Heartbreak Hotel must be located in Sacramento.
The Knicks’ losing ways continued Sunday evening. Despite rallying back from 19 points down, a last-second three-point field goal from an unlikely source (Skal Labissiere) put the Knicks out of their misery. The big man converted on the only long range attempt he hoisted up all game, sealing the 102-99 win for the Kings.
Because of the score, this game would appear to be much closer than it actually was. But alas, New York once again put up very little defensive pressure. Sacramento ran circles around their opponent’s stagnant defense and pushed the pace to get exactly what they wanted. Scoring the basketball appeared much too easy for the lowest scoring team in the league. It also just so happens that Sacramento is the only NBA squad that is worse than the Knicks during the third quarter. Such a trend didn’t matter on Sunday. New York’s woes coming out of the break continued and prevailed over Sacramento’s. Needless to say, it’s certainly not the area in which a team wants to come out on top in, but the Knicks found a way. Oh, the irony.
The Kings average fewer than 100 points per game, but Labissiere’s late long ball put them over the edge. Just when things appear as though they can’t get any worse, the bleeding continues. Coach Jeff Hornacek’s frustration looks to be at an all-time high, and rightfully so. He could be found screaming, stamping his feet, and even slamming his clip board with tensions steep as ever. He was trigger happy with timeouts, calling breaks in action rather sporadically, but even those couldn’t be used to effectively light the fire under his squad. The coach appeared to be playing to win this one, much to the surprise of many. He relied upon Tim Hardaway Jr. and allowed him to get into an offensive rhythm, scoring 24 points in 37 minutes. The swingman was given the playing time he needs to find a comfort level, which hasn’t exactly been the case in recent weeks. Enes keptkeep offensive hope alive with 16 boards — 8 of them on the offensive glass — and veteran Courtney Lee scored all 10 of his points in the first half. The offense was flowing as usual, but the effort on the other end of the floor simply wasn’t there. Relief is not exactly in sight.
While the Knicks came alive with time winding down, it simply wasn’t enough to make up for earlier shortcomings. If they truly wanted to compete, the Knicks needed to take their opponent seriously from start to finish, and it just didn’t look like the urgency was there.