Photo Credit: AP Photo/Chuck Burton
The Knicks Tank continues to roll full steam ahead
Ladies and gentleman, the “Knicks Tank” continues to storm through cities at full force. There is no end to the destruction that it leaves in its path. Last night, the New York Knicks traveled to Charlotte to take on the Hornets. As expected, the Knicks chalked up another loss. Now, the Knicks have lost 22 of their last 24 games.
Tanking is an art form only a few teams are capable of pulling off to its fullest extent. In the 2015-2016 season, the Philadelphia 76ers lost their first eighteen games and finished with a dismal 9-73 record. This season, the Knicks aren’t quite the 2015-16 76ers, but they’re close. Currently, the Knicks are second in the Zion Williamson sweepstakes with an abysmal record of 10-39. If the Knicks continue to lose at this pace, there is no doubt that Gotham’s worst team, at the moment, will claim the top spot.
It was a tale of two halves for the Knicks
At this point in the season, losing has become second nature to the Knicks. The same problems that have plagued the Knicks last month have continued into January. One of those problems is the inability to play a complete game. Usually, the Knicks would play well in the first half, then collapse in the second half. Against the Hornets, that’s what happened.
At halftime, the Knicks were down by one (54-53). In the third quarter, the Knicks rode their momentum from the first half and went into the fourth quarter tied at 71. As usual, the Knicks forgot there are four quarters in a game and slumped to defeat. The onslaught began after the Hornets took an 81-75 lead thanks to Malik Monk‘s 3-pointer.
On the following two Knicks possessions, bad passes from Mario Hezonja and Noah Vonleh led to consecutive turnovers. Eventually, Kemba Walker made the Knicks pay with a 3-pointer, then Monk responded with back-to-back threes to cap off a 17-1 run. During that run, Monk nailed three 3-pointers, and the Hornets pushed their advantage to fourteen (90-76). From then on, the Knicks were at a point of no return.
Lack of ball movement continues to plague the Knicks
Another problem that plagued the Knicks tonight is the lack of ball movement. Currently, the Knicks are last in the league in assists per game (19.8). Last night, the Knicks matched their season average with 19 assists. Typically, the best teams in the NBA will average 25-30 assists per game, and the Knicks are nowhere near the stratosphere of that average. Throughout the game, especially in the fourth quarter, there were too many possessions where the Knicks played hero ball. Continuously, the Knicks would play one-on-one and hope for the best. In basketball, hoping is equivalent to losing, and the Knicks have been doing a lot of losing lately.
Missed free throws also contributed to the Knicks loss
Statistically, for the Knicks, the one stat that stands out is missed free throws. The final score was 101-92, and the Knicks shot 17-of-26 from the stripe. Simple math would suggest if the Knicks knocked in all of their free throws then the game would, at least, enter overtime. Basketball doesn’t necessarily work like that, but making all their free throws would have helped the Knicks towards a long-awaited victory.
Hornets and Knicks stats
Tony Parker and Jeremy Lamb scored 15 points each to lead the Hornets in scoring. Walker and Monk also contributed with 14 points each. Miles Bridges had a game-high plus-minus of +19, and he finished with 11 points and 8 rebounds. Last, but not least, former Knicks great Willy Hernangomez put in work against his former team. In 21 minutes, he notched a double-double, finishing with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Rookie Kevin Knox led the Knicks with 19 points on 7-of-16 shooting on the court. Tim Hardaway Jr. assisted Knox by accomplishing a rare double-double. He contributed with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Mitchell Robinson also made an impact by swatting multiple shots to nearby different zip codes. He blocked three shots and finished with 10 points.
Unlike many trains in New York City’s subway system, the “Knicks Tank” is making all stops! Even on weekends! The next stop for the blue-and-orange tank will be at Madison Square Garden to take on sensational rookie Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.