Just Missed. Randle’s Game Winner with 3 Seconds Left Bounces Off. Toronto 90 NY 87

With NY down 89-87, Julius Randle‘s 3 with 3 seconds left just missed, and NY went down to defeat in this nip-and-tuck, down-to-the-wire game in Toronto on a Friday night. The Knicks were forced to foul and did get another shot with .6 seconds left after Gary Trent Jr missed a free throw — but RJ Barrett‘s desperation catch-and-release 3 with a man in his face, just bounced off too.

Derrick Rose had put NY up 87-86 with 1:42 left, but a Trent Jr 3-pointer with 1:11 left was the decider. The Knicks had put shooters in to counter a zone defense by Toronto, but were playing a small team and Toronto killed NY on the boards late — Trent’s deciding 3 came after 2 offensive rebounds by Toronto. The Knicks fell to 12-14 in this thus-far disappointing season.

1. Toppin Fantastic

The highlight of this game for the Knicks was Obi Toppin, who got 24 minutes off the bench, often playing with Julius Randle (37) minutes. Toppin lit up the arena with energy on offense and defense — and scored 19 points on 6-14 shooting (1-5 from 3; 6-6 in free throws) and had 10 rebounds.

2. Knicks Got in Big Hole; Great D in 3rd

The Knicks were down 31-14 after the 1st quarter. After that, they limited their turnovers and played better defense. “The way we started the game really hurt us,” said Coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “So we got into a big hole, had to fight, and then and then we downsized to get more shooters on the floor, and then the rebounding hurt us in the end. Our turnovers hurt us in the 1st quarter.”

3. Barrett Led Knicks in Scoring

RJ Barrett didn’t shoot well — 5-16 (2-7 from 3) but had a team-high 19 points and did shoot 7-8 from the free throw line — an important aspect of his game that is improving. The ability to be aggressive and go to the hoop, draw a foul, and hit free throws at a good percentage is important for a scoring guard. His free throw percentage on the season is now .733; down slightly from last year’s .743 but much better than his rookie season of .614.

Barrett is now shooting .353 from 3 (after last year’s .401, and rookie-year .320). He is averaging 15.1 ppg (after 17.6 last year — but NY has Evan Fournier, Alec Burks, and previously Kemba Walker taking more shots). And now Obi Toppin too.

Julius Randle only took 9 shots — going 4-9 (1-4 from 3) but spent the night doing everything else — defending, rebounding (14 rebounds) and passing (5 assists).

Alec Burks was 0-7 from the floor for 1 pt in 37 minutes.

Nerlens Noel started for the 3rd straight game, with Mitchell Robinson coming off the bench. Noel only played 13 minutes and had 6 points but a -12. Robinson played 18 minutes and had 4 pts and a +4.

The Boxscore




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