The Knicks led throughout the evening, mostly by double digits, but couldn’t put Charlotte away and the Hornets stung the Knicks with a late run and upset victory, 112-105. At Madison Square Garden on a Tuesday night.
- NY didn’t hit the 3 ball all night — the Knicks were 11-39 from 3 for 28 percent, while the Hornets were 12-32 from 3 for 37 percent, and
- Many fans felt NY didn’t get the calls at the end — especially on many RJ Barrett drives to the basket, while Charlotte did get ticky-tack calls.
- NY also was without Jalen Brunson — out for the 2nd game with a sprained ankle — so he wasn’t there to make the big shots late and steady the team to ward off Charlotte’s late run.
The Knicks led by 16 at the half. But in the end — the 9-game winning streak is gone.
NY falls to 39-28; Charlotte improves to 21-46.
1. Barrett Led the Knicks
RJ Barrett led the Knicks with 27 points — he took it to the basket strong from the outset, hit his 3, and dished to carry the Knicks to a 16-point halftime lead.
Gotta feed the big man 💪 pic.twitter.com/xJjleWjc1t
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) March 8, 2023
Barrett also had it going in the 3rd quarter — and had 25 points with 5 minutes left in the 3rd — but only scored 2 points after that as Charlotte keyed their defense on him. “They started doubling the pick and roll,” said Barrett afterwards. “Whenever they did that I was trying to make the right pass; if I got it back I was trying to be aggressive.”
RJ SPINNIN' & WINNIN'
He's got 27 now pic.twitter.com/nGKGR1eh88
— KNICKS ON MSG (@KnicksMSGN) March 8, 2023
“RJ got going pretty good so they went to the blitz on him,” said Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “Usually we’re pretty good with that, moving the ball to the backside. But when we got the ball to the backside we didn’t make shots. And that’s a big part of it. Some nights the ball doesn’t go in. When it doesn’t go in we have to be able to win it with our defense and our rebounding — and I thought those two things weren’t there.
“The low turnovers were there,” continued Thibs. “We always talk about defend, rebound, low turnovers — that will put you in position to win regardless of how you shoot the ball. So our defense wasn’t there, and the rebounding wasn’t there.”
2. Late Calls Hurt Knicks
“HOW MANY DRIVES DID RJ HAD LIKE THAT WITH NO CALLS???” tweeted @WWKnicksPodcast in the 4th quarter after Gordon Hayward (or maybe it was Kelly Oubre Jr) was fouled and went to the line — summing up Knick Twitter sentiment.
Besides RJ Barrett not getting calls when he seemed fouled on every drive he made in the 3rd and 4th quarters, while Gordon Hayward seemed to get every touch foul — two particular calls irked Knicks fans on Twitter:
- With 4 minutes left and NY up 100-97, Barrett drove the lane for a short jumper and was hacked on the arm by Hayward for a foul — but Charlotte challenged and won the challenge — despite the replay showing Barrett clearly hacked on the arm. Refs said it came a hair too late; Barrett had released the ball. Instead of NY possibly up 5 points if Barrett made the free throws, they were still up only 3 and the Hornets had momentum.
- With 3:36 left and the Knicks up 100-98, Immanuel Quickley went around a Mitchell Robinson screen to get into the lane for a shot, but Terry Rozier tripped on Robinson’s leg going around the screen — selling it — and the refs called Robinson for an offensive foul. “I thought the offensive foul on Mitch on the screen was a big play in the game,” said Thibs afterwards. “I know your legs can’t be outside of your shoulders, but I haven’t seen a screen set yet where your legs aren’t outside of your shoulders.”
3. Randle & Quickley Had Off Shooting Nights
One man fast break 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/SB1SdLNJUb
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) March 8, 2023
Obi Toppin had a team-high +13 in 13 minutes with 3 points (1-4 shooting).
4. Rozier, Oubre & Hayward Led Charlotte
Terry Rozier (25 points on 10-22 shooting) and Kelly Oubre Jr (27 points on 10-17 shooting, 3-6 from 3) hurt the Knicks all night. When NY’s defense concentrated on Rozier — Gordon Hayward (23 points on 9-17 shooting) came alive in the 4th quarter to hit big shots and key the Charlotte comeback.
“Their record is not an indication of their talent. They’ve had a lot of guys out with injuries and they’re playing real good right now — their last 10 games they’re 5-5,” said Thibs. “And I’ve seen them a bunch of times — obviously, Steve (Clifford, their coach) is a good friend and I’ve watched them play, where they come back. I knew our lead wasn’t safe. Rozier is a big-time player; Hayward is a big time player; Washington is coming back, he’s an explosive player; Oubre can get going. They had guys out there who can score. If you’re not on it, it’s going to be a problem.”