DiVincenzo Leads Frenetic Comeback. But Knicks Couldn’t Hit the 3. Utah 117 NY 113

The Knicks blew what should have been an easy win against the 8-16 Utah Jazz by shooting 9-39 (23%) from 3 and missing two game-tying 3’s in the final 30 seconds — one by Josh Hart with 27 seconds left and one by Jalen Brunson off a Hart offensive rebound of his own miss.

The Knicks couldn’t hit the 3 all evening, and Utah could — shooting 16-42 from 3 (38.1%) and that was the difference. NY looked like it would win the game easily in the 1st quarter, getting out to a 10-point lead, but then allowed Utah to not only get back in the game, but take a 5-point lead entering the 4th quarter that they would balloon to a 17-point lead with 6 minutes left.

But Donte DiVincenzo launched a frenetic Knick comeback — with scrappy defense and 3-point shooting to pull NY to within the 3 points with 27 seconds left. Alas.

Even after the missed 3’s, and a 2-1 exchange of made free throws — Utah tried to kick the game back to NY one final time when Lauri Markkanen missed two free throws with 10 seconds left. But with NY down 4, Jalen Brunson missed a pullup jumper with 6 seconds left to put a fitting end to the evening.

Utah had lost 5 in a row coming in — but serendipity — their best player Lauri Markkanen had missed all those games due to injury, and was back for this game against NY. Walker Kessler had also missed the prior game with injury but was back for this one, and he devastated NY inside all evening. NY missed Mitchell Robinson.

“At the end of the 3rd — we didn’t close that well. We fought all the way back but we didn’t close it the way we should have,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “Because we weren’t shooting the 3 well we started hesitating and you can’t hesitate. And that led to.. our rebounding was a problem. And we paid for it. Had we rebounded we probably would have won the game.”

NY drops to 13-10; Utah improves to 8-16.

1. Randle Bully Ball — Knicks in Control In 1st Quarter

The Knicks looked like they would win this game easily early on as they built a 10-point lead in the 2nd quarter and if they had hit a few 3’s, would have had a much larger lead than that.

Julius Randle was bully balling inside — using combinations of power moves to score at will against the Utah front line.

Randle would finish with 32 points on 14-23 shooting, with 12 rebounds, 6 assists, a steal, a block, and only 2 turnovers.

2. Barrett Stinker

Up by 10 in the 1st quarter, the Knicks could have put the game away if they had hit a few 3’s. But they couldn’t. RJ Barrett had a Stinker game — he was 0-10 at the half — before coming on strong in the 3rd quarter. He finished 3-16 for 9 points, including 0-7 from 3.

3. Utah Kept Hitting 3’s; NY Kept Missing 3’s

Jalen Brunson was 0-6 from 3, Josh Hart was 0-4 from 3, and Quentin Grimes was 0-3 from 3.

Meanwhile, Utah kept hitting 3’s:

  • Markkanen killed the Knicks with 4-8 shooting from 3 and 7-13 overall for 23 pts,
  • 6’7 Italian forward Simone Fontecchio was 3-10 from 3 (15 pts overall),
  • Collin Sexton was 3-8 from 3 (and 26 pts overall on 10-18 shooting),
  • Kris Dunn came off the bench to go 2-2 from 3 (and 4-4 overall) for 10 pts, and
  • Talen Horton-Tucker did damage off the bench with 15 pts (1-3 from 3).

Brunson kept taking it to the hole all night, drawing fouls most of the time but sometimes getting hit and not getting the call. He went 11-16 from the free throw line and 6-19 overall for 23 points.

4. Knicks Didn’t Close the 3rd Well

Utah took a 7 point lead with 3 minutes left in the 3rd quarter on a Kessler drive. But NY stormed back toΒ take an 84-83 lead with 6 seconds — led by the offense of Immanuel Quickley, who was the lone Knick guard to provide sharpshooting through the first 3 quarters — going 3-4 from 3 and 6-8 overall for 15 points.

But Kris Dunn hit a 3 to put Utah back on top 86-84 with 28 seconds left, Josh Hart missed a 3 from the corner, and Horton-Tucker grabbed the rebound with 2 seconds left, threw the ball ahead to Lauri Markkanen — who was fouled by Isaiah Hartenstein who barely touched him but did touch him — with 0.2 seconds left on the clock. Markkanen hit 3 free throws — which put Utah back up 5.

The 3 free throws ended up being the margin that Utah won by.

5. Utah Balloons Lead in 4th

Horton-Tucker with Kessler and Dunn went nuts at the beginning of the 4th quarter to balloon the Utah lead to 17 points. Horton-Tucker was scoring inside and outside and Kessler, who comes off Utah’s bench with the 2nd team, was blocking shots all evening and scoring inside.

Taylor Hendricks — 6’9 forward — was also active inside defensively; he’d finish with a game-high +25 in 20 minutes, with 4 rebounds, 2 steals and a block. Ochai Agbaji also was a pain in the ass on the 2nd team — he finished with a +16.

5. Knicks Frenetic Comeback

The game seemed over with NY down 16 and 6 minutes left when Donte DiVincenzo hit a 2 to pull NY to within 13.

  • DiVincenzo was all over the place on Defense — playing frenetically — causing turnovers, coming out of nowhere for rebounds — and single-handidly energized the overall Knick defense.
  • DiVincenzo hit another 3 with 5:14 left and NY was down 10.
  • DiVincenzo hit on a drive-and-1 — a traditional 3-point play with 3:06 left and NY was down 7.
  • DiVincenzo hit another 3 with 2:13 left and NY was down 5, at 113-108.

Julius Randle powered in for free throws with a minute left to keep NY within 5, and then Jalen Brunson drove to the bucket and was fouled with 54 seconds left to pull NY to within 3.

Utah was discombobulated and it looked like the Knicks would pull out an amazing last minute comeback. Kelly Olynck missed a 3 and NY had the ball down 3 with 33 seconds left.

But alas the Knicks missed their final two 3’s — Hart and then Brunson — and that was ballgame.

DiVincenzo had a great overall game — 21 pts on 6-13 shooting (4-9 from 3) with 7 rebounds and 4 steals.

Isaiah Hartenstein and Jericho Sims played well at center. Hartenstein had the block of the game in the 1st half.

The Knicks (sans DiVincenzo and Quickley) just couldn’t hit the 3.

The Boxscore



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