Knicks takeaways from Saturday’s 134-128 OT loss to Clippers, including late heroics falling short

Feb 4, 2023;  New York, New York, USA;  New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) looks to drive past LA Clippers guard Terance Mann (14) in the second quarter at Madison Square Garden.

Feb 4, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) looks to drive past LA Clippers guard Terance Mann (14) in the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Brunson returned to the lineup, but the Knicks lost 134-128 to the Clippers in overtime on Saturday night.

TOAfter missing one game due to a non-COVID related illness, Brunson was joined by Julius Randle, Quentin Grimes, RJ Barrett and Jericho Sims in the starting lineup.

Here are the takeaways….

-The Clippers started off hot from beyond the arc, making four of their first five three-pointers to help Los Angeles get out to a 14-9 lead four minutes into the game. Brunson made his first three shots to keep the score close. However, a 12-2 Clippers run in the final three minutes gave Los Angeles a sizable 36-28 lead to end the first quarter.

The Clippers shot 61 percent in the opening frame, but it was their proficient three-point shooting that burned the Knicks. They made 7-of-10 from three, led by Paul George‘s three three-pointers and 11 points overall. The Knicks shot 50 percent and were led by Randle’s nine points after one. Barrett, coming off his 30-point performance on Thursday, was 2-for-8 (0-for-2 from three) but attacked the rim in a similar fashion from the other night, the buckets were just not dropping.

-The second unit of Immanuel Quickley, Isaiah Hartenstein, Obi Toppin, Miles McBride and Barrett started the second quarter for the Knicks. Back-to-back threes from Toppin and Quickley cut the lead to two to start the frame. But a short run by the Clippers rebuilt their favorable lead. The three wasn’t going down for the Knicks, even in possessions where they had multiple attempts, and the biggest offender was Barrett. He missed two more threes in the frame, increasing his streak to 12 straight misses from beyond the arc — that would go to 15 straight before he finally made one in the fourth. Quickley, on the other hand, made three three-pointers in the second quarter. Both teams would go on runs as the Clippers held on to a 63-56 lead after two, which the Knicks should be grateful for.

The Knicks’ defense was tighter in the second quarter, holding the Clippers to 41 percent shooting, but Los Angeles still hit more threes than New York. All three of the Knicks’ threes in that quarter came from Quickley. They were 3-of-7 from three overall. Brunson came on in the second quarter, scoring 11 of his 15 points at the half. Randle also scored 15 points at the break. George led all scorers with 21 points.

-The starters began the third quarter for the Knicks, but the defense could not get stops, allowing George, Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers to build a double-digit lead. But Brunson’s offensive game erupted, scoring 13 of the Knicks’ first 15 points in the third quarter including hitting three straight threes. But Leonard would take over for stretches and costly Knicks turnovers gave the Clippers some breathing room heading into the fourth quarter. Los Angeles led the Knicks, 96-81 — the Clippers’ largest lead to this point — after three.

The Clippers improved to shoot 55 percent in the third quarter to the Knicks’ 48 percent. Leonard led the Clippers in the third, hitting 4-of-6 shots, and headed into the fourth with 25 points. George still led the Clippers with 26 points while Brunson led all scorers with 28 points.

– Thibodeau changed up the rotation a bit to start the fourth. He went with Quickley, Hartenstein, Toppin, Grimes and McBride, who started the quarter with five straight points. This unit went on a 13-2 run to cut the Clippers lead to single digits with eight minutes remaining. However, a 6-0 run by the Clippers forced a Thibodeau timeout with seven minutes remaining so he could put in the starters. The Knicks would cut the lead to six with three minutes left when the Clippers’ Norman Powell posterized Randle with a massive dunk and one to give Los Angeles a commanding lead. But a 16-4 run, capped by a Grimes three gave the Knicks their first lead of the game at 113-112 with less than a minute to go. However, after a score by Brunson, Nicolas Batum tied the game at the buzzer with a three in a chaotic sequence that forced overtime.

In overtime, the Clippers outhustled the Knicks. They picked up offensive rebounds and a visibly gassed Knicks team picked up foul after foul, and turned the ball over. The Clippers scored 15 of their 19 points from the free-throw line to eventually win 134-128.

This was the Knicks’ third overtime in their last five games. Both the Knicks and Clippers shot 48 percent from the field. Leonard (35) and George (30) did the most damage for Los Angeles. Brunson scored a game-high 41 points, but did not score in overtime. Randle added 28 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Barrett finished with 14 points on 6-of-21 shooting.


What’s next

The Knicks host the 76ers on the second of a back-to-back on Sunday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 pm

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