Knicks snap 9-game winning streak snapped by lowly Hornets, crumbling on offense in last eight minutes – The Mercury News


The streak is over. Unexpectedly.

Playing like a hangover from their double-OT thriller two nights earlier, the Knicks swooned Tuesday night against the lowly Hornets, barely functioning as an offense in the wake of a 112-105 loss at MSG.

The Knicks (39-28) managed just eight points in the last eight minutes, sending a stunned Garden crowd to the exits in silence.

The Hornets (21-46) had lost three games in a row and were losing their best player, the injured LaMelo Ball, but the Knicks just kept going as they opened up a 16-point halftime lead.

He snapped New York’s winning streak at nine, or one short of its longest stretch in the past decade.

“I think every game is a trap,” said Tom Thibodeau. “But it’s human nature too. You let your guard down a little, it will slip. This league is too good.”

Julius Randle, who was just named Eastern Conference Player of the Week, was 5-for-17 with 16 points. He looked exhausted. Immanuel Quickley was also low on energy as he replaced the injured Jalen Brunson, missing 11 of his 16 tries. The Knicks made 40 3-pointers, but shot just 27.5%.

It was the final game before the Knicks embark on a seven-day, four-game road trip to the Western Conference as the Big East tournament invades the Garden.

The Knicks took control late in the first half, when they used a 23-11 run to maintain a 16-point halftime lead. Quentin Grimes ended the half with a reverse layup with 0.4 seconds left, prompting the crowd to the loudest cheers of the night.

Then it all went downhill. The Knicks’ lead dropped to 2 early in the fourth quarter,

Before the game, Thibodeau announced that Brunson would have a sore foot, the same injury that sidelined the guard in Sunday’s game against the Celtics. Thibodeau, who is Bill Belichick-ian in his lack of injury updates, did not provide a schedule but said Brunson will travel with the team on their four-game road trip that begins Thursday in Sacramento.

“We love our depth. The next guy, get in there and do it,” Thibodeau said. “We have more than enough to win.”

Quickley, who dropped a career-high 38 points against the Celtics, started at point guard again on Tuesday but couldn’t repeat the magic. Hornets head coach Steve Clifford said Brunson’s absence creates a domino effect that negatively affects the Knicks.

“I think they’re very different because you don’t have both,” Clifford said. “It’s not one or the other. Forty-eight minutes is a long time. Therefore, it affects its depth. He was great the other night (in Boston). It started well. And then the end of the game and overtime. He had that stretch where he scored seven straight points, and he’s played like that in stretches like that before. I would say Jalen to train against is obviously one of the two guys you focus on. But certainly Quickley is capable of a big night and they have other guys too.”

The Knicks are now 3-3 without Brunson, the current Eastern Conference Player of the Month.


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