The Knicks continue to blow leads and not close out games in crunch time. When will it end?
The Knicks have hit an early rough patch in this new season due to one everlasting issue. CLOSING OUT GAMES! It’s something about the Knicks in the second half that just makes them prone to keeping opposing teams in striking distance to steal games at the end.
The best example of this is the game against the Atlanta Hawks, where the Knicks blew a 20 point lead between the midway point of the second quarter and 3rd quarter which led to a 112-99 loss at home. Hawks guard Dejounte Murray torched the Knicks down the stretch. He ended the contest with 36 points while tallying up 9 ast and 5 steals. Also, in the previous game against the Cavs, the Knicks squandered a comfortable 9 point lead in the 4th quarter while allowing the Cleveland to outscore them 37-15 in that quarter.
Tough Eastern Conference
This was largely due to Donovan Mitchell, Kevin Love, and Dean Wade combining for an NBA record 22 3 pointers, which played a big part in the 4th quarter explosion that ultimately put the game away. Even in the win against the Hornets, the Knicks kept leaving the door open for Charlotte to steal the game and it nearly happened. The Hornets were able to comeback and force the Knicks into overtime, which should have never happened in the first place. Fortunately, they were able to squeeze by with a victory but struggling to close out the Hornets without Lamelo Ball is a glaring red flag.
With the Eastern Conference being so deep this season, wins will be hard to come by especially for a Knicks team that’s trying to make it back to the postseason. As you can see, they haven’t measured up well against some of the best teams in the East (the Celtics being the most recent example of that) and it’s mainly because they can’t seem to play consistently well on both ends of the floor when it matters most.
Whether it’s switching up the lineups in crunch time or running different sets and plays, something different needs to happen with this team down the stretch. It’s alarming to see the Knicks continue to have the same problem and if this trend can’t be broken sooner than later, they can forget about contending in the East this season.
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