Knicks Blow Another in Final Minutes. Atlanta 117 NY 111

It was laughable at the end. The Knicks up by 10 over Atlanta with 7 minutes left at MSG. But then they starting to cough it up as usual yet still were up 3 after a thunderous Mitchell Robinson Dunk down the lane off a beautiful feed from Alec Burks with 3:26 left. There was hope they wouldn’t blow another.

And then on the next play NY played Great defense, forcing Bogdan Bogdonavic to fire up a 3 with a second left on the shot clock — he missed — but Clint Capella — who Robinson had outplayed all night — came up with the offensive rebound — fed Trae Young for a 3. Bang. Tie game.

Then after an Alec Burks miss, Bogdonavic another 3. Bang. Atlanta up by 3 with 2:11 left.

Then after an Alec Burks turnover, Atlanta’s De’Andre Hunter with a 3. Bang. Atlanta up by 6 with 1:35 left.

Then after RJ Barrett lost the ball, Trae Young with a pullup. Bang. Atlanta up by 8 with 1 minute left. Ballgame.

After that it was about NY fouling on purpose and Atlanta hitting their free throws.

Trae Young did his shimmie to the MSG fans. The new, ultimate villain. He finished with 45 points. It was the first time Atlanta beat NY this year; the Knicks won the other 3 times.

But the loss killed any faint chances NY had of playoffs. NY is now 30-42; Atlanta is 36-36 in the 10th and final spot. The Knicks could’ve been 4 behind with 10 to play if they won. Now they are 6 behind.

1. Barrett Scores 30

RJ Barrett had a bang-up game: 30 points and 13 rebounds.

But Marc Berman of the NY Post noted in a controversial tweet that Barrett gave the Knicks nothing down the stretch, sans the last-second layup to get him to 30 points. And Barrett was only 9-25 from the floor and 11-17 in free throws.

Fans countered that the offense ran thru Burks at the end; and Atlanta purposely bottled the lane to prevent Barrett drives — and also Julius Randle was out for this game with the leg injury — so Atlanta could key on Barrett.

It was also noted that for most of the game, NY’s offense is driven by Barrett’s penetrations — and kickouts. So even if he doesn’t make all his contested drives inside — he is driving the offense.

2. Burks & Quickley at the Point

Burks had a good game — 21 points — as the starting point guard, and Immanuel Quickley looked good at the point again off the bench: 17 points on 6-11 shooting (3-5 from 3).

3. Toppin Starts at Power Forward

With Randle out, Obi Toppin started at Power Forward for the first time and had a good game: 10 points on 5-7 shooting in 24 minutes. He wasn’t in during the 4th quarter due to 5 fouls.

Instead, coach Tom Thibodeau had Taj Gibson in at the end playing alongside Mitchell Robinson. On a switch late in the game, Gibson found himself guarding Trae Young — and Young easily broke Gibson’s ankle’s leaving him literally on the floor while he sank a deuce in the lane.

This drew ire of Knicks fans who wondered why Toppin wasn’t in, and also why Miles McBride — a great defender — nor Quentin Grimes — were in at the end.

4. Robinson Dominates Capela

As mentioned, Robinson dominated Clint Capela all evening, except for that last rebound. Robinson had 9 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 blocks in 35 minutes; Capela only 2 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 block in 29 minutes.

The Boxscore




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