Luke Kornet has arrived.
Emmanuel Mudiay took over.
Knicks were getting KILLED in this one — down 21 in the first half and it seemed like 40. They were doing nothing right. Dribbling the ball off their foot, playing no defense. At one point I tweeted “Ron Baker should coach this team” — a frustrating ode to Coach Fizdale saying Baker would be a good coach one day after the Knicks released Baker the night before.
Kevin Knox was the lone bright spot in the first half — scoring at will and racking up 17 points by the half. He keeps reminding me of Bernard King in the way he shoots with no hesitation and loves taking it to the rim.
After halftime the Knicks came out with a new fervor and started chipping away at the lead. And then they unleashed Luke Kornet. The 7-foot Kornet has been eating up the G league with his 3-pt shooting and shot blocking. We saw him briefly at the end of last season and everyone was impressed.
Kornet not only blocked shots against Charlotte he was very active defensively inside — patrolling right and left — and shouting out orders to other teammates on where to go on D. On offense he was MONEY from 3 (overall 4-8, 3-5 from 3, 13 pts, 6 rebounds 3 blocks and a +19 in 24 minutes).
Emmanuel Mudiay took over on offense — play after play down the stretch — driving, stopping for the little jumper. 34 points.
Kornet with Defense to the End
Nicolas Batum kept hitting 3’s like a crazy man (5-8) to keep Charlotte right there with the Knicks. It went to Overtime — on the final play of the game Kemba Walker drove the court for a possible game-tying layup at the buzzer but Kornet was back and there, to cause Walker to alter his layup and miss.