Knicks can’t complete fourth quarter comeback, stung by Hornets 97-84.


97. 170. 84. 27. Final

The Knicks battled through the slog of poor offense for three-quarters of the game, then made the fourth quarter interesting with an array of strong possessions on the offensive end, but in the end, the New York Knicks couldn’t complete the comeback, falling to the Charlotte Hornets 97-84. With the loss, the second in a row, the Knicks fall to 22-24 on the season.

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Entering tonight, the game was highlighted by both teams and their recent injuries. New York was missing Kyle O’Quinn and Lance Thomas while Charlotte entered tonight’s festivities without Nicolas Batum, Cody Zeller and Jeremy Lamb available. Batum was Charlotte’s biggest loss, as the swingman gives Charlotte an additional perimeter defender and shooter while the subtraction of Thomas to New York’s lineup would be evident later in the game as the Knicks looked to comeback. 

To call this game a slog would be an understatement. The Knicks shot 37.7% from the field and 29.2% from beyond the arc. Not to be outdone, Charlotte totaled 34.1% from the floor and 29.0% from three. Charlotte had some troubles scoring from the rim, while New York would clank a ton of shots from the mid-range and from three. Not expected from two teams that rank in the middle of the pack in defensive efficiency.

There was one offensive positive. Carmelo Anthony knocked down a simple jumper in the first quarter, only it meant everything. After surpassing Larry Bird in scoring against the Clippers, Anthony would continue his rise through the all-time scoring list, this time, surpassing Gary Payton’s overall mark for 30th on the all-time scoring list.

After a fairly even first half, the Knicks got their doors blown off in the third. An overall poor effort on both sides of the ball. The Knicks scored just 13 points (overall description on O), while allowing Charlotte to score 32 points.

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A former friend, now enemy Jeremy Lin finished with 26 points, five rebounds and five assists and killed the Knicks in the third with 11 points and his ability to get to the basket and dissect New York’s interior defense. 

This, I imagine, was painful. Not intentional, though, just painful for Lin.

The Knicks went and made things interesting with a 12-2 run to start the fourth and even cutting the Hornets lead to 10 with an Arron Afflalo three, but a P.J. Hairston finish and foul sinking the Knicks and their chances of winning tonight.

If there was anything evident tonight, it’s that the Knicks really need to consider something at the deadline for their point guard position. Part of this was the loss of Thomas and the ability to defend and filter on the perimeter, but no one was stopping the combination of Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin tonight.

Even Langston Galloway had some trouble staying with Walker as he switched gears. We mentioned Lin’s 11 points in the third, but Walker was right there with eight points, three rebounds, and two assists, constantly working the Knicks on the fastbreak and the pick-and-roll.

Some smaller game notes

  • Kristaps Porzingis battled foul trouble, en route to 13 points, four rebounds and five fouls. He was shooting a ton of jumpers early, but my concern is that he isn’t even looking at taking big men off the dribble. Marvin Williams can contend with him in that area, but the likes of Frank Kaminsky and Spencer Hawes are people Kristaps should pump and drive and attempt to get to the line.
  • Derrick Williams continue to look like a gem. A team-leading 19 points, 14 rebounds and 4 assists off the bench. He didn’t shoot the ball well, but he got to the line, hitting 8 of his 14 attempts. Hated this acquisition when it happened this offseason, but Williams is giving you a solid stretch of basketball here. I just wish I knew what position he was better defending.
  • Carmelo Anthony finished with 9 points, but was noticeably absent in New York’s fourth quarter run. Here is why:

We already saw him miss a few games that the Knicks could’ve won with him healthy, so credit to Knicks head coach Derek Fisher for sitting him in the fourth quarter, even though the game was getting closer and closer. You need Melo for the long haul, not for one game in Charlotte.

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The Knicks will try to stop the losing streak against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday, December 26th on NBA TV. Tipoff is set for 7:30 P.M.