Best Win of the Year. 5 Reasons Why Knicks 106 LA Clippers 100 on 5-9-21

The Knicks fell behind 10-0, and then soundly beat the LA Clippers in Los Angeles on a Mother’s Day Sunday afternoon on National television. The Knicks took a 10-pt lead in the 3rd quarter and maintained a 6- to 8-point distance on the Clippers throughout most of the 4th quarter, icing the game on a Julius Randle step-back jumper to take an 8-pt lead with 39 seconds left.

The Clippers were at full strength; the Knicks were missing Immanuel Quickley and Alec Burks, not to mention Mitchell Robinson out for the rest of the regular season with the broken foot.

It was a huge win in terms of the trying to get the 4th spot in the playoff push as well — NY improved its record to 38-30, and is 1 game ahead of Atlanta and Miami with 4 games left.

Afterwards, compliments were coming at the Knicks from far and wide across the NBA spectrum. The Knicks for the first time in 10 years have arrived as a team being taken very seriously; admired even.


1. Defense

Said NBA analyst Bobby Marks, “Kawhi Leonard and Paul George look like they are in quick sand against the Knicks D. A highly impressive performance today.”

Taj Gibson and Nerlens Noel anchored the middle of a suffocating team defense.

Said former NBA star and current analyst Kendrick Perkins, “Impressive win by the Knicks today going into Staples and putting the Clippers over their lap and giving them a straight spanking! Btw the @nyknicks are 3-2 on the current west coast trip. The rest of the Eastern Conference better be on the lookout for this Kicks team! Carry on..”

Taj Gibson and Nerlens Noel also contributed efficiently to the offense; Gibson had 8 pts on 2-3 shooting, 4-4 in free throws, 2 blocks and Noel had 5 pts on 2-3 shooting, 2 steals, a block and a +11.

2. Vintage Rose Put on a Show

The star of the game for NY was Derrick Rose — who announced to anyone who hadn’t been paying attention that this is Vintage Derrick Rose playing every night.

Rose led the Knicks comeback in the 1st quarter and the whole evening. He was relentless pushing the Knicks North to South, and had 25 pts on 11-17 shooting (2-3 from 3) and 8 assists for a +7 in 32 minutes.

Elfrid Payton only had 2 pts on 1-5 shooting in 16 minutes but played well — and was especially called out by Mark Jackson on National TV for the good job he’s doing. Jackson chastised the fans who think they know more than Tom Thibodeau, one of the best coaches in the game, who continues to start Payton for his ability to penetrate and play Defense.

Fans blamed Payton for the early 10-0 lead by the Clippers but an examination of the boxscore showed Payton had a -1 (with 2 rebounds and 3 assists in the 16 minutes).

After the game, coach Tom Thibodeau called out the excellent ball pressure Payton provided in the 2nd half.

3. Bullock Unsung Hero for 46 Minutes

Reggie Bullock was simply amazing again: he played 46 minutes of the 48-minute game, guarding Kwahi Leonard or Paul George the whole evening; giving them fits and being an assassin from the outside. Bullock had 24 points on 8-17 shooting (5-12 from 3) for a +15.

4. Barrett Star

RJ Barrett played like a star all afternoon — tremendous Defense, and his usual game of bully drives and precision 3-pt shooting.  Like Bullock he played almost the entire game — 45 minutes. He had 18 pts on 7-18 shooting (4-7 from 3), 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and a +3.

With the score 91-85 and 5:30 left, Barrett spotted up at the 3-pt line and clapped his hands calling for the ball from Rose, who swung to him and Barrett calmly nothing-but-netted a 3 — a Huge bucket to give the Knicks a 9-pt lead. Danny Small pointed out in a tweet, “RJ Barrett hit a three in each quarter against the Clippers. He was 4-7 from deep in the game, pushing his 3PT% for the season to 40.3%”

5. Randle Led with Grit; “Sprayed the Ball”; Hit Big Shots at End

Julius Randle had only 14 points on 7-19 shooting (0-4 from 3) but led the team all night with his ferocity, passing, defense, and rebounding — and then hit the big shots at the end to assure the win for the Knicks. He had 14 rebounds, 5 assists, and a +7 in 38 minutes.

Said “The chemistry, the defensive tenacity, and Julius Randle leading the way… these @nyknicks come to battle every game!”

Other Knicks

Obi Toppin gave the Knicks 10 terrific minutes off the bench again.

The Boxscore

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