Worst Loss of the Year. 6 Reasons Why Dallas 99 NY 86 on 4-2-21

The worst loss of the year. Arguably. Some people said the loss to Minnesota, the worst team in the league record-wise, was worse. This one hurt more in my eyes because:

1. Knicks Had No Life at End of Game

This one looked like it was going to be a win for the Knicks, on their Madison Square Garden home court on a low-key frigid (35 degrees) Friday night in NYC.

Toppin Shines Early

In the 2nd quarter, the Knick reserves — led by Obi Toppin and Alec Burks — went on a 19-7 run to give the Knicks a 13-pt lead with 7 minutes left to the half. With another push, it looked like the Knicks might go to a 20-pt lead in this game by the half.

Dallas Late 2nd Quarter Run Hurt Knicks

But then it went the other way. Josh Richardson and Tim Hardaway hit a bunch of buckets to bring Dallas right back. Luka Doncic hit a step back 3 with 13 seconds left in the half to give Dallas a 3-pt lead at the half.

The teams see-sawed in the 3rd, Dallas maintaining the 3-pt lead entering the 4th.

Knicks Had No Life in the 4th

The game was right there for the Knicks to take, on their home court. But they couldn’t hit shots. Dallas did not play good ball, but they did more than the Knicks did — with the likes of Jalen Brunson coming off the bench to burn them repeatedly. Jalen is the son of former Knick Rick Brunson, who is now an assistant coach for Tom Thibodeau. Brunson is averaging 12.7 off the bench for Dallas and had 15 points and a +34 in this one.

Finally with 1 minute 34 seconds left and down by 11 the Knicks started playing a pressure defense, and Julius Randle and RJ Barrett hit shots. Way too little too late.

Just a deadening loss.

2. Barrett, Randle, Rose, and Quickley all Stunk

Julius Randle was 5-20 (1-7 from 3) for 14 points and a -18. He did have 8 rebounds and 11 assists. Randle was questionable to play coming into the game due to an injured thigh. Alan Hahn on the post game also suggested that Julius having to do so much playmaking takes away some of his energy on scoring, as the Knicks aren’t getting a lot from their point guards.

RJ Barrett was also questionable coming into this game with a sprained ankle. He was 3-11 (2-5 from 3) for 8 points and a -22 in 31 minutes.

Derrick Rose was 1-10 (0-2 from 3) for 2 points and a +3 in 25 minutes. He was also questionable coming into the game with a sprained ankle.

Immanuel Quickley wasn’t the answer either — 2-9 (1-5 from 3) for 6 points and a -3 in 22 minutes.

The guys who did help the Knicks offensively:

  • Alec Burks — continues to play as the Knicks’ “Poor Man’s Kobe Bryant” — he was 6-11 (4-6 from 3) for 20 pts in 29 minutes. He was the one guy on the Knicks giving them life on the offensive side in this game.
  • Obi Toppin — as mentioned above — he shined in the 2nd quarter, and finished with 4-5 shooting for 9 pts in 11 minutes
  • Taj Gibson — played Porzingis well. At one point he blocked a Porzingis shot from behind, and all night long kept Porzingis boxed out away from the basket. Gibson had 4 pts on 2-3 shooting and 4 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals in 28 minutes, with Great D and a +8.
  • Elfrid Payton — was 3-6 in 14 minutes for 6 points and a -5. The day leading up to this game Elfrid was RIPPED by half of Knicks Twitter for costing the Knicks the previous game. Which he didn’t. It is Lord of the Flies time on Knicks Twitter and Payton is “piggy”. Despite the fact that Payton has played good ball this year, and coach Thibs has mentioned many times he drives the club on offense and defense.

  • Reggie Bullock — shot 4-10 from the floor (4-9 from 3) for 13 pts.

3. Dallas Has Porzingis

Gibson did a great job defending Porzingis and at one point KP was something like 1-9 from the floor. The Knicks were leading and Porzingis was doing terribly. It was looking like a good revenge night but in the end Porzingis got last laugh. He did enough in the 4th quarter to get 14 points and a +16 on 6-17 shooting (1-7 from 3). Some of that was against Nerlens Noel who had a -21.

And Tim Hardaway Jr also lit the Knicks up for 14 pts on 5-9 shooting (3-6 from 3) for a +12.

4. The Knicks Own Dallas’s #1 Pick this June

And of course the Knicks own Dallas’s #1 pick this June so that made this loss even more despicable. After a very tough time a month ago when it looked like Dallas was heading south and that pick might be a lottery pick, Dallas is now 26-21. NY is the one under .500 now at 24-25.


5. Dallas Not that Good Talent Wise

This one also hurt because the Knicks in my eyes have more talent than Dallas. The Mavericks have Doncic who is great — but Randle has been playing as well as Doncic — that should be an even matchup. Dallas has KP, who has played badly this year; the Knicks have RJ Barrett. Dallas has Tim Hardaway; NY has Burks, and Rose, and Quickley, etc. NY shouldn’t be letting Jalen Brunson kill them.

The loss to Minnesota was really bad, but Minny has terrific young talent in Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, Malik Beasley, Jaden McDaniels, and a terrific coach in Chris Finch who is turning things around there quickley. They are a team on the rise who in the last two weeks has beaten Phoenix, come from way behind to beat Houston, and come from way behind to almost beat Brooklyn.

6. Obi Toppin a Bright Spot

As mentioned above, besides Alec Burks shooting, and Taj Gibson’s defense — Obi Toppin’s play was a highlight of the evening for the Knicks. In that second quarter he was everywhere — slam dunking, driving to the basket, and blocking shots on D.

This was a game where with perfect hindsight you wished Thibodeau played Obi more in the 4th quarter.

The Boxscore



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