“This Close” — Feb 9, 2020: Atlanta 140 NY 135 2 OT

The Knicks could have one this see-saw battle at the end of regulation, when Julius Randle went to the hole on the final play of the game, but just missed on his drive.

The Knicks should have won this one in the 1st overtime, when they took a 7-pt lead with 2 minutes left.

Instead, it was a heartbreaking loss, breaking the Knicks 4-game winning streak. NY had just won in Detroit less than 24 hours later (this game started at 6pm in Atlanta after the Knicks had just beaten Detroit in Detroit at 10pm the night before).

Atlanta led 109-99 with 7:08 left in regulation, but the Knicks laid down Defense to get back in it, and almost won it on the Randle drive.

Young = “NBA Protected” Superstar

We saw why Trae Young scores so many points — he has been promoted to “NBA Protected” player. Elfrid Payton was given the job of defending him much of the night, and Payton got called for fouls if he simply put his hands toward Young. Elfrid had to literally keep his hands at his side late in the game for fear of another foul. And Young has mastered James Harden acting class as well; he threw his arms and head several times to draw fouls. One play that Atlanta ran several times was a pick by DeWayne Dedmon at the top of the key, where Trae Young would dribble into his own man Dedmon, throw his head back and arms up to pretend to be fouled. And he’d get it!

This was also the night of the Academy Awards — they started at 8pm EST, just as the Knicks game was coming to the end of regulation. Trae Young was putting on an Academy Award acting performance.

Payton & Ntilikina

Frank Ntilikina tried to guard Young, but Young feasted on him as well. In crunch time — and there were 3 crunch times — coach Miller mostly had Payton on Young.

Payton balled out, but made some errors in both of the 2 overtimes and got reamed by Knicks twitter. He orchestrated and penetrated and played as good a D as he could against the ref-protected Trae Young; Payton had 12 points, 9 assists.

Robinson Dominated Inside

Mitchell Robinson starred for the Knicks. He dominated the interior — 15 points on 7-8, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3 steals.

Randle Heroic But Needed Morris

Julius Randle performed heroically (35 pts on 13-25 shooting, 18 rebounds), but the Knicks could’ve used Marcus Morris in this game, as Randle tried to do too much in the OT’s — and was denied at the basket on several drives — Atlanta was keying on Randle and clogging the lane, something that would not have happened if the Knicks had Morris’s lethal mid-range game available.

RJ Barrett did not fill Morris’ shoes; he was 2-6 for 5 points in 22 minutes. The Knicks instead got firepower from Reggie Bullock (8-18, 5-10 frm 3 for 21 pts), Wayne Ellington (5-10 for 15 pts), Bobby Portis (5-11, 14 pts), and Ntilikina 9 pts, 8 assists.

Dennis Smith Jr played horribly early and was lifted; he finished with 2 points in 8 minutes.

The Boxscore



Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.