Photo Credit: Mary Altaffer, AP
New York Slips Late Against Indiana
Watching the New York Knicks close out games is like watching a rollercoaster. There are many ups and many downs. Unfortunately for Knicks fans, there has been way more downs than ups. Tonight, against the Indiana Pacers, the Knicks were unable to pull out a close game once again.
Throughout the fourth quarter, New York and Indiana exchanged baskets and leads at will. There were several times when it seemed like either team will pull away with the victory. That moment for the Knicks came when Tim Hardaway Jr. nailed a deep two to give the Knicks a one-point lead with 5:27 remaining. Later, Damyean Dotson hit a deep three to push the Knicks lead to four, 95-91. After Dotson’s basket, the energy at Madison Square Garden was off the charts. It seemed like the Knicks would ride that momentum to the end, but Victor Oladipo had other plans.
Oladipo seals victory late for Indiana
Oladipo started the game colder than New York City in the winter, but as the game wore on, he began to heat up. Indiana gradually cut into the Knicks lead, and with less than three minutes remaining, Oladipo showed his defensive prowess. Up one, Hardaway Jr. put the ball on the floor to drive. Oladipo stripped Hardaway Jr., for the second time in the game, and finished with a slam to regain the lead for Indiana. With that big strip and basket, it wouldn’t have been surprising if Oladipo shouted “first team All-Defense” like Tony Allen.
Oladipo’s basket shifted the momentum back in Indiana’s favor. Later, Oladipo nailed another three to give Indiana a six-point advantage. New York tried to make another comeback following a couple of Hardaway Jr. free throws and a midrange basket by Allonzo Trier, but Indiana was blessed by the basketball gods to help preserve the win.
With less than 30 seconds remaining, Bojan Bogdanovic attempted to close the door on the Knicks with a three to seal the game, but he hit nothing but air. Luckily, Young was able to get to the ball before it went out of bounds and passed it to Oladipo in the corner. In front of the Knicks bench, Oladipo rose up and swished a three to push Indiana’s lead to five. After nailing the dagger, Oladipo mean-mugged to let the Garden crowd know he’s here to ruin their night.
Indiana and New York player stats
Led by Oladipo’s late forays, the Pacers defeated the Knicks 107-101. Oladipo had a good performance finishing with 24 points, but Domantas Sabonis had a monster game off the bench. Sabonis shot a perfect 12-of-12. As a result, he scored 30 points, and his activity on the boards resulted in 9 rebounds. Thaddeus Young also grabbed 10 rebounds to go with 13 points.
Hardaway Jr. continues to shine for the Knicks on offense. He nailed a career-high seven threes and dropped 37 points, which is just two points shy of his career-high. Noah Vonleh and Trier also contributed with 14 points each. Vonleh’s hustle on the glass resulted in 10 rebounds to complete his double-double. Dotson continues to show his worth. He ended the game with 13 points.
Young Knicks continue to shine
Despite allowing another game to slip from their grasp late, there are still some positives to take from the game. The production from New York’s young cast continues to shine. Dotson, Trier, and Vonleh combined to score 41 of the Knicks 101 points. Also, Frank Ntilikina continues to show that he is the Knicks point guard of the future. He was unable to score buckets, but he dished seven dimes.
New York will have to shake this loss off quickly as they prepare to face the Mavericks in Dallas on Friday.