Beige Jalen Brunsonthe The Knicks offensively stalled and could not be stopped Kawhi Leonard as they lost 106-95 to the Clippers on Saturday.
With Brunson missing another game due to foot soreness, Immanuel Quickley started in his place by the side Julius Randle, Quentin Grimes, RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson.
Here are the conclusions….
– The shooting problems of the Knicks from the last two games returned in the first quarter. They started shooting 1-of-6, including 0-for-3 from three, as the Clippers took an 8-2 lead and a coach’s timeout Tom Thibodeau. That lead would grow to 16-6 thanks to careless turnovers and more bad shots. Josh Hart and Isaiah Hartenstein he would replace Barrett and Robinson, and the Knicks went on an 8-0 run. Randle tried to drive to the basket against the two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Kawhi Leonardand more often than not unsuccessful.
Randle scored just two points in the first frame and picked up two fouls. Quickley, coming off a 1-for-11 game against the Sacramento Kings, started with eight points on 3-of-5 shooting, including 2-of-2 from three. Grimes added seven points on 3-6 shooting. For the Clippers, Leonard led the way with eight points on 4-7 shooting.
-Second unit Barrett, Hart, Hartenstein, Miles McBride and Obi Toppin started the second quarter and continued to chip away at the Clippers’ lead. Los Angeles kept the Knicks at bay for a while, but New York took its first lead with six minutes left at 37-36. Both teams would trade the lead. Randle would make his first 3-pointer with less than a minute left, then was fouled on his second 3-pointer with three seconds left. The All-Star made all three free throws to give the Knicks a 49-47 halftime lead.
The change in the Knicks offense in the second quarter was the defense and the way they pushed the tempo on offense. After every Clippers miss, they went for quick penetration and that often led to easy dunks. They had 15 rushing points in the first half after averaging just 11 this season. It was also a physical game in the first half. The referees swallowed a lot of whistles, especially in the first quarter, on both sides. This led to quite visible frustration for Randle and the rest of the Knicks. Randle was 2-for-11 with just nine points, while Quickley led New York with 11 on 3-of-6 shooting. Hart added six points, four rebounds and four assists off the bench in addition to the other intangibles he brings.
– Both teams continued to trade buckets for most of the third quarter. The physicality continued as well, with calls not being made on both sides, causing even more frustration. Nowhere more evident than in the final seconds of the third. Randle almost scored Mason Plumlee elbow after scrambling for position that was called with the Knicks leading 74-73. Randle also received a technical and had to be calmed down by his bench. The Clippers hit their free throws to go up 76-74 after three.
Robinson made his presence felt in the third quarter, defending the rim and getting offensive rebounds, he had 14 at this point in the game. Leonard scored 18 of the team’s 29 points in the third, giving the Clippers life.
– The Clippers made the series 6-0, and the Knicks had problems with scoring points. With Randle on the bench and struggling, New York looked to Quickley, Toppin and Hart for offense. Randle didn’t check in until 6:28, but the Knicks defense kept the score close enough. Even with Randle on the floor, the Knicks couldn’t muster enough offense, and Leonard continued to create chaos. Los Angeles held a significant lead, and the Knicks were unable to get any closer as they fell 106-95. They have now lost their second straight (third overall) on the West Coast road trip.
Leonard dominated the game, scoring 38 points on 14-of-22 shooting. Quickley did his part in Brunson’s place, scoring 26 points on 8-17 shooting. Randle ended up with 19 points, but shot a poor 5 of 24 from the field. Barrett shot 5-12 for 11 points.
The Knicks play the Los Angeles Lakers for the second consecutive game on Sunday night. The tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m