Knicks defenseless in blowout loss to Pacers in return to MSG
01-12-2019, 05:53 PM,
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Knicks defenseless in blowout loss to Pacers in return to MSG
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By Howie Kussoy

The Knicks returned home — and everything was as they had left it.

Coming back from a six-game, 13-day road trip, the Knicks started the second half of the season by making a high lottery pick look like the team’s top priority, suffering their seventh straight home loss, 121-106, to the Pacers on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks (10-32) haven’t won at home since Dec. 1, and have lost 16 of their past 18 games. Despite the fact they play 14 of their next 20 games at the Garden, the misery may only get worse, with upcoming home games against the 76ers, Thunder and Rockets.
“It’s not the result we wanted, but it was good to be back here,” rookie Kevin Knox said. “That long road trip, we were all ready to be back here, back in our own beds, in front of the home crowd.”
The home crowd wasn’t missing much, and had cleared the stands before the fourth quarter began. By then, the Knicks’ brief lead felt like fiction.

After falling behind by 13 early in the second quarter, the Knicks fought back behind Noah Vonleh — who hit his first four shots, but never regained his rhythm after getting into early foul trouble — and jumped ahead, 46-45, following back-to-back 3-pointers by Tim Hardaway Jr.
Quickly, sanity returned to the scoreboard, and the Pacers (28-14) began pulling away by closing the half on a 12-0 run — sparked by Victor Oladipo (19 points) — and taking a 64-52 lead to the break.


Coach David Fizdale had a simple explanation for the game-swinging run.
“Defensive breakdowns,” he said. “For whatever reason … we’re rolling along right there, competing with them step for step, and we took probably three shots where we didn’t make one pass, which put a ton of pressure back on our defense

The deficit grew to 21, and never fell to single digits again.

“When we get hit, when they go on a little run, we’ve got to gather ourselves and get back together so we can make a run of our own,” said Knox, who finished with 14 points. “We just got to be able to find a way when we get hit in the mouth to be able to hit back.”
As usual, the hits kept coming — with little resistance.
If defensive effort existed, it was hard to believe. If defensive effort was present, it was even more embarrassing.
The Knicks entered having allowed nearly 116 points per game this season — including 20 straight games allowing 109 points or more — and they repeatedly gave open looks to the Eastern Conference’s third-best team, which shot 52 percent from the field, and hit 12-of-26 3-pointers. The Pacers also were boosted by the interior play of 22-year-old Domantas Sabonis, who had 22 points and 15 rebounds.
Emmanuel Mudiay, one of seven double-digit scorers for the Knicks, put up all of his 21 points in the second half, as the team shot an uncharacteristically high 39 3-pointers, making 14.
“That wasn’t in the plan,” Fizdale said, “but some of those shots you get when you just don’t make the easy play and move the ball and end up getting stuck with the ball at the end of the clock, or you take them early in the clock.”
Welcome home.
Game 7

 Boone: You know my mama wanted me to be a Manager.

 Judge: My dad wanted me to be a baseball player.

 Boone: Well you're better than any player I ever had. And you're the best God damn player I ever saw. Suit up.
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