Complete Knick Meltdown in 4th. Portland 112 NY 103

The Knicks were cruising to a win over the 22-34 Portland Trail Blazers in Portland — leading by 23 points in the 3rd and showing they were clearly the better team — when Portland mounted a comeback and NY started to wilt, and then completely melted down. Portland outscored NY 35-11 in the 4th quarter to win going away, 112-103.

It may have been the worst Knick loss of the season, and lands them at 25-32 with only 25 games left. There is very little time for NY to right this season.

1. Train Wreck Started in 3rd

The train wreck began at the end of the 3rd quarter, as Portland started to erase some of the 23-point Knick lead. NY led 79-56 with 5:22 left in the 3rd after Kemba Walker made 2 free throws.

But then Anfernee Simons started to heat up — hitting a floater and a 3 and later a dunk to pull Portland within 15. Josh Hart‘s 3 pointer near the end of the quarter pulled Portland to within 13 but a Mitchell Robinson dunk had NY back up by 15 entering the 4th.

And then the slow motion train wreck just continued. Anfernee Simons was at the heart of it for Portland, hitting key 3’s — and NY just couldn’t put the ball in the basket.

2. Key Turning Point

With the Knicks up 13 at 94-81, Alec Burks drove for a layup and just missed in traffic, put back his own offensive rebound but it rolled out in a scurry under the basket — the ball coming out to Portland who fast-breaked it the other way where Elijah Hughes hit a 3 and just like that Portland was within 10 at 94-84.

It was a back-breaker play and gave Portland more momentum.

3. Robinson Sprained Ankle: Missed the 4th

Mitchell Robinson had sprained his ankle with 9 minutes left in the 3rd, went to the lockerroom apparently gone for the evening, but surprisingly returned to the game with 3 minutes left in the 3rd. But he was clearly not himself and not able to get up to block shots. Soon Thibodeau pulled him from the game completely — leaving the Knicks with Taj Gibson and Jericho Sims at center for the 4th. That hurt, as it allowed Portland to drive to the rim. It also allowed Jusuf Nurkic to dominate inside on some key plays — Gibson not big enough to handle the mountain-sized Nurkic.

And the Knicks were without RJ Barrett and his defense and ability to get to the rim on offense. And of course the Knicks continue to badly miss Derrick Rose, at the end of games especially. He remains out after ankle surgery, and is due to return sometime after the All Star break.

4. “Mismatches and Miscommunication”

With Simons driving to the hoop or hitting jumpers, Ben McLemore adding 3’s, Justise Winslow playing excellent Defense, Portland evaporated the Knick lead and went ahead 99-98 on a Nurkic dunk with 4 minutes left.

There were “mismatches and miscommunications all over the place for the Knicks right now”, as Knick broadcast analyst Wally Szczerbiak put it.

One final key play came with 1:10 left and NY down 108-103 with the ball — Taj Gibson collided with a Portland player and a foul was called, meaning Gibson could go to the line to cut it to a 3-pt game. But the call was challenged and overruled, meaning NY coughed up the ball.

Portland scored the final 6 points to roll the Knicks over. Train Wreck complete.

5. Earlier — Knicks Looked Good, Led by Randle

Earlier in the game, the Knicks looked good — led by Julius Randle who continued his terrific recent play. Randle finished with 28 points on 8-20 shooting (although 0-4 from 3; 12-13 in free throws), 16 rebounds, and 6 assists. He was the lone Knick who seemed able to score in the 4th.

Quentin Grimes had a terrific game — 20 points on 6-10 shooting (5-8 from 3) and terrific defense.

Kemba Walker also scored over 20 — he had 23 points on 7-12 shooting (4-8 from 3). He hit a 3 and was fouled for a 4-pt play at one point.

6. Terrible Game by Fournier

But if there was one Knick who the fickle finger of blame pointed to it was Evan Fournier who couldn’t do anything right all evening. He shot 1-13 (1-10 from 3) for 4 points in 26 minutes and 3 turnovers — he seemed to either be missing shots or dribbling the ball off someone’s foot all evening.

Fournier’s bad night overshadowed another poor shooting evening for Immanuel Quickley: 1-6 including 0-3 from 3 in 11 minutes.

Obi Toppin did nothing in 8 minutes. Cam Reddish looked good in 14 minutes, scoring 6 points.

Anfernee Simons finished with 30 points for Portland.

The Boxscore


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.