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Knicks 116, Clippers 93: “We needed this bad. Losing is boring and is wack”

The kids were alright.

NBA: New York Knicks at Los Angeles Clippers Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

“You ready to watch me become a mental patient over the Knicks?” I tell Joan, my girlfriend’s dog. In contrast to last season, being a Knicks fan means preparing for catastrophe to happen before tip-off even starts. This road trip has been devastating thus far. Philadelphia and their new superstar James Harden ran roughshod over us in the fourth quarter. Phoenix’s Cam Johnson rebounded from being on the receiving end of a Julius Randle tantrum to beat us at the buzzer after coming back from fifteen down. We needed a win. We’ve had three wins in the past month. It hasn’t been very jolly in Knicks land lately.

The Knicks jumped out to a 25-22 first-quarter lead, thanks to some timely three-pointers by Alec Burks. Sunday night, however, was not about the lowly veteran starters, but rather the kids that we’ve been asking to see more of all season. Jericho Sims looked great at the beginning of the second quarter, with an alley-oop that scared my very tired partner.

Cam Reddish (if there is one thing Thibs is doing decently well, it is bringing Reddish along slowly and simply), RJ Barrett, and Immanuel Quickley were all able to get to the free-throw line to put us up 17 in the second quarter. Mitchell Robinson, who is playing his best ball in the second half, had a put-back dunk to help give the Knicks some much-needed breathing room.

Ever, the philosopher, Mitch had the perfect quote to encapsulate the Knicks’ recent seven-game losing streak: “Losing is boring and is wack.” That it is, Mitch. The big guy had 12 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks, but shot 0-6 from the free-throw line — in other words, a very Mitch-like performance.

Still, the Knicks had blown leads like this before, and in no way shape or form was I celebrating too early. I am much too experienced for that. RJ Barrett, however, ensured the Knicks would go into halftime with a huge lead and not relinquish it in the second half. Barrett, who lead the Knicks with 24 points and a whooping plus-36, controlled the pace of the game and played like a top efficient shooting guard. He went 7-7 from the line and was able to get his teammates involved. If the Knicks are going to progress at all, it will be Barrett’s development as a scorer and distributor that we have to keep our eyes on.

After letting the Clippers back in the game in the third quarter because of typical Knicks vet malaise and suspicious referees, Thibs did the smart thing and let the kids start the fourth quarter. It’s incredible how the thing we’ve been calling for all season actually worked! It’s a fucking miracle! Reddish and Quickley were excellent, with the box score plus/minus to prove it. After Reddish made a two-pointer assisted by Quick, he got fouled and went to the line, and then got fouled and went to the line again. Reddish, who shoots 90 percent from the line, needs to continue to do that. Eventually, the three-ball started to drop for Cam, who scored 15 of his 17 points in the fourth.

The Cam Reddish Experience will be better if he’s able to get easy and efficient buckets for the Knicks. I don’t think he’s a star; his handle and game are not dynamic enough. But, he is very fluid in motion and his 6’8” frame provides the Knicks with length and an extra body on defense.

Quick, RJ, Sims, and Reddish put the game away for the Knicks, a welcome outcome for any fan of the Knicks that has wished Thibs unemployment. I still am, but, alas, I suddenly had nothing to complain about. I finally put my laptop down after Deuce McBride’s three-pointer to put us 103-74, with my girlfriend asking, “Did they win?” I said, “Yes, baby, they finally did.”