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Clippers 124, Knicks 113: “Frank reaggravated his groin AND Knox is out?”

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NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at New York Knicks Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

LOSING 124-113 TO THE LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS

INGREDIENTS

44 competitive minutes
60 seconds of fatal separation
1 energized & motivated ex-Clipper
1 Los Angeles bench G.O.A.T.
24 Clipper assists mixed with 8 turnovers
18 fewer points from deep than the other team
6 double-digit scorers per team
2 intriguing youngsters lost to injury
A pinch of effective defensive rotations
A couple dashes late of ineffective defensive rotations
2 quarters of unconscious Mudiay
2 quarters of mortal Mudiay
1 team with a shot at winning a playoff series
1 team with a shot at winning the top pick in the draft

DIRECTIONS

You’ll need a 94’x50’ pan. Wash away any memories of the teams’ last meeting, when the Clippers led by 36 at the half. This is not that recipe. Burn an early timeout 2:30 into the game after falling behind 8-0. Tie it up shortly thereafter, highlighted by a sweet give-and-go.

Sprinkle a few Damyean Dotson drives and jumpers over the end of the first and beginning of the second quarters. Use Garrett Temple to tie up Frank Ntilikina whenever he tries bringing the ball up the floor. DON’T take the Knick three-point shooting out to defrost yet; let it chill, with 12 misses in their first 13 attempts. Once the Clippers are up double-digits, flambé a 10-0 run to re-take the lead. New York’s defensive rotations will be unusually crisp and on-point; expect them to slow and wilt. You’ll need oven mitts to handle Mudiay’s first half. You’ll need crutches for Kevin Knox after he comes down from a jumper on Patrick Beverly’s foot. You’ll need aspirin and a chaser to deal with Ntilikina’s groin soreness re-aggravating and having to sit the rest of the game. New York will be down just one at the half, helped by this being their first game in a while not getting crushed via three-point differentials. That won’t last.

Fold the teams’ scores so they’re touching, then add a pair of Danilo Gallinari free throws and a pair of Beverly threes to separate the Clips.

If you wish to intensify the sensation of disappointment, watch the Knicks call timeout, then commit a 24-second violation on their very next possession. Pray Mudiay sustains his first-half brilliance.

Get the ball with 1.2 seconds left in the third, down five. Do not call time. Do not draw up a play. Do not advance the ball past midcourt. Inbound the ball to John Jenkins 60 feet from the basket with his momentum carrying him away from it. Watch him not even get a shot off. Bend the knee to the indomitable orthodoxy that fourth-quarter timeouts = sacrosanct. The Clippers will start heating up from three-point range. The Knicks? No.

Stir generous portions of Mitchell Robinson all over the start of the fourth: watch him block shots, grab rebounds, and force some steals. Stir and blend your ball movement thoroughly to tie it at 96.

Top it with a Kadeem Allen three, briefly giving you a lead you know you don’t deserve, or won’t maintain; those two ingredients are interchangeable. You’ll be all tied up with 4:30 left. You’ll then fall behind for good. Either your rotations will slow or show confusion, or the Clips will play quicker and smarter.

Late in the recipe is when you’ll add the GOAT to the sauce. Lou Williams will hit a three with three-minutes left to put L.A. up 111-104. He’ll add a floater soon after to give the Clippers an eight-point lead. He’ll hit again. He’ll hit again.

Cooking time: 48 minutes. Serves 12. Yields their fifth win in a row and fourth straight victory on the road; yields your fourth loss in a row and 60th of the season.

Notes:

  • Knox news:
  • We are all Serth.
  • A story of two factions: the Knick starters outscored the Clippers’ 81-61. But the L.A. bench bested NY’s 63-32, including an astonishing 31-2 in the first half. And Jesus spake, saying unto them, “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.” The Knicks got that memo.
  • 20/13/4/2/2 for DeAndre Jordan, who was in it to win it today. As the first half ended, Montrezl Harrell was called for a loose-ball foul on Jordan with 0.3 seconds left. Mike Breen raised an interesting point: if the foul had occurred as the buzzer sounded, Jordan would have had to shoot free throws alone, with no other players on the foul line. If that happened, he would have had no teammates around to ask “Who you got?”, a routine credited with helping the career 47% foul shooter make 76% at the line as a Knick. What would he have done if at the line alone? Break from his current, radically successful approach? Or maintain consistency and pretend to ask teammates who weren’t there?
  • China Joe Flynn caught this: Robinson didn’t take a single shot, yet did at least 15 tangible good things.

I’m curious what the record is for most positive stats accumulated by a Knick who didn’t score a point, much less take a shot.

  • 26 and 8 for OAKAAKUYOAK Gallinari. Breen pointed out how much bigger and stronger Gallo is today versus when he entered the league in relation to Knox. I felt good about the Rooster 10 years ago. I feel similarly about Knox. Please note: I’m not saying Knox plays a similar game to Gallo. Not projecting him to have the same career. Simply saying my confidence levels feel similar.
  • After Mudiay hit a pull-up off a pick just inside the paint, Clyde Frazier was unusually animated contrasting that decisive playmaking with Ntilikina’s hesitance in similar spots. Is it a chicken/egg thing? Does Frank not take that shot ‘cuz he doesn’t make it, or does he not make it more ‘cuz he doesn’t take it more?

Poll

Whose future is more promising?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    Frank Ntilikina
    (120 votes)
  • 71%
    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
    (300 votes)
420 votes total Vote Now
  • Every time I see Lou Williams play I’m reminded of this.
  • Whatever happens this summer, I’m glad Jordan spent time here. Seeing him nightly has allowed me to learn and appreciate how skilled he is. I didn’t realize he had the vision he does, or the post moves. I don’t think of him as a three-time All-NBAer, but he is. And that includes one All-NBA First Team, too.
  • Breen: “You know who never lifted a weight in all his career playing?” I assumed the answer would surprise us, be some dude who’s ripped. “Mark Jackson.” I mean...yeah.
  • Years ago either the Knicks or the Mets did a cool thing in their broadcasts where they’d give you a few minutes of flavor from the opponents’ announcers. I wish the Knicks did that today. The Clippers’ legendary play-by-play man, Ralph Lawler, is in the last year of a 40-year career. The Clips are bringing back some of his former partners to reunite during games this year; today they featured Hubie Brown.
  • Ivica Zubac is cut from that Marc Gasol/Jonas Valancuinas school. Beefy, but skilled. It really does seem like every night every NBA game you flip to features some youngster the Lakers inexplicably pissed away.
  • The Clippers lead the league in free throw attempts and shoot 79% as a team. They have multiple guards who can hound your ballhandlers — Beverly, Gilgeous-Alexander, Temple. If the NBA playoffs were a one-shot deal like the NCAA, the Clips are not a team you’d want to face. God, how I miss playoff series shorter than best-of-seven.
  • A quiet dozen minutes for quiet Wilson Chandler. OAKAAKUYOAK. If he’d stayed in New York, Chandler would’ve been my Knick Edgardo Alfonzo.
  • You know when you’ll know Mitchell Robinson is on the straight-and-narrow to greatness? When he changes his uniform number. I can see his jersey going up in the rafters. Can’t see it going up as 26.
  • Knick/Clipper games involving Doc Rivers always remind me of November 1992, the first game between these teams after the Mark Jackson/Charles Smith/Doc trade. John Starks threw a cup of water at Mark Jackson, who tormented with his play and his mouth that day. I miss those days, man. Not just ‘cuz the Knicks were good. They had character, but they also had characters.
  • Usually if I’m watching sports at noon on a weekend, it’s soccer. I think my brain is conditioned to that. On one early sequence, a loose ball ended up in Kadeem Allen’s hands a few feet behind the arc. As soon as he pushed to the basket, you could see DeAndre had position behind Harrell and Beverly. As Allen drove, I watched in fear, thinking “Kadeem doesn’t see Jordan is offsides! Don’t pass it to him!”

Quoth Melo’s Bucket Hat Collection: “Frank reaggravated his groin AND Knox is out?” Word. :( There’s time for them to rest and heal up: next game isn’t till Thursday when New York hosts Toronto. Mwah, loves.