Durant’s 53 Points Too Much. Brooklyn 110 Knicks 107

Kevin Durant looks to have put the final dagger in the Knicks season, with an unstoppable and easy-going 53-point performance culminating with a 3-pointer with 56 seconds left to give Brooklyn a 106-103 lead that ended up being the game winner. On a Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn. To beat the Knicks 110-107.

Julius Randle retaliated after Durant’s 3 with a drive down the lane for a dunk, and the Knicks got the ball again after a Durant miss — with a chance to take the lead with 10 seconds left — but Evan Fournier from the baseline, made a bad pass inside to Mitchell Robinson, intercepted by Bruce Brown, and that was ballgame. The Knicks had to intentionally foul and Brooklyn got the ball to Durant — who made both free throws to ice it.

The Knicks fall to 28-40, losing for the second game in a row in the final minutes (Memphis beat them down the stretch Friday night), something NY has seemingly set a record for this year.

1. Durant and a Bunch of Joe Schmoe’s

Kyrie Irving was on the sidelines — not allowed to play because he hasn’t taken a COVID vaccine shot and NY State rules do not allow him to play. Without him, Brooklyn takes on the look of Kevin Durant and a bunch of no names — sans Goran Dragic, who the Nets just picked up at age 36, and Andre Drummond, who is still in his prime as one of the elite centers of all time but nobody seems to care about him anymore.

Drummond had 18 points on 8-8 shooting and 10 rebounds in 27 minutes — certainly numbers that are not out of style. But he seemed an afterthought in the Nets attack.

Goran Dragic — having missed the first 3/4 of the season — looks nowhere near the Goran Dragic of 2 years ago and before. He was a pedestrian 3-8 for 7 points in 38 minutes.

The Nets starting 5 is rounded out by Bruce Brown (15 pts on 7-14 shooting) and Patty Mills (2-11 for 5 pts in 31 minutes).

2. Durant’s Effortless 53 Points

They all played in the shadow of Kevin Durant, who glided thru the evening, scoring 53 points effortlessly. Popping 3’s with a man in his face all night. That man for the most part in the 4th quarter was RJ Barrett — one of the Knicks’ best defenders.

Coach Tom Thibodeau said afterwards that he preferred to have Julius Randle on Durant because of his size, but Randle was in foul trouble. So he went with Barrett on him with Julius coming over for double teams.

Barrett was at a height disadvantage — 6’6 to Durant’s 6’11 — but Barrett was keyed up on Durant and did not allow him to get near the lane. Julius Randle did come over constantly to double team. Didn’t matter. Durant hit jumper after jumper.

3. Sims Terrific; Robinson Should Have Guarded Durant?

Jericho Sims played most of the 4th quarter and was very active — he had a +20 in 23 minutes to Robinson’s -17 in 22 minutes on the night.

But in the final seconds Mitchell Robinson was brought back in for his offense (and was there when Fournier made the bad pass trying to get him the ball).

On one play earlier in the game, Robinson guarded Durant and shut him down — blocking his shot on the perimeter — leaving Knick fans to wonder why Robinson wasn’t playing Durant more in the final quarter.

4. Barrett, Randle and Fournier Excelled

RJ Barrett played well — guarding Durant on the one end, and attacking the basket all night on the other. He finished with 24 points on 8-21 shooting (1-5 from 3; 7-8 from the free throw line).

Oddly enough, with the Knicks down 108-107 with 2.6 seconds left, Barrett was on the line for the 2nd of 2 free throws needing to MISS to give the Knicks a Hail Mary’s chance of grabbing the offensive rebound. He put the ball up softly trying to miss it off the front rim — but made the free throw.

Julius Randle had 26 points on 9-17 shooting (3-7 from 3; 5-6 in free throws), 4 rebounds, 4 assists — but was second banana to Durant.

Despite the key turnover late, Evan Fournier had a good shooting night — 25 points on 9-13 shooting (5-8 from 3; 2-2 in free throws).

5. Toppin Huge 3’s

Obi Toppin hit two HUGE back-to-back 3’s in the 4th quarter to pull the Knicks back from 7 points behind in the game.

6. Burks and Quickley at the Point

Alec Burks was 2-9 for 5 points and 7 assists in 36 minutes as the starting point guard. Immanuel Quickley ran the point with aggression off the benc — but shot poorly again: 2-10 (0-5 from 3) for 5 points. Miles McBride played 11 minutes and only took 1 shot (0 points) but had a +13.

The Boxscore



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