Couldn’t Hold the Lead. Charlotte 104 NY 96

In a game of runs, Kemba Walker led the Knicks to a 16-point, 2nd quarter lead before Charlotte surged back to take an 11 point-lead in the 3rd quarter, before the Knick reserve team came roaring back to take the lead, 93-91, with 4:30 left in the game. Charlotte took it to the Knicks in the end, however, outscoring them 11-3 to win the game, 104-96, on a Friday night in Charlotte.

1. Bridges Stars

Miles Bridges starred in the final 5 minutes — playing good D, grabbing rebounds, and making 3 powerful offensive plays to give Charlotte command of the game:

  • a windmill dunk to tie the game 93-93 with 4:23 left,
  • a wonderful spin move around Julius Randle at the top of the key and layup to give Charlotte a 98-93 lead with 2:12 left, then
  • a drive against bodies in the lane for a layup and foul — a 3-pt play — to give Charlotte a 101-95 lead with 1:31 left. “Gymnastic, acrobatic” as Walt Frazier called it.

Miles Bridges had 24 pts on the game on 8-17 shooting (3-10 from 3), severely outplaying Julius Randle in general and during the final 4 minutes when Julius was put back into the game relieving Obi Toppin who had played great.

The 6’7 Bridges is now averaging 21.5 ppg on the season and it is now becoming clear the Knicks made a mistake by passing on him and Mikal Bridges (no relation, averaging 14.6 ppg for Phoenix) to pick Kevin Knox with the #9 in the 2018 draft (not to mention Shai-Gilgeous Alexander with a 22.5 ppg average for Oklahoma, and Michael Porter Jr.

The talk before the draft was which of those forwards the Knicks should pick, and so far it looks like the Knicks got it wrong.

It looked like NY got it way wrong with Michael Porter Jr. — who arrived as a star last season, averaging 19.0 ppg and shooting 44% from 3. However, he is only averaging 9.9 ppg this year in 29 mpg after 9 games, including .208 from 3 and .556 from free throw line, after signing a massive 5-yr, $35M/yr contract this summer. Porter is “Out Indefinitely” with a bad back — which cost him his senior year in college, his first year in the NBA, and was why NY skipped him in the draft.

2. Toppin Stars

The good news is that it looks like the Knicks did well in the 2020 draft, selecting Obi Toppin at #8. He was terrific off the bench again in this game — scoring 7 pts on 3-9 shooting and 8 rebounds in 15 minutes — playing with an energy on the offensive and defensive end of the court that was a big part of the Knicks reserves doing so well. Toppin had a +10.

3. Quickley Looked Good

Immanuel Quickley was another big part of the 2nd team’s success again — 9 pts on 3-8 shooting (3-7 from 3) in 21 minutes. He was also aggressive on offense and defense.

Alec Burks was the Knicks big scorer on the 2nd team — 15 pts on 6-12 shooting (3-6 from 3) and 9 rebounds in 25 minutes.

4. Kemba Scored; Knick Starters Iced Cold?

Kemba Walker broke out in a big way against his old team Charlotte, hitting 3 after 3 in the 1st and 2nd quarters. But the troubling thing is that he got his, but RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, and Evan Fournier all had poor games. They didn’t get easy shots within the flow of the offense — it was mostly Walker coming up and shooting 3’s.

Barrett had a horrific 1-9 (0-2 from 3) night for 2 pts in 26 minutes and a -17. Randle was 4-15 (1-5 from 3) for 10 pts in 33 minutes, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and a -18.

Kemba finished with 26 pts on 9-19 shooting (4-9 from 3) but had a team-worst -23.

5. Charlotte Has Good Team

Miles Bridges wasn’t the only Hornet to hurt the Knicks; Gordon Hayward had 22, LaMelo Ball had 17 rebounds and 9 assists (although he shot poorly — 4-13 including 0-5 from 3 for 12 pts, but had a +18), Terry Rozier had 18 pts, and Kelly Oubre Jr hit a big 3 in the final 4 minutes and had 12 pts.

The Boxscore


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