Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Third quarter collapse dooms Knicks in blowout loss to Warriors as Hornacek continues to give more minutes to younger players

Third quarter collapse dooms Knicks in blowout loss to Warriors as Hornacek continues to give more minutes to younger players
 The Knicks are headed toward the lottery. The Warriors are headed toward greater things.

That was the backdrop of Golden State’s victory Monday at the Garden, 125-111, a collision of teams on opposite ends of the talent spectrum. For the Knicks these days — and in games like Monday’s — only the little things are worth celebrating. The moral victories.

One night it might be Trey Burke scoring 26 points, and the next it could be Troy Williams soaring for a putback dunk. It’s really just fluff to pass the time of another lost season. After all, somebody needs to score on a bad team and the Knicks stink.

Like Bill Murray in Space Jam, they don’t do defense.

So it wasn’t so much encouraging as it was diverting to watch the Knicks take a lead into halftime Monday against the mighty Warriors. Emmanuel Mudiay contributed a 20-point, seven-assist night that might’ve been encouraging except the Knicks were outscored by 22 points when he was on the court.

The Knicks led by a point at the break but reality struck soon enough. The Warriors (47-19) are the cream of the league and tackled Monday on autopilot until the third quarter, which they began with three consecutive 3-pointers. Their lead ballooned to 20 by the start of the fourth quarter and the Knicks were toast. It reached the point of the Garden crowd cheering for the visitors, until Steve Kerr decided to bench Kevin Durant and Steph Curry for the final 12 minutes.

In two games this season against the Warriors, the Knicks were outscored by a combined 32 points in the third quarters.

“We weren’t aggressive enough on the defensive end of the ball (in the first half),” said Golden State’s Draymond Green. “The conversation at halftime was that we have to make them miss. Once we started doing that and flying around they started to miss.”

The Knicks (24-38) lost for the 10th time in their last 11 games. Their next contest Friday against the Clippers starts a four-game road trip, so don’t expect the bleeding to cease anytime soon. Fortunately the losing isn’t the worst thing in a race for the most Ping Pong balls.

Jeff Hornacek already conceded that winning is not the priority anymore, and he coached like it Monday while featuring the youngsters. Mudiay, Frank Ntilikina (13 points, five rebounds) and Trey Burke (18 points, five assists) each played at least 25 minutes.

And none of them played defense.

“They all had good stat lines on the offensive side,” said Hornacek, meaning they weren’t so hot on the other side.

Courtney Lee, whose playing time is diminishing as the Knicks focus on their youth, was essentially phased out Monday while logging only 11 minutes, a season low. Lee still has two years remaining on his contract and the next logical step is removing him from the lineup. Jarrett Jack, a starter for most the season, picked up his third straight DNP.

For Golden State, Curry had 21 points in 30 minutes, Durant added 22 in 28 minutes and Klay Thompson cleared 26 breezy points on 9-for-13 shooting.

“Obviously we have a lot of talent. We have four All-Stars out there,” Kerr said.

The Knicks, on the other hand, had none. On with the tank.
Read more

No comments:

Post a Comment