Not Enough Firepower — Jan 8, 2019: Utah 128 NY 104

With both Marcus Morris and Julius Randle out, the Knicks didn’t have enough firepower to have a chance in this game — on the road, second of a back-to-back against the very strong Utah team. Rudy Gobert also was just too big for the Knicks to handle, on both Defense and Offense. He hammered the Knicks attempts in the lane, and couldn’t be stopped inside, opening up 3’s for Utah’s shooters. At one point in the 4th quarter Utah had hit 12 3-pointers; the Knicks only had hit 3 3-pointers — doing the math, 9 more 3 pointers = 27 points. And the Knicks were down about 27 at the time.

The Knicks finished 9-25 from 3; Utah finished 16-43 from 3 — that’s a 7 3-pointer difference aka 21 points.

Ntilikina Starred; As Did Mudiay

Frank Ntilikina had another sterling game, leaving Knicks Twitter to ask why didn’t he play more. He finished with 19 minutes, 16 points (6-10 shooting, 1-3 from 3, 3-3 on free throws) 4 rebounds 3 assits and a +10 in a game the Knicks lost by 24. He played good defense on Emmanuel Mudiay when he was on him.

Unfortunately Elfrid Payton was on Mudiay more, and Mudiay had a strong game against Payton. Mudiay came off the bench for 20 points on 8-12 shooting — many of that on athletic drives to the basket. Mudiay looked quick and fast and like he is becoming the point guard people predicted when he was picked so high in the draft — the point guard the Knicks saw a lot of last year, as he started to improve his game under Fizdale. Mudiay was recently quoted as saying Utah coach Quin Snyder has improved his game: “My IQ has improved. I thought I was a pretty OK, smart player until I came here. When I came here, [Coach Snyder] took it to another level.”

Donovan Mitchell scored 16 in 25 minutes; Utah didn’t need him much — they took control of this game early, pulling out to a double-digit lead in the 1st quarter. The Knicks launched a comeback to get within 3 in the 2nd quarter, but that was it — Utah started to steamroll and it was a 20+ point lead for them for most of the night.

Robinson With an “Off” Night

Mitchell Robinson did not play well until late in the game. He seemed out of position on some plays against Gobert, and was yanked to the bench. Finally in the last few minutes of the game he scored on an alley oop dunk and started to look like his lively self. He finished with 6 pts in 22 minutes on 3-4 shooting.

Lack of Firepower

With Morris and Randle out, the scoring load fell to Bobby Portis, Kevin Knox, RJ Barrett, and Reggie Bullock. And they just did not come close to offering up the firepower. Portis had a poor shooting night (5-17 for 13 pts), Knox was terrible again (2-10, 0-5 from 3 for 6 pts), and Bullock was 4-9 for 9 points. RJ Barrett attacked the basket numerous times but his drives were made difficult by Gobert and his shot rolled in and out numerous times. He finished with 10 points on 3-10 shooting but good news — he was 4-4 from the free throw line.

The Good News

So the Good News to take from this game was the splendid game of Frank Ntilikina — who was aggressive on offense, using pick and rolls to drive to the basket for layups several times, and simply played an excellent all-around game — measurable by that incredible +10 in the 24-point loss. And RJ Barrett hit his free throws and played well overall.

Iggy Ignas Brazdeikis got into the game in the 4th and made a terrific drive to the basket that seemed more lively than anything Knox had done all evening. Iggy made several aggressive attacking moves. Kadeem Allen also got into the game in the 4th quarter and looked good too.

Damyean Dotson also played well (11 pts on 5-9 in 22 minutes) and Wayne Ellington got minutes (11 pts on 4-6 shooting (3-5 from 3) in 22 minutes for a + 6). Allonzo Trier was the only Knick to get a DNP.


The Knicks limp home from 4 straight losses on the 4-game West Coast trip. They almost beat the LA Clippers in LA, and they shoulda beat Phoenix. But they were blown out by the Lakers and Utah — albiet they were missing a key starter in the last 3 games — Elfrid Payton, Marcus Morris, and Julius Randle were all out for at least one of the games.

The Knicks are now 10-28 and play 4 of their next 5 at home — the next two are against New Orleans Friday night at the Garden, and Miami Sunday afternoon at the Garden. The Knicks are still in Win-In-Second-Half mode, executing the plan — word is out they are not looking to trade Marcus Morris.

The Boxscore

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