Well at least that wasn't the blowout we were all expecting. The New York Knicks played the Clippers tougher than they have in -- oh, I dunno -- five years? They had ample chances to come out on top, but some heartbreaking misses from Kristaps Porzingis, not to mention 48 minutes of crappy defense, allowed the Clips to eek out a 101-94 win. Hey, at least they made the ever-annoying Chris Paul and Doc Rivers sweat it out for once, as JazzFanDonny pointed out.
This game can best be summarized by one fourth-quarter sequence. The Knicks were down two, and Derrick Williams had a clean look at a corner three which would have given New York their first lead since the first quarter. He missed, the Clippers grabbed a long rebound, and Jamal Crawford hit a streaking Austin Rivers for an uncontested lay-in. Nobody picked him up, or even seemed to notice he was there. That was the Knicks, all damn night. Sometimes the ball bounces your way and sometimes it doesn't, but when you don't give a shit about defending, when you're giving easy layups to the likes of Austin friggin' Rivers, you don't deserve to win shit.
Of course, the Knicks weren't simply content to let the Clippers waltz unmolested to the cup; L.A. also shot 13-29 from beyond the arc. Remember earlier in the year, when the Knicks excelled in running opponents off the three-point line? Yeah, not so much anymore.
That Redick 3 came on one of Doc's favorite crunch-time plays. And the Knicks were completely caught off guard.— Michael Pina (@MichaelVPina) March 12, 2016
- Oh, Kristaps. The Unicorn came alive in the second half, scoring 18 of his team-high 23 points. But there should have been at least 10 more. Yung Kris was shaking and baking L.A. bigs all the way to the rim -- a glorious sight given his recent tendency to only shoot jumpers. He was able to get to the line: 10-11 from the charity stripe. And yet, when it came down to the wire, those shots at the rim just ... wouldn't ... go ... in. It was a crushing end to an encouraging effort from the Latvian prince. Here's hoping he learns from this. No need to post up every time, my dude. Take it strong, and the shot will drop eventually. I promise.
- Reason No. 3453 why I will never stop loving Langston Galloway: Dude was mired in an absolutely horrendous shooting slump, and he started out 0-6, but he hustled his ass off to grab the offensive rebound on that sixth miss, then turn around and drilled a three. God, I wish he'd start hitting some more shots though.
- One member of the Clippers broadcast team -- Ralph Lawler and/or the other guy -- wasted no time in declaring that Kristaps will not be a superstar. Like ... ever.
- Carmelo Anthony (20 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) and Robin Lopez (20 points, 19 rebounds!!!) were both tremendous, but I'm not sure what else to say about the two of them anymore. They're usually good; most of their teammates are usually bad.
OK, I will say this about Lopez's performance: He grabbed 10 offensive rebounds, many of which came at the expense of 2014-15 defensive rebound leader DeAndre Jordan. The Clips could not stop Lopez from tipping in New York misses. That's good!
- Jerian Grant once again got to take advantage of Arron Afflalo's injury with 11 whole minutes of playing time. There were a couple nice lay-ins.
- Sasha Vujacic shot just 1-5 from beyond the arc ... a rare off night from such a stupendous offensive force.
- There's a decent chance this was the last time we'll ever see Pablo Prigioni play against the Knicks, which breaks my heart. He played 7:29 and contributed one steal and one block. P&T will always love you, Pablo.
The Knicks will stay in L.A. for the next two days before facing the Lakers on Sunday. I heard somewhere that Kobe Bryant plays for the Lakers, and that he is retiring soon.