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Knicks 107, Clippers 85: 'Yeah, that was nice'

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Victory at home.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at New York Knicks Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Monday night’s visit from the Los Angeles Clippers presented the New York Knicks with a tricky little number: a home game, coming off a loss, against a team who’s beaten them 10 times in a row and was desperate to stop an eight-game losing streak. The Knicks’ 107-85 victory was like the reunion episode of a TV series—heartwarming cameo after heartwarming cameo.

The teams combined to hit their first seven shots and Jarrett Jack had five points in the opening minute, early signs tonight’s spirit energy was all about honoring the unsustainable. That spirit would take the form of a turnover-bonanza the likes of which ye have never seen.

The Clippers were up eight when the Knicks went on a 14-0 run. Later in the half a Jack three put them up 11 and gave him a season-high 11 points. Despite 15 turnovers the Knicks were up 12 at the half. It was almost a 14-point lead, if not for this.

A pretty damning headline/video two-piece, right? Except “terrible” and “lazy” are taking up space where actual context might have existed. Porzingis had picked up his second foul shortly before this sequence, and I had literally just thought “He can’t be in foul trouble if they’re gonna win,” a feeling I vaguely remember from the last time the Knicks were good and had a legit franchise player.

It was better to give up the two points than pick up his third foul.

In the third the lead ballooned to 17 after a Porzingis corner three. Then the Clippers cut it to 10...8...5...2. Then the Knicks were up 5...7...8...12...15...22. That’s really what this game was like. Like watching a continuum made up of ellipses. You dig? There was a Damyean Dotson sighting. A Michael Beasley sighting. A Willy Hernangomez sighting. A Ramon Sessions sighting, the rarest Pokemon of them all! Pretty much every Knick who isn’t a teenager excelled tonight.

Notes:

  • KP didn’t shoot great—7 for 20—but he earned nine free throws and hit them all, continuing one of his most encouraging areas of growth: getting to the line.

Seven rebounds. Two blocks. Two assists. Two steals. Plus/minus sometimes misses the plot, but +27 is +27. One day he’ll be a max player and I’ll have a son and sit him on my knee and tell him of Allan Houston and KP and how to spot a true max.

  • Tough night for Frank Ntilikina, who played one fewer minute than Sessions. That sentence has been an exception and not the rule this season, blessedly, one reason the team is winning and one reason they’ve been fun to watch.
  • Tonight is the night I opened my heart to Doug McDermott.

He was one of six Knicks to hit double-figures. Kanter pulled in 16 rebounds. Hardaway with another 5 rebound/5 assist night. Jack was a +24.

  • Blake Griffin fouled out and had a mostly ornery night. Had a few beefs with Hardaway. Seemed irritated most of the night, especially as the game drifted out of contention.
  • Michael Beasley. What. A. Scorer. Jesus. In a better world, Michael Beasley’s basketball is poetry. He hits shots that are just sooo fine.
  • It’s not just me.
  • The Knicks dominated the Clippers on the boards, especially in the first half. Six Knicks with 5+ rebounds. Yay team!
  • Jack putting up points at the very very starts of games is a thing and a thing I endorse.
  • In the second quarter, Lou Williams hit a three to put the Clippers up 34-26. Among Williams many skills, he is an elite-level “push a five-point lead to eight” shooter. Other members of this prestigious club: Nick Young. Monta Ellis. Nick Van Exel. Dell Curry. Dale Ellis. Michael Adams. Danny Ainge. On NBA Jam: Manute Bol.
  • I have never, not once in my life, seen someone throw a jump ball and not thought “WTF. I could do better.”
  • In a universe not very far removed from our own, Griffin came over in a Carmelo Anthony trade and is Porzingis’ partner for the forseeable future and we feel...what?
  • Remember when it was a thing that Austin Rivers was gonna be a Knick?
  • Cheating a bit here, as this has nothing to do with the Knicks. But when Lance Stephenson crystallizes his entire career into a single sequence, that’s a light everyone needs to shine down on them.
  • After the cameras found Willis Reed’s jersey in the rafters, Clyde Frazier remarked, “Considered by many the greatest Knick ever. I say it’s Willis. Willis says Patrick. And Patrick says Patrick.” Mike Breen cracked up. I enjoyed it, too.

Quoth LatvianPrankster: “Yeah that was nice.” You know what’s nicer than nice? Twice as nice. Wednesday the Knicks look to double their win streak when they host Toronto. Peace.