The New York Knicks were missing two crucial point guards — three if you’re inclined to count Elfrid Payton. Rookie sensation Immanuel Quickley joined Payton and Derrick Rose on the injured list on Tuesday night against the always dangerous Orlando Magic. Who would man the point for the Knickerbockers?
Well, that would depend on how you define “point guard.” Frank Ntilikina technically manned the point at the tip-off, despite a string of ghastly shooting performances. But these Knicks are Julius Randle’s team, and he’s going to be the guy with the ball more often than not. Randle was dropping dimes left and right — 17 to be exact — en route to his third triple-double of the season (18 points, 17 assists, 10 rebounds as the Knicks had just enough in the tank to hold off Orlando, 94-93.
Can I talk about Frank for a moment? The Frenchman has mostly failed to take advantage of his recent playing time, and he was shooting 0-16 from three since the All-Star break. The first half looked to be more of the same, as he was 0-3. But things really turned around in the third quarter. He canned back-to-back threes to end the skid. Then, he got a step on Chasson Randle and just kept going, all the way to the dang rim.
Knicks fans the world over erupted in celebration as Frank mean-mugged to the Garden crowd.
Unfortunately, the guys let go of the rope a bit at the end of the third quarter, and the Magic quickly stormed back to take the lead on New York’s threadbare second unit. But the Knicks were buoyed by the scoring of Alec Burks (21 points), Reggie Bullock (20 points), and our boy Frank.
Julius Randle hit two more buckets to kept Orlando at bay, and then Burks went to work.
Burks missed the free throw, however, and gave up a three to Evan Fournier. Bullock coughed up the ensuing possession, and Knicks fans clenched their collective butt cheeks.
Fortunately, Bullock was ready to make amends on D.
REGGIE GETS THE STEAL AND THE KNICKS WIN THE GAME— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) March 19, 2021
THE KNICKS WIN THE GAME pic.twitter.com/UrEXR3SKpd
This was a wild, ugly game. But a win is a win. Recap to come.