Finally a win. It was excruciating, but it was a win. A good win. They are almost all good. This one was better than most because not only did the Knicks break their 10-game losing streak, but from it, it looks like:
- The Knicks have a coach. It was Mike Miller‘s first win in the NBA, and boy did he look like a good NBA coach.
- The Knicks have a point guard in Elfrid Payton. He was doing everything a point guard should do — quick and fast and orchestrating and penetrating and making big buckets in crunch time.
- The Knicks have a young stud in RJ Barrett. Coach couldn’t take him off the court. He was a beast on offense and defense. 22 pts (8-16, 3-5 from 3), 10 rebounds, 3 assists. Big buckets in crunch time too. And hit his free throws.
- The Knicks have an All-Star caliber forward in Marcus Morris. He scored 36 pts on 10-18 (5-9 from 3, 11-12 from the free throw line). Came up big, time after time. And boy can he hit the 3.
- And don’t forget Mitchell Robinson, who played well at center; high motor; kept out of foul trouble. He had 9 pts (4-7), 9 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3 fouls in 30 minutes.
- The Knicks have another good ball player in Julius Randle, who filled up the boxscore (24 pts (on 7-16, 3-4 from 3), 13 rebounds, 5 assists) and made his free throws in crunch time. Bobby Portis also played well (15 pts on 5-8).
First NBA Win: ✅
Coach Miller got the game ball after a big win vs. the Warriors. pic.twitter.com/FMR84Zr51W
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) December 12, 2019
That’s a lot of goodness for a 5-20 team, coming off a win over a team (Golden State) that is now 5-21. But there was more:
- In the 1st half the Knicks rolled like a team that can ball — and rolled Golden State off the court, taking a 20-point lead, and 18 at the half.
- After coughing up the lead in the 2nd half, Mike Miller called a key timeout to get the Knicks rolling again — 10 straight points. They showed they have a coach with a pulse on the game and the team; and they showed moxie; an ability to take a punch and come back.
- After coughing up the lead again at the end of regulation, the Knicks did not play overtime as a defeated team (as a Knick fan watching the game, I was!) — instead they took it right back at Golden State to get the win. Again, more moxie. They are young; they are new to each other; they are growing.
Coughing Up the Lead
After the great 1st half, this young (still the youngest team in the NBA) Knick team coughed up that 18-pt lead with 10 turnovers in the 3rd quarter, many of them unforced, including 4 by Frank Ntilikina who had a poor night — nothing on offense and his passes were second-thought, soft passes into the passing lanes ripe for interception.
Miller’s Key Time Out
Golden State took the lead with 8:06 left in the 4th quarter, but Knicks coach Mike Miller called a key timeout to regroup the team. They came out of that timeout and rolled — RJ Barrett hit a big 3 from the right side to put the Knicks back on top, and the Knicks riffed off 10 straight points for a 99-91 lead with 4:58 left.
The Final Play of Regulation
Still Golden State came back, nipping into the lead on the shooting of D’Angelo Russell. With Knicks up 3 and 7.7 seconds left, Golden State inbounded to Russell in the right corner Mitchell Robinson on him (the Knicks clearly expecting the final play). Russell had to catch his feet — and to do so turned around with his back to the basket for a second — ample time for Robinson to grab him to force 2 free throws with what would’ve been 6 seconds left. But Robinson failed to grab him, Russell recomposed his footing, turned around and nailed a game-tying 3 over Robinson’s outstretched arms. Clearly a Knick screwup. Payton ran down court and hoisted up a shot that rolled in and out and it was overtime.
Having blown what looked like a win in the final seconds of the game, one expected the Knicks to come out defeated in overtime and Golden State — which had momentum — to roll. And the Warriors’ D’Angelo Russell scored the first bucket of OT. But the Knicks turned around and put the hammer to them again. Good signs. A good win.
Kevin Knox did not light up the boxscore and his first shot from 3 was an airball. But he made 3 plays on the evening that looked like Greek Freak — two massive blocks on the defensive end, and a drive and slam on offense. He jumped off the screen on all 3 plays. He is an intriguing player.
Knox with the swat, RJ with the flush. YOU LOVE TO SEE IT 💥 pic.twitter.com/DuO4HUGExe
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) December 12, 2019
Draymond Green played well and quietly put up his standard triple double, but didn’t seem dangerous to the Knicks. Golden State shot poorly in the 1st half. Glen Robinson III (17 pts), Marquese Chriss (12 pts off the bench), Alec Burks (18 pts off the bench) contributed heavily in their comeback.