Tough Night for Randle. LA Clippers 106 NY 95

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George hit their shots in the 4th quarter, and the Knicks didn’t hit enough of theirs as LA came back from a late 3rd quarter deficit to win easily at arena in LA on a Saturday afternoon.

Old friend Marcus Morris manhandled Julius Randle all game, forcing him into a piss-poor 5-24 shooting night, as the refs ‘let them play’. And when Randle was called for a foul and a tech on an errant elbow off a Knick rebound with .03 seconds left in the 3rd quarter, with the Knicks up a point — he had had enough — flipping out in anger on the sidelines — the Knicks team successfully keeping him away from the refs.

Randle cooled his heels and came back in with 6:28 left in the game but by that time LA was up 89-81 and had momentum. Randle immediately hit a 3 but the Knicks didn’t score enough down the stretch to match the Clippers.

“There was definitely a physicality to the game,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “Heat of the battle. Sometimes you can get frustrated. It’s an emotional game. Just keep playing. They were tangled up, and there’s a lot going on prior to that. Sometimes that becomes a by-product of all the other stuff. I don’t have a problem with the way a game is being called, as long as there’s a consistency to it. If we’re calling it tight, call it tight; if we’re calling it loose, call it loose. Just make sure it’s the same for both teams.”

1. Quickley Had Bounce Back Game

The Knicks were again without Jalen Brunson who is out with the ankle sprain. Immanuel Quickley started again at the point, and had a strong bounce-back game after two bad shooting nights previously. Quick finished with 26 points on 8-18 shooting (3-8 from 3, 7-8 in free throws), with 10 rebounds and 4 assists.

Quick led the Knicks to solid play and a slim lead throughout the first half and 3rd quarter.

“He got going pretty good, and they went to the blitz to get the ball out of his hands,” said Thibs afterwards. “We got to trust the pass, and get off the ball and make the second pass. And sometimes we did and ended up with wide open shots and didn’t knock them down. But as long as we take the right shots and the process is right, that’s what you’re looking for.”

2. Barrett Strong in 3rd

RJ Barrett had a slow offensive start to the game again, but came out strong in the 3rd quarter — again. Barrett was 1-4 at the half for 2 points, but hit 4 of his first 5 shots in the 3rd, including two 3’s and all of a sudden he was 5-9 for 12 points.

Barrett’s 3 with 3:43 left in the 3rd gave NY a 70-68 lead. But he only took three more shots in the game — missing one at end of the 3rd quarter and missing both shots he took in the 4th quarter — one at start of the quarter and one at the end — to finish 5-12 from the floor.

Barrett had a tough defensive assignment all night, guarding Kawhi Leonard.

Barrett was on the court at start of the 4th when NY fell behind by 8 points and was removed with 10:28 left, returning with 4:33 left and NY down 12.

“I didn’t like the way we started the 4th,” said Thibs afterwards. He wasn’t necessarily blaming Barrett — LA had just gained momentum after the play at the end of the 3rd.

3. The Play at End of the 3rd

NY had a 74-73 lead when Terance Mann missed a jumper at end of the 3rd quarter — Isaiah Hartenstein and Julius Randle converging on the rebound with Mason Plumlee. Hartenstein grabbed it and Randle inadvertently hit Plumlee with an elbow. Randle was called for a foul and technical — and he erupted in anger on the Knicks sidelines as the refs were reviewing the play.

4. Kawhi & George Hit Their Shots in 4th

Barrett and Josh Hart had their hands full guarding Kawhi Leonard, who was in his bag — 38 points on 14-22 shooting.

Paul George also hit key 3’s in the 4th, seemingly every time the Knicks were successfully cutting into the Clipper lead. Mason Plumlee was tough inside for LA all night, and Eric Gordon (10 pts) made big buckets driving the lane.

Russell Westbrook mostly facilitated — 7 points on 3-8 shooting, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists in 23 minutes.

5. Toppin Broke Free

Obi Toppin broke free a number of times for ahead-of-the-field slam dunks in the first half — the Knicks team defense forcing turnovers and finding him. He had 10 points on 4-9 shooting in 10 minutes — although he was 0-4 from 3.

The game almost seemed a throwback to the end of last season — Julius Randle had a poor shooting night, while Obi Toppin shined. Randle ended up with 19 points on 5-24 shooting — although he was 3-10 from 3 which isn’t bad. He was mostly missing drives inside against a physical defense, the ball rolling in and out.

5. Mitch Banged Inside for NY

Mitchell Robinson played a tough interior game for NY — 14 rebounds and 2 blocks, with 6 points in 28 minutes.

Quentin Grimes had a strong game — 7 pts on 3-8 shooting — although he too didn’t hit the 3 ball — 0-4 from 3.

The Boxscore


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