Injury-Decimated Knicks Lose Again. New Orleans 115 NY 92

More injuries for the Knicks — with Jalen Brunson and Isaiah Hartenstein added to the injured list — gave NY a team without 5 starters, and they just didn’t have enough umph to beat New Orleans on the back end of a back-to-back, losing 115-92 at Madison Square Garden on a Tuesday night.

The Knicks fought HARD; the game was close at the half, but New Orleans captured a 10-pt lead in the 3rd quarter and ran away at the end.

Josh Hart mostly contained Zion Williamson, and Jericho Sims did a pretty decent job on Brandon Ingram — but it was Trey Murphy III, Herbert Jones, and New Orleans bench players Matt Ryan and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl who killed the Knicks, going a combined 13-19 from 3.

The decimated Knicks lost for the 5th time in 6 games. Brunson was out with a sprained neck and Hartenstein with the sore achilles, in addition to Julius Randle (dislocated shoulder), OG Anunoby (elbow surgery), and Mitchell Robinson (broken ankle) all recuperating.

“The start of the 3rd,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards when asked how the Knicks lost. “We still fought. Had a chance in the 4th but fell short. Everyone gave everything they had. We knew we were going to have volume 3’s and have to make to have a chance.”

“At the start of the 3rd we had a couple of wide-open shots that we missed and that led to not making transition the way we needed to,” added Thibs.

New York falls to 35-24. New Orleans improves to 35-24.

1. Knicks Played HARD; Game Close at the Half

The Knicks sported a starting team of Jericho Sims at center, Precious Achiuwa at power forward, Josh Hart at small forward guarding Zion, Donte DiVincenzo at shooting guard, and Miles McBride at the point.

NY played HARD and played even with New Orleans throughout the 1st half.

  • Josh Hart was doing a job on Zion Williamson defensively — Zion was not able to get going. And on the other end Hart had his jumper going — both from midrange and from 3. Hart also aggressively drove to the rim all night putting pressure on the D.

Hart had an amazing game but looking at the box score — he had 15 points on 6-15 shooting, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals — yet had a -22 which shows you plus/minus can be garbage some nights.

Zion was questionable before the game, but played as every opposing player seems to when it’s the one or two games a year they have at Madison Square Garden.

Whether due to minor injury or not, Zion played like Larry “Grand Ma Ma” Johnson after the back issues. Powerful, smooth, skilled — not much above-the-rim action, but efficient. He had 21 points on 7-15 shooting, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks in 29 minutes — although on the block he blasted Hart in the face and caused a bloody nose but no foul called.

  • Donte DiVincenzo also played at a frenetic pace with intense defense — his quick hands getting into ballhandlers causing steals, and then on offense kept firing up 3’s as part of the Knicks game plan. DiVincenzo was 8-21 (7-18 from 3) for 23 points and 2 steals.
  • Bogan Bogdanovic helped the offense with 6-14 shooting (4-10 from 3) for 20 points but turned the ball over a number of times and the D wasn’t great — part of the reason why New Orleans got off the 3’s.
  • Jericho Sims played excellent defense — patrolling the interior, guarding Brandon Ingram, and helping out with Zion.

  •  But Sims didn’t do much offensively — 7 points on 3-3 shooting. At one point Wally Szczerbiak on the broadcast said Sims wasn’t even looking at the rim and that allowed the Pelicans to focus their D on the other 4 Knicks. Oddly enough the one offensive highlight Knicks twitter posted all evening was a slam dunk by Sims.

  • Precious Achiuwa had another good night — 15 pts on 4-10 shooting, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, a block and he hits his free throws — 7-8 from the line. He guarded Jonas Valanciunas most of the evening.
  • Deuce McBride had 10 points (2-7 from 3) in 40 minutes with 8 assists.

2. New Orleans Pulls Ahead in 3rd

NY pulled to within a point at 48-47 just before the half.

But New Orleans jumped out of the gate to start the 3rd with a 10-0 run for an 11-pt lead: Brandon Ingram hitting a 3, Zion Williamson hitting a drive-and-1, Trey Murphy III with a deuce, and Zion with a drive.

After that NY stayed even with New Orleans — Donte DiVincenzo firing up 6 3-pointers in the quarter and hitting 3, and Miles McBride with an offensive flurry late in the period — free throws off a drive and then a 3 pulling NY to within 7 points to end the 3rd, 74-67.

3. Pelicans Kill Knicks from 3 in 4th

NY hung in for the first 6 minutes of the 4th quarter, staying within 10 points of New Orleans and playing HARD.

Alec Burks missed a 3 and a deuce early in the period — he would go 1-7 on the night for 2 points in 16 minutes and drew a lot of ire from Knicks Twitter — but Burks only had a -1 — there’s that unreliable plus/minus stat again.

NY was down 12 with 6 minutes left and needed just another run — when Trey Murphy III hit a 3 then a deuce then another 3 and it was all over for NY.

The Boxscore


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