They call it a “trap game” for a reason. After rolling to nine wins in a row, capped by a nail-biting double-overtime win over in Boston Celtics on their home court, the Knicks went down to the wire with the lowly Charlotte Hornets, losing 112 - 105 at home.
With Jalen Brunson sitting out his second game with a sore foot, it would need to be a team effort. These Hornets suck (20-46), but are still a roster filled with NBA talent — most notably, Terry Rozier, Kelly Oubre Jr., and Gordon Hayward. These are bucket-getters, each capable of ruining an opponent’s night.
The Knicks over-relied on the three ball, only hitting 2-18 in the second half, finishing the game 12-32 overall. RJ Barrett was the only Knick who didn't settle for the three and tried to get into the teeth of the defense. Oddly enough, they also lost the rebounding battle 42-39, a stat they rarely ever lose.
Julius Randle was steady as ever, with 16 points and eight rebounds. But Immanuel Quickley appeared fatigued after playing 55 minutes against Boston. He finished with 14 points on 5-16 shooting. He looked a step out of it in the second half, perhaps gassed trying to guard the red-hot Rozier (25 points on 10-22) while orchestrating the offense. The Hornets' bigs played well, as PJ Washington chipped in 13 points and seven rebounds, Hayward with 23 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.
The silver lining? At least the pressure is off on the Knicks as they head on a West Coast road trip, playing the scorching Sacramento Kings on Thursday night. Hopefully Jalen Brunson will be back to right the ship. Recap to come.