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Hornets 101, Knicks 92: Scenes from a better third quarter but a butt-ugly fourth

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3 good quarters + 1 bad quarter = 10-39

NBA: New York Knicks at Charlotte Hornets Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

What is the opposite of a fake comeback? A fake lead? A false promise? Whatever it is, that’s what the Knicks did tonight, competing for 36 minutes before a fugly fourth resulted in a 101-92 defeat to the Charlotte Hornets, New York’s 10th loss in a row and 23rd in 25 games. Yowza.

Let’s start with the positives. Kevin Knox was back at it tonight with the floaters. There was a Knoxaissance tonight.

Another Knick classic revisited: the Allonzo Trier/Mitchell Robinson alley-oop. There were several.

A pleasant surprise for New York was the NBA debut of Kadeem Allen. He showed some tenacious D right off the bat and did a little bit of everything on offense, too, including his first pro bucket.

In the first half the Hornets were pretty much Tony Parker doing his pool-shark routine on shots close and in, Jeremy Lamb bucketeering, and a scruffy and heavily tattooed Willy Hernangomez. Parker taketh for himself and giveth to teammates, too, like rookie Miles Bridges.

Late in the first half the Knicks featured a lineup devoid of any traditional point guard. Trier and Mario Hezonja were the brains of the operation. Don’t laugh. They had some nice moments.

They also had some very Trier-Hezonja moments.

A close game at the half stayed close through three. It looked for a spell like Knox had designs on single-handedly taking Charlotte out. Very encouraging for the rook after what’s been his roughest stretch of the season.

He had the touch from long on the range.

Knox stayed aggressive. Very aggressive. I leapt off the couch, screamed and ripped my shirt Hulk Hogan-style after this sequence.

Needless to say, tonight’s third quarter was a vast improvement on last night’s horror show against Miami. However, late in the third, as hard as the Knicks were playing, as effective as they looked on defense, it was still anyone’s game. That’s a bad sign, I thought. It was. Charlotte would not relent. Luckily for New York, neither would Allen.

About those Trier-Robinson oops: they did it again.

Correlation isn’t necessarily causation, but once Allen checked out the Hornets pulled away behind a 17-1 run sparked by the game’s lone All-Star, Kemba Walker. He got his and fed his brethren, too. Does Malik Monk ever miss when he plays the Knicks?

After Charlotte missed 20 of 25 three-pointers through three quarters, they hit six of their first eight attempts in the fourth, icing the game midway through. That didn’t stop the Knicks from getting kinky.

Meanwhile, in South Bend...

Recap on its way. Love you.