Circus Shots. 4 Reasons Why Phoenix 118 NY 100 on 4-26-21

Cameron Johnson and Mikal Bridges came out of nowhere to kill NY in the 4th, and a gallant Knicks comeback was thwarted by Chris Paul hitting circus shots to end the Knicks 9-game winning streak, on a Monday night at the Garden. Luckily Atlanta also lost so the 34-28 Knicks remained tied for 4th place in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

1. Paul with Circus Shots

Chris Paul has helped a young Phoenix team take off this year — and willed them to a win in this one with his circus shots at the end.

  • NY had pulled to 111-107 with 1:23 left, and were playing their Tough defense — but Paul hit a 20-foot step back jumper to put Phoenix back up by 6.
  • Julius Randle hit a 3 to pull NY to within 3 with 1:09 left, and again were playing lock-down D — but there was Paul again guarded by Julius Randle — he hit a step-back  18-foot toss-it-up-hope-for-the-best prayer as the buzzer sounded with 44 seconds left — the killer.

  • and then Paul again with a 25-footer 3-pointer and the final dagger with 14 seconds left to put Phoenix up by 8

2. Bridges and Johnson Out of Nowhere

The Knicks had a 16-pt lead at one point in the 1st half but Phoenix pulled to within 7 at the half. It was a tie game entering the 4th. Former Knick Monty Williams is the Phoenix coach and he has them playing well — excellent Defense and well-run on offense.

But Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley made shots early in the quarter to put the Knicks up by 4 and it looked like the Knicks were going to take this one.

But Cameron Johnson, who had been missing everything all night, started hitting 3’s. He hit 3 BIG 3’s in the 4th to kill the Knicks.

And then Mikal Bridges, who the Knicks did not pick in the 2018 draft — selecting Kevin Knox instead — went off. He was hitting corner 3’s and flying in from the wing to the basket, scoring key buckets.

Bridges had 21 points on 8-12 shooting (3-6 from 3).

Devin Booker was tough as usual — 14-26 shooting for 33 points — almost hidden in plain site, as the other Suns carried them in the 4th. Even Frank Kaminsky came in to hit a key bucket and free throws in the 4th.

3. Center Matchup

Deandre Ayton was tough inside all evening with his defense — he only blocked 1 shot but caused the Knicks to alter and miss a lot of their inside drives. He had 9 points and 13 rebounds. Nerlens Noel (3 rebounds, 0 blocks) and Taj Gibson (3 rebounds, 0 blocks) didn’t have big nights — the Knicks could have used Mitchell Robinson‘s height in this game vs Ayton.

4. Randle With an Off Game

Julius Randle had what some called his worst half of the year in the 1st half. He picked it up in the second half, and finished 6-17 (3-6 from 3) for 18 pts, only 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.

RJ Barrett had 17 pts (7-18), and Reggie Bullock 17 on 6-11 shooting (4-8 from 3).

Elfrid Payton played well early — at the end of the 1st quarter he led the Knicks in rebounds (4) and assists (3), and was 1-1 for 2 pts — helping the Knicks to their early lead over Phoenix. But then Derrick Rose took over in the 2nd half and finished 10-18 for 22 pts in 33 minutes. Rose’s offense — his penetrations and floater especially — was a sure thing for NY in the 4th quarter.

The Boxscore



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