The New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets know how to put on a good show. They also both know what it’s like to be owned by Michael Jordan. Neither knows anything about sustainable success. But their games are generally tight-knit, entertaining affairs, and tonight’s was too. Unfortunately the née Bobcats are now 3-0 this year against our boys after a 107-101 win. This goes down as another fake comeback, but it felt better than that. Maybe because of who was fueling the late-game illusions. To quote Warner Wolf: “Let’s go to the videotape!”
Three minutes into the game, Taj Gibson was on pace to score 96 points and Julius Randle 80.
Like the Indiana game last week, the bulk of both teams’ bucketeering came in the paint. Some were contested.
Some, less so.
Elfrid Payton returned after missing two games with a sore ankle. If you’re old enough to remember music before streaming, you might say the Knicks...
(•_•) ( •_•)>⌐■-■ (⌐■_■)
...released an EP.
Speaking of release:
More looks at that DSJ HAMMER pic.twitter.com/e1dmuzPOfu— Posting and Toasting (@ptknicksblog) February 27, 2020
Your nightly Festival of the One True Mitch raised a perhaps unanswerable question — does any other prolific shot blocker keep as many in play for his team as Robinson?
The game was neck-and-neck throughout the first half, until a Terry Rozier three-point barrage and New York missing their last seven shots led Charlotte to lead 56-46 at the break.
46 points after 24 minutes is a very 1990’s scoreline. Two Knicks born in that decade who can shoot — Damyean Dotson and Allonzo Trier — couldn’t get in the game the whole first half, even with RJ Barrett scoreless. Why does this franchise’s problem-solving so often resemble Homer and Chief Wiggum?
Dig up, meet throwdown.
Trier checked in late in the third with the Knicks down 13, right around the time Robinson was blocking shots and slamming home teammates’ misses. I guess any time could be that time.
Clearly we have reached Mitch Time ™️ pic.twitter.com/kUKlmItCBl— Posting and Toasting (@ptknicksblog) February 27, 2020
The Knicks cut a 15-point gap to six in the fourth after Trier hit a three. I’d include a video clip, but I know how murderously angry people here get at the mere mention of his name, so just take my word for it. He was also driving and dishing, and just generally looking like he knew what the fuck was up. Perhaps rather than taking a wine bath, Zo underwent an ayahuasca baptism.
In the interest of full disclosure, I was done with Bobby Portis months ago, but he helped the (fake) comeback with his hooping as well. Back in the day there was a He-Man Christmas special where the villainous Skeletor helped save the day. That’s what it felt like watching the two most maligned Knicks doing good together.
But it was Mitch more than anyone else who Charlotte could not deal with. Protecting the paint, corralling offensive rebounds, getting ahead of the Hornet bigs in transition and drawing fouls (some of which should have been flagrant 1s, as there was no attempt to make a play on the ball and when a guy is flying through the air and he gets shoved in the back injuries can happen)...Robinson was a man amongst tall athletic boys. This mannish bit cut the lead to four late.
You knew Trier was officially back when he drove baseline and cut it to 97-95 after finishing over PJ Washington while elbowing him in the puss. That’s slang for face, ya perv.
Trier gets the Knicks within 2! pic.twitter.com/5leaFVRuNh— Posting and Toasting (@ptknicksblog) February 27, 2020
But that was as close as the Knicks would get. Payton had a couple late turnovers and with 30 seconds left Rozier hit a ridiculous reverse lay-up hiiiigh off-glass over Mitch to seal it. A pity.
Shwin’s got the recap.