Kevin Knox had another impressive game last night in the Knicks’ 109-92 loss to the Lakers, scoring a game-high 29 points. Without Frank Ntilikina (groin), the Knicks had struggles with pace and executing plays. The team still showed real fight in coming back from 25 down and had a brief lead before running out of gas.
KNOX SETTLES INTO HIS BEST SCORING NIGHT: Our prized rookie was looking shaky early on, going 0/6 in the first quarter. Without Knox’s offense, thr Lakers had a 53-42 halftime lead and extended it to 25 early in the third.
Then Knox exploded. He had a 16-point third quarter punctuated by two late three pointers to get New York within striking distance. By the fourth, the Knicks were able to get a brief 82-78 lead before falling apart defensively and allowing the Lakers to knock down three consecutive three-pointers and pull away.
“We were down — I wanted to make sure I did the best I can to help my team come back,’’ Knox said. “It was good feeling. My teammates did a great job finding me.
“Collectively it was a good team comeback. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the win.”
Knox went 5/7 from downtown and I’m already seeing visions of excellent floor spacing with Hardaway, KP and Ntilikina all being threats from behind the arc. Knox was 9/22 overall, but that’s mainly due to some ill-advised fourth quarter shots while attempting to get us back in the game. At one point, Knox had 27 points in 27 minutes on 17 attempts.
GETTING MITCH BACK INTO TEAM BALL: Our other rook in Mitchell Robinson put up good individual numbers — 13 points (5/6), 8 rebounds and 3 blocks. But he also lodged a minus 33 on the floor, the highest between both clubs. At times his athleticism lets him get away with mistakes, like this impressive closeout block on a three-pointer.
But the Lakers and Jazz have shown being a freakish athlete can’t overcome good ball movement. Tightening up his help defense and rotations are the two main areas where Robinson will need to improve.
ALLONZO TRIER UNDER CONTROL: ‘Zo is not a point guard. It was a lot to ask to put the ball in his hands so much with Ntilikina out. Surprisingly, he stayed under control and delivered his most balanced game to date: 21 points (8/13), 10 rebounds and 5 assists.
We’ll need all the scoring we can get this year so I’m hopeful Zo can bring this mentality to our bench unit.
IS DOTSON OK?: For the second consecutive game, Damyean Dotson has looked terrible. In 29 minutes managed just 4 points (2/9) and was 0/3 from downtown. It’s still very early but going through a slump already is concerning. I can see Trier taking his spot if he continues to struggle in preseason.
The Knicks will enter the Summer League playoffs on Thursday afternoon (ESPN2, 4:30 p.m.) against the Celtics.