Wednesday night’s game against the Nets meant absolutely nothing to the New York Knicks. They have already been eliminated from playoff contention. In fact, you could argue that a loss would be preferable — it would help them maybe grab the ninth or 10th pick in the Draft.
Of course, these are the Knicks, and every loss must be as painful as possible. The young guns played perhaps their best half of the season, taking a 17-point lead on the back of a season-high 29 first-half assists. RJ Barrett had 16-6-6 at the half. Could this be the moment the Knicks finally beat Brooklyn.
LOL, nope. The Knicks did go up by 21 early in the second half, but then they pulled a classic Tom Thibodeau move by going into a drain-the-clock prevent offense. Thibs couldn’t rely on Julius Randle iso post-ups, so instead he had Alec Burks post up over and over again. The Knicks scored 15 points in the third quarter, and were saved somewhat by the excellent defense of rookie center Jericho Sims. But Kevin Durant started heating up toward the end of the third, and older Knicks fans who have been here a thousand times before knew how this one would end.
Sure enough, the Nets caught fire in the fourth and buried the Knicks, who scored 16 points in the final quarter — 31 total points in the second half. RJ was horrendous in the second half. The Burks-as-Kobe offense was a dismal failure. The Knicks played beautiful basketball for 24 minutes, and went away from it because of the coach. Brutal.
Recap to come.