It was only a few days ago when the New York Knicks simply couldn’t win a close game for the life of them, representing their biggest weakness. A failure to hit clutch shots and hold on down the stretch was piling “Ls” in the loss column for New York, but it seems as if they might’ve put their struggles behind them.
Despite losing back-to-back games against the Nets and Celtics by a combined four points, the Knicks have bounced back to defeat the Grizzlies by four and Toronto Raptors by six in consecutive victories. They have clawed their way back to .500 on the season, just one game behind Boston, who is on a three-game win streak.
Currently, the Knicks hold the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, just one game above the Indiana Pacers. The Knicks have a tough stretch ahead of them, as they will host the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday evening and then travel to New Orleans and Dallas. The Lakers, who are currently third in the Pacific Division, are coming off a strong win over the Nets.
Luckily for New York, the Lakers won’t have LeBron James or Anthony Davis, which will give them a better chance at walking away with a “W.” In fact, the Lakers have only won five of their last 12 games playing inconsistent basketball as of late.
However, let’s reflect on the Knicks’ most recent win over Toronto, where they blew an 18 point lead in the second half, allowing Toronto to put together a 25 point turnaround, which gave them a four-point advantage at one point in the 4th quarter. If not for Alec Burks hitting a few clutch shots and RJ Barrett coming through with a three-pointer in the final minutes, the Knicks might’ve lost a disappointing game, one which they led by a fair margin throughout.
All-Star Julius Randle posted 26 points, but it took him until late in the fourth quarter to get his first points of the second half, shooting 1-of-8 from downtown. He did hit 11-of-11 free throws, which ended up being the difference.
It was nice to see the Knicks tough out a difficult game where Toronto put their best foot forward in the final moments. Suffocating defense and timely hooping is what the Knicks have showcased the past few games, and hopefully, they can pick up a third consecutive went over the Lakers on Monday.