Three Takeaways from the LA Clippers’ Loss to the New York Knicks

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Knicks Look to Snap Streak, Face Leonard, Clippers

The Knicks look to hold on to the fourth seed and regain their form as they travel for a two-game swing in Los Angeles. It starts with Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers.

With just four games left in the regular season, the New York Knicks (37-30) are putting the finishing touches on one of the more refreshing seasons in franchise history. With muddled expectations in the preseason, the Knicks quickly broke through, thanks to the remarkable play of first-time All-Star Julius Randle, second-year swingman R.J. Barrett, and first-year head coach Tom Thibodeau.

But recently, the Knicks have fallen out of form. After starting their road trip with wins against the Rockets and Grizzlies, New York was slapped back down to earth by two Western Conference powerhouses, the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns, in back-to-back games. Injuries are a part of the blame, but New York visibly struggled to keep up with the top teams in the West.

New York should look to rebound with just two games remaining on their road trip before heading back home to the Garden.

Whether they start their playoff journey with a home game or not is up to them. With the race for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference razor-thin, the Knicks control their destiny: Win out and claim the fourth seed. No one predicted that the Knicks would make the playoffs in the preseason, let alone homecourt advantage in the first round. The Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat remain within striking distance, meaning New York can’t let up now. 

It doesn’t get easier as New York continues their trip against another top team in the Western Conference—the Los Angeles Clippers (45-22). 

For the Clippers, it starts with their top two players: Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Leonard and George are the best two-way wing combination in the NBA. Their combination of shot creation, outside shooting, and defensive versatility could dismantle most defenses and made Los Angeles an instant contender. 

But it doesn’t stop there. First-year coach Tyronn Lue has stabilized the defense, with Los Angeles ranking 10th in the league in defensive efficiency. Marcus Morris and Serge Ibaka offer experience frontcourt depth. Reggie Jackson is shooting 43.8% from the outside this season. Guys like Rajon Rondo, Luke Kennard, Ivica Zubac, and a returning Patrick Beverley gives Los Angeles the depth to compete for a championship. 

Last Time Out 

The last time the Clippers and Knicks went at it was January 31st, where the Clippers took care of a business 129-115. Leonard finished with 28 points and four rebounds while Barrett totaled 23 points. After the game, Leonard had some positive words about Barrett’s performance. Julius Randle finished with a stellar 27 points, 15 rebounds, and five assists, while George backed Leonard up with 17 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. 

The game went back and forth with very few errors; both teams combined for just 14 turnovers. The difference was Los Angeles’ offense having a bit more firepower than New York. The Clippers finished with 54.3% shooting from the field for the night, including a staggering 44.7% from the outside. Even a shocking performance from Quickley (25 points off the bench) couldn’t boost New York enough to surpass Los Angeles’ offensive power.

Injury Report

The Knicks are in trouble without Quickley and Burks. Burks’ ability to score off the dribble and generate his own offense was greatly missed in the second unit, as New York’s offense has leaned on Derrick Rose in recent weeks. Between the scoring ability and Thibodeau’s reliance on Burks to handle the point guard position in spurts, the Knicks have played mostly the last two weeks without a key contributor off the bench.

As for Quickley, this setback comes just as soon as he was heating up. The game began to slow down for him. He continues to launch long-range threes and offers defense-bending spacing, but recently, he was becoming a bit more comfortable as a ball-handler and became more advantageous when attacking the rim. Burks’ absence hurts, but Quickley’s skill set is missed more, as the Knicks lack players on the roster who offer the gravity Quickley does when his shot is falling.

Keys To Victory 

Stifling the role players: Leonard and George will beat you; that’s a given. However, the Knicks have to stifle the likes of Morris, Ibaka, and the likes. In their last encounter, Jackson had 18 points, Ibaka had 15, and Morris had 11. Attempting to keep pressure on them and forcing Leonard and George to beat you is the way to go. 

Big Games from Randle and Barrett: Once Leonard and George heat up, the Knicks must answer back with big games from Randle and Barrett. Both have been fine as of late but will have to turn it up a bit to defeat the Clippers and get the Knicks back on track. 

Tightening up the defense: I’m sure Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau feels frustrated after allowing 128 points to Phoenix. This won’t be a game where the Knicks completely shut down the Clippers, but a good game to reinforce their defensive game plan. One thing is the stop allowing so many corner threes. Even as Leonard and George heat up, the Knicks must remain active to avoid the likes of Morris and Kennard getting wide-open looks from the outside. 

Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m. ET on Mother’s Day.


Related Content

»READ: Analyzing potential Eastern Conference playoff matchups for the Knicks

»READ: Immanuel Quickley’s long-range shooting has changed the Knicks’ offense

»READ: Derrick Rose has established himself as a key part of Knicks’ second-half success

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Knicks Travel to Phoenix, Looking to Rebound vs Suns

After a blowout in Denver, the Knicks look to get right and get revenge against the Suns, who earlier snapped the nine-game winning streak.

The New York Knicks (37-29) take on the Phoenix Suns (47-19) in game four of the Eastern Conference playoff hopeful’s six-game road trip.

So far, the Knicks are 2-1, and the results have been solid so far if you exclude Wednesday’s adventure. On Wednesday, the 113-97 defeat at the hands of the Denver Nuggets gives New York a chance for a reset. As far as the game, the Knicks need to “bury the tape.” Forget that game, the energy, and overall team frustration, and try to regain their success against a Suns team that defeated them a week prior. 

The loss to Denver moves New York closer to the Atlanta Hawks in the standings, suggesting that the fourth seed is not at all a guarantee for the Knicks. The Knicks defeated the Hawks in their last matchup, but the teams are close enough to where homecourt advantage could be the deciding factor in a potential first-round playoff series.

But tonight, the Knicks will have their work cut for them against one of the best teams in the Western Conference. The Suns, who defeated the Knicks 118-110 on April 26th, are operating in a similar vein—looking to dethrone the Utah Jazz for the top seed in the West, as they sit just one game behind the conference leader. So this game between two teams solidified their playoff status, has quite a few playoff implications on the line. 

Last time out

The last time the two teams played saw the end of New York’s nine-game winning streak, but it saw the Knicks battle back and forth with a better Suns team, keeping it relatively close before Chris Paul took things into his own hands. Paul’s late-game heroics, including a miraculous mid-range dagger to keep New York at bay. 

New York’s elite defense was nowhere to be found against Phoenix’s elite shotmakers. The Suns finished with 54.2% shooting from the floor and 41.2% from the outside. New York did their best to match up with 51.7% shooting and 41.4% on the outside, but it wasn’t enough. Paul, who finished with 20 points, five rebounds, and six assists, was key in Phoenix’s victory. His backcourt mate, Devin Booker, finished with 33 points, four rebounds, and three assists.

For New York, Derrick Rose led all Knicks with 22 points and six assists on the bench, while Julius Randle tallied 18 points, six rebounds, and four assists. R.J. Barrett had 17 points and four assists, but the Knicks needed a bit more. 

It would be great to see if someone can help Reggie Bullock assist New York’s top scorers in their second matchup. In the first matchup, Bullock had 17 points and went 4-of-8 from the outside. Outside of that, New York struggled to put up points. With Phoenix’s explosive offense, the Knicks need more from their rotation to pull out a victory.

Injury Report

The injuries have been piling up lately and this game presents two key contributors to the backcourt on the mend.

Burks got 16 minutes against Denver after getting hurt against Memphis. Quickley is a new name to the report and should be monitored as New York creeps ever so close to the playoffs. Both players are huge to New York’s rotation. Quick has emerged as an elite long-range shooter and has provided solid spacing in Thibodeau’s rotation. Burks has played the last few games, but he has yet to reclaim the form before missing time due to health and safety protocols.

Until Burks gets back to normal, it’s safe to lower expectations on his play. Before the time off, Burks provided the Knicks with another self creator and three-level scorer. Both him and Quickley missing time would be unfortunate, but again, as the playoffs loom, making sure the key players in your rotation are key, so missing a game to get them healthy for the first round is something Thibodeau will have to balance out.

This could open up some spot minutes for Kevin Knox and/or Frank Ntilikina, depending on foul situations, offense-for-defense substitutions, and even the need for creation or shooting.

Keys to Victory

Top guys back on track: Randle and Barrett finished with a combined 28 points, but both players were off. Both players struggled from the field against Denver—a combined 9-of-24 from the floor, but they were also visibly frustrated, as evidenced by both players receiving technical fouls. Both players got that game out of the way and can rebound and find their way against the Suns. 

The Center of Attention: After finding stability with Mitchell Robinson out, New York finds the center position in flux yet again. Nerlens Noel has been great overall but has tailed off in recent games. Taj Gibson has had moments behind Noel, and Norvel Pelle has been serviceable in sot moments. After facing Jonas Valanciunas and Nikola Jokic, DeAndre Ayton awaits, looking to impress after his nine-point, 19-rebound performance the last time they met. 

Immanuel Quickley: Quickley has been fun lately, knocking down threes and taking an effective step forward alongside Rose in the second unit. In his last 10 games, Quickley is averaging 11.7 points and 52.3% from the outside. As we continue to clamor for Elfrid Payton’s minutes to decrease, Quickley is stepping forward and provide Tom Thibodeau another option. It remains to be seen whether Quickley plays against the Suns, but if he does, I can envision him having another solid game. 

Tip-off is set for 10 p.m. ET.


Related Content

»READ: Julius Randle is putting together one of the most important seasons in Knicks history

»READ: Is Nerlens Noel pricing himself out of a Knicks future?

»READ: Immanuel Quickley preaches value in deeper three-ball for Knicks

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Quick Recap: Grizzlies fall to Knicks 118-104

The Memphis Grizzlies came into this game against the New York Knicks (one of the hottest teams in the league since April Fools Day), looking to avenge a bummer loss against the Orlando Magic. The Grizzlies entered this contest losing 3 of their past 4 games, something that’s not encouraging in the midst of a playoff push. However, could they turn their fortunes around against a Knicks team playing Thibs minutes off a back-to-back?

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. The Grizzlies fell victim to a hot game from Julius Randle and Derrick Rose, as they combined for 53 points on 8-13 shooting from deep.

The Grizzlies also got hit with a parade of technicals, as Taylor Jenkins and Ja Morant got 2 and the ejection — while Dillon Brooks got one too.

Here are takeaways.

The flashes of Jaren Jackson Jr.

If there was any bright spot in this game to take away, it is Jaren Jackson Jr.’s path back to normalcy. In the first half, he flashed the skillset that makes him such a tantalizing prospect — perhaps a unicorn.

He found his rhythm from outside, and he was taking Julius Randle off the dribble. Jackson was even doing a solid job of defending without fouling the probable All-NBA big man.

Granted, was there times he showed his youth? Sure, but for a young player that hasn’t played basketball in 9 months, you take the flashes.

New York Knicks v Memphis Grizzlies

Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

More flashes? Yup, with Desmond Bane.

Desmond Bane came into this game in a mini-slump from downtown. However, he came out and flashed the upside that made him such a draft darling with NBA Draft Twitter. He put the ball on the floor to make plays for himself and others. He also connected on 2 in-rhythm 3’s to bring some energy into a lifeless FedEx Forum.

When looking to achieve sustainable success, you take the flashes you get from your young players, especially ones of Bane’s skillset. It’s tough to find players of his skillset. The more comfortable he looks, the better for the team’s short-term and long-term success.

Quick Hitters

  • Dillon Brooks is unbothered. Dillon Brooks does not care what’s going on in the game — slump, run, big leads or deficits, whatever. He’s going to play his tail off from tip-off to the time the final buzzer hits. He was really the only starter to have any sort of offensive flow, using a big 3rd quarter to keep the Grizzlies in the mix. Put some respect on his name.
  • Smaller rotation? Xavier Tillman, Tyus Jones, and De’Anthony Melton all totaled 9 minutes — barely getting any run in the 2nd half. None of them lit the world on fire in the 1st half, but the shorter 2nd half rotation is a development to monitor down the playoff push.
  • Fatigue. Their defensive attention and the offensive struggles could be credited to fatigue. You can see it.They’re in a stretch of 40 games in 68 days, coming off a long road trip, and they’re working pieces together. It’s a grueling schedule, especially for the youngest team in the league.

The Grizzlies will travel to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves Wednesday.

For more Grizzlies talk, subscribe to the Grizzly Bear Blues podcast network on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and IHeart. Follow Grizzly Bear Blues on Twitter and Instagram.

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Nerlens Noel Uncertain as Knicks Face Grizzlies

After a blowout win against the Rockets, the Knicks continue their road trip to Memphis to play a feisty Grizzlies team. 

The countdown is on.

With only eight games left in the regular season for the New York Knicks (36-28), they try to solidify their spot for the fourth-seed in the Eastern Conference. It’ll be a quick turnaround for New York, coming off a lopsided 122-97 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday night. On Monday, the Knicks travel to FedEx Forum to face Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies (32-31).

Despite Memphis coming off of a one-point loss to Orlando and being losers of three of their last four, Knicks guard Derrick Rose sees this game like any other.

“Because of the new system with the play-in games, we know that everybody is playing for something right now,” Knicks guard Derrick Rose said of the regular-season homestretch after last night’s win. “Teams are playing for spots. Every team is going to be a tough game, almost like a playoff game. If anything, this is what you want. You want to be playing your best basketball against elite players and teams. Hopefully, we take this momentum and reach the postseason with it.”

Gearing up for the Grindhouse

While the Grizzlies remain promising, their once strong homecourt advantage at the FedExForum has willed. Whether it be due to Maybe its COVID-19 restrictions and fan capacity limits that might be taking away from some of the atmosphere, but whatever it is, Memphis just isn’t enjoying the same success at home compared to past years. The Grizzlies are 14-17 at home while sporting an 18-14 record on the road this season.

The Knicks bested the Grizzlies before, beating them on April 9th in a 133-129 overtime win. It took a bit of a late comeback and push, but New York got the job done, thanks to R.J. Barrett scoring 15 of his 20 points between the fourth quarter and overtime to carry the Knicks back and complete the comeback.

In the first matchup, Memphis got a cast of characters playing well, as Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks, Desmond Bane, and Jonas Valanciunas were good, but Barrett and a bench unit led by contributions from Immanuel Quickley, Alec Burks, and Derrick Rose were just a bit better that night.

It was an important win for the Knicks, as it sparked a nine-game winning streak to catapult them up the standings. New York hit a speed bump with a loss to Phoenix, but it hasn’t lost since.

Morant is the man to watch. He shook off a two-game shooting slump with an improved 22-point, seven-assist performance on Saturday, but the Grizzlies still fell short in a 112-111 loss to Orlando. With a team-high 19.3 points and 7.3 assists per game, the young star is certainly the Grizzlies’ catalyst. As for Brooks, he can be dangerous when he heats up from deep. When he’s on, he’s on, but he’s been off the mark as of late, only cashing in on 32.5% of threes over the last eight games.

No Noel, no problem?

After leaving the game early against Houston, Knicks center Nerlens Noel’s status is uncertain for Memphis.

The seven-year center out of Kentucky has been electric since taking over for an injured Mitchell Robinson. In April, Noel averaged 5.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks with 64% shooting. His ability to offer an eraser at the rim while being athletic enough to step out and pester drivers and ball-handlers has been huge for New York to maintain their fourth-ranked defense.

Noel’s status is uncertain, but according to head coach Tom Thibodeau, the Knicks will be ready for any scenario.

“We have a lot of flexibility, where we can do both (slide Taj Gibson and Norvel Pelle in his place or play a small-ball lineup),” Thibodeau said after the Rockets game. “We’ve prepared ourselves to do both. We’ll see how the game unfolds, but we do see, of course, where Nerlens is.”

Despite Thibodeau’s confidence, the matchup against Valanciunas is a tough one. The last time he played New York, the center finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds. If Noel isn’t ready to go on Monday, the Knicks will need someone to step up and hold him down inside.

Randle Redo

While the Knicks found a way to win against the Grizzlies the last time out, it wasn’t the greatest game for Julius Randle in their previous encounter. Finishing with a triple-double: 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists, Randle never got going and shot only 4-of-12 on the floor. Fortunately, Barrett and other Knicks were able to spark a comeback and win it in overtime.

Sunday night was another dominant display for Randle, who piled up 31 points, seven boards, six assists, and a steal through three-quarters of work. He got some added rest throughout the fourth quarter, which is a rarity for Randle, who averages 37.5 minutes per game—the most out of everyone in the NBA.

So with a rested Randle, the Knicks will look to go 2-0 to start the six-game road trip. However, the Grizzlies made New York work in their last matchup, so they’ll have to remain focus to come away with the victory. And for Thibodeau, a plan B has to be in order, just in case, Noel can’t go.

Tip-off is set for 9 p.m. ET.


»READ: Julius Randle has been the offensive engine of the New York Knicks

»READ: Derrick Rose has established himself as a key part of Knicks’ second-half success

»READ: R.J. Barrett is becoming a defensive force under Tom Thibodeau’s tutelage

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Derrick Rose Assists Knicks in Rockets Win

The Knicks start their six-game road trip with a blowout victory over the Rockets, thanks to Julius Randle’s third-quarter play and Derrick Rose’s pace and outside shooting. 

The New York Knicks (36-28) defeated the Houston Rockets (16-49) by a final score of 122-97. For New York, Julius Randle finished with 31 points, seven rebounds, and six assists, while Derrick Rose backed him up with 24 points, six rebounds, and four assists off the bench. For the Rockets, Kevin Porter Jr. tallied 14 points, six rebounds, and six assists, while Christian Wood led the Rockets with 19 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. With the win, the Knicks are up 2.5 games over Boston for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Starting the month with a six-game road trip over the next 10 days, the Knicks did not disappoint. It started with Houston and New York trading basket—R.J. Barrett getting some aggressive attacks to the basket while Porter Jr. matched him with his inside-outside game. But the Knicks began to turn up on both sides of the ball. Defensively, the Knicks made sure to stifle and throw a second man at Wood and Porter, making them attempt to move the ball rather than create their own offense.

On offense, the Knicks began raining threes. Barrett knocked down a couple of threes while Randle backed him up with two of his own. In the first half, five Knicks knocked down threes and that outside presence allowed New York to get more easy looks around the rim. Randle began to attack the basket while a Nerlens Noel finish pushed the Knicks to double digits. What started as a back-and-forth game turned to a 15-point lead at the half.

That lead didn’t disapparate as Randle reminded everyone that he is, in fact, an All-Star, taking care of most of New York’s offense in the third, puzzling Houston’s defense with an array of jumpers and drives. In total, Randle finished with 12 points in the third. When he wasn’t scoring the ball, he found Reggie Bullock (11 points, 3-of-6 from three) on the perimeter. Randle’s play and ability to create baskets for himself was key in pushing New York’s lead to 22 by the end of the third.

The fourth quarter was simple for New York—let Randle and Barrett rest as they prepare for a game tomorrow. Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin (five points, three rebounds) got some minutes while Rose led the charge. Tom Thibodeau decided to empty the bench. Norvel Pelle, Frank Ntilikina, Jared Harper, Kevin Knox, and Theo Pinson all got some run tonight, and the Knicks remained in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. All was well as the Knicks avoided falling against a feisty Houston team and got the road trip off right with a blowout win.

Game Notes

  • Derrick Rose had a solid game, but where it showed was in the first half. Once Rose subbed in, the Knicks offense leveled up and began to push the ball. Houston’s defense couldn’t keep up as the combination of Rose and Randle kept the pressure on the Rockets. His passing was good in getting his teammates some shots and a good call from Tom Thibodeau going to Rose early.
  • R.J. Barrett had a solid game. Rose and Randle get all the plaudits, but 21 points, five assists, seven rebounds, and two steals on what felt like a quiet night for him. I enjoyed his early offense—attacking the basket off the dribble and getting some solid threes—but I thought Porter got him a few times on defense. Regardless, Barrett had a solid night.
  • Immanuel Quickley (13 points, 3-of-5 from three) continues to impress. He’s still figuring it out as a playmaker and creator, but his shooting—now extended out to “four-point range” has become such a threat that defenders have to play, creating more space around inside the arc. He’s going to be a fun watch for the playoffs.
  • Let’s hope Nerlens Noel (two points, two rebounds, left the game due to sprained ankle) is alright. The Knicks are already without Mitchell Robinson; losing Noel would be a tough go. I wouldn’t be shocked if he missed a game because of this injury, and as we get closer to the playoffs, Thibodeau will have to balance playing his guys against resting them to preserve them for the playoffs.

The Knicks travel to Memphis to Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies (32-31) on May 3rd. Tip-off is set for 9:00 p.m. ET.


Related Content

»READ: Julius Randle has been the offensive engine of the New York Knicks

»READ: Derrick Rose has established himself as a key part of Knicks’ second-half success

»READ: R.J. Barrett is becoming a defensive force under Tom Thibodeau’s tutelage

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Toronto Raptors at New York Knicks odds, picks and prediction

Joe Williams, Sportsbook Wire
Published 5:13 a.m. CT April 24, 2021

The Toronto Raptors (25-34) travel to meet the New York Knicks (33-27) Saturday at Madison Square Garden. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. ET. Below, we analyze the Raptors-Knicks odds and lines, with NBA picks and predictions.

The Raptors are coming off an impressive 114-103 victory over the Brooklyn Nets last time out, and they’re on a four-game win and cover streak.

The Knicks were equally solid in their most recent victory, pushing past the Atlanta Hawks 137-127 in overtime to cover as a 1.5-point underdog.

They have won eight in a row, including three games in overtime. New York has also covered its past 11 games dating back to April 2.

The last time these teams played, the Knicks topped the Raptors 102-96 at MSG as three-point favorites as the Under connected.

Raptors at Knicks: Odds, spread and lines

Odds via BetMGM; access USA TODAY Sports’ betting odds for a full list. Lines last updated at 6:05 a.m. ET.

  • Money line : Raptors +135 (bet $100 to win $135) | Knicks -160 (bet $160 to win $100)
  • Against the spread/ATS : Raptors +3.5 (-110) | Knicks -3.5 (-110)
  • Over/Under : 216.5 (O: -110 | U: -110)

Raptors at Knicks: Key injuries


  • SG Rodney Hood (knee) questionable
  • C Chris Boucher (knee) out
  • SG Paul Watson (knee) out


  • C Mitchell Robinson (foot) out
  • SG Alec Burks (health and safety protocols) out

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Raptors at Knicks: Odds, lines, predictions and picks


Knicks 117, Raptors 111

Money line (ML)

The KNICKS (-160) are white-hot right now, something we haven’t seen in a while. In fact, the last time New York won eight straight was March 5-21, 2014, and it hasn’t won nine in a row since a 13-game run from March 18-April 9, 2013.

While they’re in rather uncharted territory, New York is the play, as they are showing no signs of slowing down and already beat Toronto once during the win streak.

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Against the spread (ATS)

The KNICKS -3.5 (-110) haven’t had a non-cover since a 99-86 loss against the Dallas Mavericks on April 2. They have been cover kings lately, including a home win and cover over the Raps on April 11, 102-96.

There is a little more risk here than the money line, obviously, as they need to win by at least two buckets. But I’m not willing to bet against them right now. Are you?

Over/Under (O/U)

OVER 216.5 (-110) is the play, and the Knicks are actually the reason. Yes, they still allow the fewest points per game in the NBA, but the Over has cashed in five of the past six games, with New York going for 109 or more points in six straight. It has also allowed 110.2 PPG across the past five outings.

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Mavericks vs. Knicks – Game Recap – April 2, 2021

NEW YORK — — Luka Doncic scored 26 points and the Dallas Mavericks beat the New York Knicks 99-86 Friday night.

Doncic was one of five players to finish in double-figure scoring for Dallas, which has won three straight. Jalen Brunson had 15 points and Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. each added 14 against their former team. Josh Richardson scored 11.

“Defense won us the game,” Porzingis said.

Alec Burks scored 20 points to lead the Knicks, who have lost three in a row. Julius Randle finished with 14 points, and Reggie Bullock had 13.

“Every team is fighting for something right now,” New York’s Derrick Rose said. “And the teams that (are) not fighting for something, they will love to see or be the team to knock us out (of) the playoffs. That’s what the NBA is about: No. Boys. Allowed.”

The Mavericks were without coach Rick Carlisle, who tested positive for COVID-19 in the morning. After the positive test, Carlisle stayed behind at the team hotel. He met virtually with reporters about an hour before the game to announce the positive test while revealing publicly for the first time that he has been fully vaccinated since February. Assistant Jamahl Mosley filled in for Carlisle.

During his post-game media availability, Mosley said Carlisle was cleared to travel to Washington, where the Mavericks will play the Wizards on Saturday night.

It was the first of two matchups between the teams — the rematch occurs on April 16 at American Airlines Center — who were involved in a trade on Jan. 31, 2019, in which the Knicks shipped a disgruntled Porzingis, along with Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, and Trey Burke to Dallas for DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, Dennis Smith Jr., a 2021 first round pick and a 2023 first round pick.

Since the trade, Porzingis has been viewed as a villain by Knicks fans, who booed him throughout his first game at Madison Square Garden as a member of the Mavericks, a 106-103 loss on Nov. 14, 2019.

Five hundred and five days later, the ire of Knicks fans to the franchise’s one-time cornerstone had not subsided as Porzingis, who told reporters Thursday that New Yorkers “show me love and support” whenever he returns, was serenaded with jeers and derisive chants from the sellout crowd of 1,981 inside Madison Square Garden.

“The reaction was what I expected,” Porzingis said.

Dallas led 72-69 after three quarters, and extended its advantage to 80-75 about five minutes into the fourth after Dwight Powell’s alley-oop jam. The dunk seemed to energize the Mavericks, who pushed the lead to 85-75 after Brunson converted a layup and made a 3 in a 49 second span.

Doncic then took over, first banking in a 3 as the shot clock expired followed by two layups and a two-handed dunk.


Mavericks: The game was the third time Porzingis faced his former team, and the second time at Madison Square Garden, the building he once called home. Prior to Friday night’s game, Porzingis and the Mavericks had lost two matchups against the Knicks–both occurring last season. In the two games — a 106-102 loss at Dallas on Nov. 8, 2019, and the aforementioned defeat in New York — the fourth overall pick in the 2015 draft averaged 24 points and 10 rebounds against the Knicks.

Knicks: Entering Friday night’s game, the Knicks were 2-6 in games decided by three points or fewer but it is not a cause for panic for head coach Tom Thibodeau. “Sometimes things get missed,” Thibodeau said during his pregame media availability. “There’s a lot that goes into it. But I think as our guys continue to go through those things, we’ll continue to learn and get better at it.” … Thibodeau did not bite when asked about rumors that the Knicks signed big man Norvel Pelle in order to add depth to the center position in response to Mitchell Robinson breaking his foot. “I can’t comment until it’s official,” Thibodeau said. “I’ll be happy to do so once it’s official.”


Mavericks: Conclude a five-game road trip at Washington on Saturday night.

Knicks: Begin a three-game road trip at Detroit on Saturday night.


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Knicks vs. 76ers – Game Recap – March 16, 2021

PHILADELPHIA — — Tobias Harris scored the baskets that let the Philadelphia 76ers beat the New York Knicks for the 14th straight time and yelled, “I’m an All-Star!”

Fueled by a perceived snub, Harris has become a closer in the clutch and kept Philadelphia rolling without Joel Embiid.

Harris scored 30 points, Seth Curry had 20 and the 76ers beat the Knicks 99-96 on Tuesday night for their sixth straight win.

“That’s for sure what I said,” Harris said. “I’m just reaffirming that to myself. I know the fans know that. I just try and find motivation in different areas and that’s one of them.”

The Sixers (28-12) maintained their grip atop the Eastern Conference standings, in large part because Harris got hot in the final minutes. He scored seven straight points, including the tying bucket from 3-feet out and a go-ahead layup that made it 96-92.

He then yelled his All-Star proclamation loud enough for a sellout crowd of 3,071 fans to hear. Harris believed he should have joined teammates Ben Simmons and Embiid in Atlanta.

“I’m sure it fuels him,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said. “I think Tobias wants to win more, but I still think he thinks he should have been on the All-Star team. I agree with that. ”

Simmons had 16 points and 13 rebounds and has never lost — 13-0 — against the Knicks.

Julius Randle had 19 points and 16 rebounds for the Knicks, and RJ Barrett scored 17 points.

The Sixers, again playing without injured All-Star Joel Embiid, had won all three games since the All-Star break by at least 22 points. The Knicks made them work for this one.

The Sixers reserves rallied them in the fourth. Matisse Thybulle and Furkan Korkmaz buried consecutive 3s that brought the Sixers within four and they stayed on the court when Simmons and Harris checked back into the game. Dwight Howard kept it a four-point game on a clean block on Randle’s drive — no restraint needed — and Simmons scored consecutive baskets that made it 89-87.

Curry gave the Sixers a 90-89 lead when he buried a 3 with 5:01 left.

Randle had to be held back by Knicks teammates after the buzzer following a call that went against him in the final seconds of a loss a night earlier to Brooklyn. The All-Star forward was furious when he was whistled for a travel and the play was not reviewed. Randle’s first season in New York has otherwise been fantastic. The crowd was sprinkled with Knicks fans and there was a brief “MVP!” chant when he went to the free-throw line in the first half. The Sixers promptly turned up the artificial noise.

Randle nearly had a triple-double through three quarters and helped the Knicks pick up their offense over the next two quarters. The Knicks led just 21-20 after a first quarter stuffed with missed shots in an ugly start to the game.

“The 90s are excited about this game,” 76ers President Daryl Morey tweeted.

The Knicks collapsed in the fourth and scored just 14 points on 5-of-19 shooting.

“It shows us the work necessary to get over the hump,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said.


Knicks: G Derrick Rose remained out because of COVID protocols. “He’s feeling a lot better,” Thibodeau said.

76ers: Embiid turned 27. … Rivers had Thibodeau on his staff in Boston when the Celtics won the 2008 NBA title. The two have remained close through the years. “He is one of those guys whose love is basketball. Early on, I tried to get him out of the office. And then I realized that would make him unhappy,” Rivers said. “So let I him be.”


Rivers should have been coaching against his son, but Austin remained away from the team. Rivers lost his spot in New York’s rotation earlier this season when the Knicks acquired Rose and has been officially ruled out because of “personal reasons.”

Doc Rivers said he never talked about his son’s situation with Thibodeau.

“I don’t call coaches and suggest who they should play. I just don’t,” Rivers said. “If it’s your son or not, I stay away from that.”

Rivers also declined to comment on Austin’s personal and professional life.


Howard had 11 points and 12 rebounds off the bench for the Sixers. The key to Howard becoming a super reserve this season?

“Probably the drinks he had in Puerto Rico, or wherever he was over the break,” Rivers said.


Knicks: Host Orlando on Thursday.

76ers: Host the Bucks on Wednesday in the teams’ first meeting this season.


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Knicks vs. Nets – Game Recap – March 15, 2021

NEW YORK — — It was clear from the noise in the seats, even with only about 1,600 fans in attendance.

It was obvious from the emotion on the court, where Julius Randle had to be restrained by Knicks teammates after the buzzer following a call that went against him in the final seconds.

New York’s basketball rivalry was alive and heated Monday night.

“I got a little taste of it tonight,” James Harden said.

Kyrie Irving scored 34 points and Harden posted his 10th triple-double of the season, leading the Brooklyn Nets to a 117-112 victory over the Knicks.

Harden finished with 21 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists in his first game against the Knicks since arriving in Brooklyn two months ago and turning the Nets into one of the NBA’s best teams.

Randle had 33 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, before a number of his teammates had to get off the bench to hold the All-Star forward back as he tried to get near the referees at midcourt.

He wouldn’t comment on his intentions, or the traveling call with the Knicks down three and 3.2 seconds remaining.

“I was just frustrated,” Randle said. “Obviously we fought so hard to come back and try to win the game, so I was just frustrated and that was pretty much it.”

The Nets agreed to the deal that brought Harden to Brooklyn on Jan. 13, playing short-handed that night at Madison Square Garden in a 116-109 victory over the Knicks. That made them just 7-6, but they are 20-7 since Harden’s arrival, including 19-4 when at least two of their three superstars play.

The Knicks also have played well, with a .500 record and an energized fan base that made its presence felt among the small crowd allowed in Barclays Center.

“These New York fans, especially the Knicks fans, you can hear them,” Harden said. “I don’t know how many fans we have in the building total, but you heard a lot of Knicks fans.”

Jeff Green scored 20 points as the Nets won for the 13th time in 14 games, even with Kevin Durant sitting out the last 12 of them with a strained left hamstring.

The Knicks cut an 18-point deficit to 115-112 after a dunk by Randle and then got the ball back when coach Tom Thibodeau successfully challenged a foul called on RJ Barrett with 7.7 seconds remaining. The Knicks won the ensuing jump ball and Randle tried to shoot a 3-pointer. Irving got his hand on the ball as Randle leaped and Randle dropped it after he landed and was called for traveling.

Crew chief Scott Foster said Irving didn’t dislodge the ball and Randle dropped it himself, making it a travel when he picked it up. He added that officials couldn’t hear anything Randle said after the buzzer.

Harden closed it out with two free throws.

The Nets made 70% of their shots and led by five after one quarter, then opened the second with a 14-2 spurt to take a 49-32 lead.

Barrett scored 23 points and rookie Immanuel Quickley had 21 in his first career start for the Knicks, who are in a tough stretch with Milwaukee, Brooklyn and Philadelphia, the top three teams in the Eastern Conference, in their first four games after the All-Star break.


Knicks: Quickley started with the Knicks playing without point guards Elfrid Payton (strained right hamstring) and Derrick Rose (health and safety protocols). Also, Austin Rivers is away from the team for personal reasons. … C Mitchell Robinson, recovering from surgery on a broken hand, did some shooting workouts before the game. Thibodeau said Robinson was making progress and hopefully would be able to return soon.

Nets: Coach Steve Nash presented Harden with the February Eastern Conference player of the month award before the game. … Brooklyn’s 62.5% shooting from the field was its highest in a first half this season.


The Nets continue to take it slowly with Blake Griffin, the six-time All-Star they signed during the All-Star break. Griffin hadn’t played in his final weeks in Detroit so the Nets don’t want to hurry him into the lineup before his body is ready, listing him out with left knee injury management.

“He’s healthy enough to play, we’re just trying to work on some of his physical deficiencies to help the knee and also ramp up his activity so he can have a safer return to play,” Nash said. “So, we just keep monitoring it, just keep building and we’ll have him back at some point here.”


The victory was the Nets’ 100th against the Knicks. New York leads the series 101-100 with one meeting left this season.


Knicks: Visit Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Nets: Visit Indiana on Wednesday.

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