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Clippers 135, Knicks 132: Scenes from a great first quarter and a fake comeback

A real Knicks tour de force

New York Knicks v LA Clippers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to the emotional rollercoaster. You must be a tortured Knicks fan to ride.

The Knicks opened up this game absolutely scorching the Clippers with 45 points in the first quarter and a 16-point lead. Then the Clippers retaliated with a 47-point second quarter and took a seven-point lead into halftime.

That lead would balloon to as much as 15 in the second half, which is right around when I decided to stop tweeting for a minute and enjoy my pizza that I ordered for dinner. Oh, what a fool I was, as mid-bite on my second slice, the Knicks decided to elevate their fake comeback to “OK, maybe this is a real comeback?” status, before eventually regressing back to a fake comeback and losing by three points.

Regardless, though, this is a title contender, even playing without their best player in Kawhi Leonard. Finishing within three points is a hell of an outcome for a Knicks team that, while improved, is still not what I’d call “good.”

Marcus Morris was (once again) the star for the Knicks here, logging a career-high 38 points in what (as Mike Breen reminded us of about 5,000 times on the telecast) could be an audition to get traded to the very team he scored those points against.

RJ Barrett finally had a bit of a resurgent game too after his recent slump, dropping 24 points and six rebounds on 7-11 shooting. Consistency will be key though, so hopefully this is a building block for a fruitful January for RJ.

Frank Ntilikina played well in his starting opportunity as well, notching seven points, five assists and four rebounds with Elfrid Payton at home with his new baby.

Julius Randle notched 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists, Reggie Bullock continued his rust-free return with nine points on 4-5 shooting and Kadeem Allen impressed off the bench with nine points and six rebounds.

All in all, a pretty good game, even if it was frustrating to blow the Clippers out of the water in the first quarter and ultimately lose. MMiranda will have a more thorough recap for y’all later.