knicks coughed up some opportunities. The NBA is a game of the 3 these days.

Poor D on the 3

In the post game, Knick analyst Alan Hahn said, “Late in the game you have to make it uncomfortable for people to shoot the ball and put the pressure on the referees to make the call; you can’t just stand there with a hand up in the air and call it defense.”

But the Knicks had, and they lost because of it. “Just too many ‘makers’ for the LA Clippers for the Knicks to keep up with”, said Knick announcer Al Trautwig.

The Clippers don’t seem to have more talent than the Knicks on the floor, but they are playoff bound.  Trautwig called this out — wondering out loud why the Knicks lost and continue to lose lose lose — “Just look at the Clippers’ roster — c’mon!”

The Players

Emmanuel Mudiay was the Knicks’ star. He had a terrific game and led the Knicks to that late lead. Then he screwed up a few times down the stretch, coughing the ball up — typical Mudiay to this point. He can be terrific, but cough it up. He finished 10-19 (2-7 from 3) 26 pts, 6 rebounds 7 assists in 35 minutes.

Kevin Knox had another good game — he was shooting well 4-9 (2-4) for 11 points in 19 minutes before going out with a sprained ankle. Patrick Beverly got under him on a 3, didn’t give him landing space, and Knox came down on Beverley’s foot. It should have been a foul on Beverely but no call.

Mitchell Robinson didn’t play much because DeAndre Jordan was playing in beast mode — 7-10 (6-7 free throws) 20 pts, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals. Coach David Fizdale looked like he really wanted to win this one, so he went with the hot hand. Note: post game Stefan Bondy wrote this piece on why Jordan’s free throw shooting has gotten so much better this season — now shooting 77 % — he has a ritual where he asks teamates at the free throw line “Who you got?” or “Who you guarding?” before shooting, plus has changed his footing.

Mitchell Robinson took only one shot — and was fouled on it — he made both free throws to finish with 2 pts, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks in 14 minutes.

Damyean Dotson was aggressive to the hoop and finished 7-16 (1-8 from 3) for 18 pts. He continued to look like an NBA starting shooting guard, but has to improve the consistency of his 3-pt accuracy.

Lance Thomas played down the stretch — he was 4-7 for 12 points in 29 minutes. Kadeem Allen played down the stretch in the backcourt with Mudiay and Dotson; Allen was 6-11 for 16 points.

How Did Ntilikina Do?

Earlier this season every game seemed to revolve around this information point on Knicks twitter. In this game, Frank Ntilikina played only 7 minutes before re-aggrevating his groin — he finished with 0 points, 0 assists and a -11. It will probably be the last we see of Ntilikina this season, and possibly ever in a Knicks uniform.

The Rest of the Knicks Bench

John Jenkins had 2 points, and Mario Hezonja 6 points in 26 minutes (2-9, 0-3 from 3). Henry Ellenson and Luke Kornet did not play; Noah Vonleh and Dennis Smith Jr continued to be injured

For the Clippers

Danilo Gallinari was 5-15 (3-10 from 3, 13-14 free throws) 26 points. PS: he hit the first of those 3’s mentioned at the top of the article to put the Clippers ahead for good. At age 30 he is having his finest season: 19.7 ppg; shooting .432 from 3-pt range, 46% overall, and .903 from free throw line. The ball doesn’t stick with him either. He ended up being great pick at #6 in 2008 — although he has spent much of his career injured — typically missing 20 to 40 games a season, and one entire season with that torn ACL.

Montrezl Harrell was tough — 24 points on 8-12, 4 rebounds, and a +21. Lou Williams also tough — 9-20 for 29 points including a big 3 at the end, left not defended well with too much open space.

Ivica Zubac started at center and was tough — 10 pts (4-5), 10 rebounds in 20 minutes.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has the best uniform in the NBA — his name is scrawled across the back it barely fits. He had his typical 10 points and looked good. Patrick Beverley had 12 points. Landry Shamet had 3 points. Jeff Green had 8 points. And Wilson Chandler 2 points in 12 minutes; most Knick fans didn’t even notice he was on the team.

The Boxscore:


Uh Oh

After the game, this Kevin Durant video snippet surfaced on Twitter. Uh Oh. I think he’s kidding. I think….

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