[Video] Knicks Hold Off Late Thunder Run, Win 93-90

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AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

 

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — We still haven’t fixed our fourth quarter woes, but I’ll tolerate them if we keep pulling out victories. Last night, the Knicks saw their 16-point lead erased by a 24-11 run in the fourth quarter but avoided overtime and defeated the Thunder on the road 93-90.

Bad fourth aside, there was a lot of good to take away from this one. Melo was clutch (aside from two missed free throws) in his 25 points, hitting some timely shots to OKC at bay. Lance Thomas and Derrick Williams were our biggest bench contributors with a combined 21 points with 60% shooting from downtown.

Speaking of threes, New York  was 12/20 on the night while holding OKC to 10% (3/29) from deep.

Nonetheless, the Thunder were one lucky bounce from taking this game into overtime. We lost the rebounding battle badly (36-49) and will need to tighten that up tonight against the Rockets.

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JR Smith and Iman Shumpert Traded to Cavs

Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith

In biggest move of Phil Jackson’s tenure as president, the Knicks have agreed to dump over $20 million in salary by trading guards JR Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Per the Associated Press, New York will get a second pick in 2019 from the Cavs. The Knicks will acquire filler players that they plan on immediately waiving. So far, the only confirmed one is rookie center Alex Kirk. The Oklahoma City Thunder will acquire Dion Waiters from Cleveland.

Shumpert is currently sidelined with a dislocated shoulder and averaging 9 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. Smith, who was the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year in 2013, is averaging 11 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists on the season.

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So long, homies. I have a lot of love for JR and Shump. At their best, I loved the brash, young swagger they brought to the veteran lineups we’ve had in recent years. But if I’m honest, it is very apparent that both players have reached their ceilings in New York. We’ve been waiting for about 2 years for Shumpert to make that “leap” as a second option which just isn’t his game (nor fair to expect from him). Since JR’s excellent 2013 season, we’ve only seen erratic flashes of the focus that made him the Sixth Man of the Year.

A change of scenery will be beneficial for both guys. Shumpert will get to focus on being the lock-down, wing defensive specialist that was his calling card. And JR can be a secret weapon/gunner off the bench. The Cavaliers at the very least get more entertaining with JR on their roster.

I’ll remember the good times. Once a Knick, always a Knick.

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[Video] This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things – Knicks 100, Cavs 106

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We had the perfect stage set. The Atlanta Hawks had choked and lost a game to the Raptors the preceding Sunday afternoon. The Cavaliers were coming into the Garden without their best player, Kyrie Irving. And what do the Knicks do? Play an excellent first half of basketball and then revert to the wretched defense and putrid iso offense that has sunk them most of this season.

Under normal circumstances, a trap/letdown game like this happening after winning 8 straight wouldn’t be that bad. But with the Knicks fighting for the 8th seed with under 15 games left, the margin for error is so small that losses like this are completely inexcusable. It’s even more disheartening that this horrible effort happens after the Knicks were scared late against the Sixers just a few days ago.

2ND HALF MELTDOWN: After going up by as much as 17 in the first half, the Knicks settled on a 61-46 halftime lead. They shot 59% over the first 24 minutes, incluiding 8/11 from downtown.

Just two minutes into the third, the Knicks gave up a 9-0 run that turned the contest back into a game. Felton and Melo hit a few timely threes to hold onto the lead, but the Knicks were still outscored 31-23 and clung to a seven-point lead headed into the fourth.

And what happened in the fourth? How about the Knicks were outscored 29-16. So who was doing all the damage, you ask?

JARRETT JACK RUNS AMUCK: There is absolutely no excuse for a player like Jarrett Jack, who’s averaging 9 points for the season, should go for 31 points and 10 assists. Jack kept doing the same pick and roll move to kill Raymond Felton and force mismatches. Iman Shumpert’s defense was sorely missed here as Felton had Jack looking like the league MVP.

Jack’s backcourt mate in Dion Waiters didn’t do too shabby either in dropping 22 points, making them a combined 53 points on the night.

A BAD MOVIE: Melo (32 points, 8/20 FG) had been a great closer during the winning streak. But last night, he went 0/5 in  4th quarter field goals and had a very costly offensive foul on the last-minute that sealed New York’s fate. And Melo wasn’t the only one who was ice-cold — JR, Hardaway Jr. and Felton all missed wide open shots

MARGIN FOR ERROR DRAWS SMALLER: It can’t be emphasized enough how much of a blown opportunity this game was. The Knicks can only hope they ignite another long winning streak and the Hawks to keep losing. Should New York lose 2-3 more games, this playoff race is likely over.