Marcus Morris hit a big 3 with 13 seconds left for the game winner and the Knicks held on for a titillating, exhilarating win at a bursting-at-the-seams-playoff-atmosphere-loud Madison Square Garden, while fans at home and in bars all over NYC were on their feet screaming and yelling and pumping fists — as Dallas’ final desperate attempt at a tie with .7 seconds left was intercepted.
In France, they couldn’t sleep. French Knicks Pod: “5 AM CANT SLEEP ! I JUMP EVERYWHERE IN THE HOUSE !”
Somewhere in the city — Knicks City — former Heavyweight Champ George Foreman was celebrating:
We speak greatly about our past athletes; Floyd,Foreman etc. But the Curse of yesterday for all of us is the Verb “was.” Now is the blessed Noun “Fans” Knicks win, I sleep better. pic.twitter.com/GRQOWYLCxh
— George Foreman (@GeorgeForeman) November 15, 2019
In bars across NYC they were screaming as if the Knicks had just won a title game. From Jonathan Macri: “There’s 75 people in a mezzanine down the block from the Garden right now who just treated the last 3 minutes like the final moments before raising a trophy.”
There is nothing as exhausting and exhilarating as a Knicks win. The now 3-9 Knicks.
Justin Termine, of national media SiriusXM, added “Most arenas in the NBA don’t get as loud cheering for a title contender in a big playoff game as MSG gets cheering for a 2-9 team in a meaningless regular season game… Best atmosphere in the sport.”
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) November 15, 2019
And all of that had nothing to do with Kristaps Porzingis. That was just about the Knicks winning a game. Didn’t matter against who.
But this was also the Porzingis-return-home game, and he was vociferously booed throughout the evening. At the start of the game, NY beat reporters had this to say:
- Marc Berman of the NY Post: “Porzingis rattled by the hate from crowd. Missed badly on a turnaround. Threw ball away. Chanting “KP Sucks” during timeout. It’s crazy here.”
- Stefan Bondy of the NY Daily News: “Loud “KP sucks” chant. He’s getting it from the Garden crowd. I covered Deron Williams‘ return to Utah and there’s more anger here.”
This was a game where Mitchell Robinson was the best big man on the court; Dennis Smith Jr made the Knicks so much better; Marcus Morris played big-time ball; and Frank Ntilikina did a great job defending Luka Doncic down the stretch; Ntilikina was a dog — diving on loose balls and disrupting Dallas — all with 5 fouls on him due to some questionable earlier-game calls. Fizdale did a great job of nursing Ntilikina’s fouls — and had him in there in the last few minutes to guard Doncic.
Ntilikina stripped Doncic then dove on the loose ball for a jump ball with 4:26 left and Knicks up 96-95; the Knicks won the jump and Marcus Morris hit a 3 to give the Knicks a 4-pt lead at the time — a key play down the stretch.
— TrashTalk (@TrashTalk_fr) November 15, 2019
Danny Smalls posted a video showing Fizdale’s recent comments on Ntilikina, how he told Fizdale he “was a dog too”.
— Danny Small (@dwsmall8) November 15, 2019
Ntilikina blocked Porzingis midway through the 1st quarter although it was called a foul. In last week’s game Ntilikina went up for a dunk over Porzingis, who blocked it but fouled Ntilikina. The two are good friends who worked out in Dallas together this summer.
Frank Ntilikina REALLY wanted this block on KP pic.twitter.com/5u7AIKoIbw
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) November 15, 2019
Good from The Start
The Knicks jumped out strongly in this one and kept the intensity, angling for a 10-point lead throughout the first half. NY led by 9 late in the 1st quarter but Dallas pulled back to within 4 at the end of the quarter; NY led by 9 midway through the 2nd but Dallas pulled back to within 5 at the half.
Mitchell Robinson Dominated. It was his first game back from 3 games out due to his concussion, and boy did the Knicks miss him. Robinson was an alley oop slam dunk machine, being fed on many by Dennis Smith Jr who was ALIVE — quick and fast and hitting his jumper and driving to the basket — making the Knicks look much better than they had all season.
Halftime Show — TNT Craps on Knicks
You’d never know the Knicks had played so well and had the lead if you listened to the TNT halftime analysis (yes the game was Nationally televised) as Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal took turns crapping on the Knicks. The Summary of the TNT analysis at halftime:
- Doncic is Great,
- Porzingis is a special player,
- Add another player Dallas will be Great.
- The Knicks have no identity on offense or defense, and
- “The Knicks stink” — Shaquille O’Neal.
- There was No mention at all of Mitchell Robinson or Dennis Smith Jr or fact that the Knicks led the game thoughout the half. It was as if Dallas was up 20.
As the second half started, Porzingis scored a dunk and nifty lead pass from Seth Curry to make it 58-55, and TNT game analyst Reggie Miller said “I have a feeling Porzingis is going to have a big second half.”
Porzingis did have a good 3rd quarter, and Luka Doncic got RED HOT — hitting 3 after 3 from the left quarter side where Reggie Miller had always done so much damage against the Knicks, which he commented on. But the Knicks matched Doncic’s firepower with big 3’s from Bobby Portis, Marcus Morris, Damyean Dotson, and Kevin Knox. A Luka Doncic 3 and a Porzingis slam at the 3rd quarter buzzer made it a tie game heading into the 4th.
4th Quarter Frenzy
It was good to have Tim Hardaway Jr on Dallas, as he was chucking away from 3 and missing — but he did hit some shots — including a 3 midway through the 4th to give Dallas their first lead, at 95-94. The Knicks pulled back ahead on an RJ Barrett drive. Julius Randle scored on a flopping Porzingis to put the Knicks up 101-99 with 1:32 left.
Julius for the lead! pic.twitter.com/ZUP0Aktr8s
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) November 15, 2019
Seth Curry tied it setting the stage for Morris and his game-winning 3 with 13 seconds left.
The Final Seconds
Dallas, down 3 with those 13 seconds left, got the ball in Doncic’s hands. Ntilikina suffocated him at the 3 point line so Doncic drove for a 2-point layup that Ntilikina defended but let him have with 5 seconds left, and then Dallas intentionally fouled Ntilikina who made both his BIG free throws. Seth Curry missed a desperation, heavily-guarded 3 with 2 seconds left, the ball sailing out of bounds underneath the basket. But the officials ruled Julius Randle touched it, giving the ball back to Dallas for one last desperate attempt with .7 seconds left. The inbound pass was intercepted by Morris for the ballgame.
Dallas fans were complaining loudly on Twitter after the game about their coach Rick Carlysle, who kept Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis out of the game for a long period in the 4th; when Doncic came back he was not hot anymore (plus Ntilikina was put on him).
Mitchell Robinson picked up his 5th foul in the 3rd; he was put back in with 7 minutes left in the 4th. He got a big offensive rebound and dunk, but fouled out with 4:38 left, but Bobby Portis came up big — with big rebounds and some defense — he forced a shot-clock regulation on a key play late in the game.
- Mitchell Robinson finished with 16 pts (7-8) 8 rebounds, 1 block in 22 min (a +3)
- Bobby Portis had 10 pts (4-8) 5 rebounds in 10 min (a +3)
- Dennis Smith Jr had 13 pts (5-12) 6 rebounds, 8 assists in 30 min
- Frank Ntilikina had 5 pts (1-4, 2-2 from free throw line), and a +4
- Julius Randle 17 points on 8-18 with 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 6 turnovers
- Marcus Morris 20 pts (7-19) 5 rebounds and a +11
- RJ Barrett 8 pts (3-10, 2-2 from free throw line) 7 rebounds, 2 assists and a +0
- Damyean Dotson 7 pts (3-8) and a +10
- Kevin Knox 6 pts (2-3, 1-2 from 3) in 15 minutes and a -8
- Taj Gibson 4 pts (2-4) 6 rebounds in 15 min contributed when he was out there
- Wayne Ellington got some air, but less than a minute
- Allonzo Trier was cemented to the bench