The New York Knicks snapped their three-game winning streak tonight with a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder move to 4-4 and the Knicks move to 5-4 on the season.
With two of the least scoring offenses in the league, this game was bound for trouble. The Thunder didn’t start firing away until the third quarter. The Knicks shot inconsistently and inefficiently with no pace to the offense.
Tonight, New York shot 35.8 percent from the field and 60 percent from the free-throw line. Here are some things I took away from tonight’s loss:
Mitchell Robinson Looks Far More Improved On Defense
Tonight’s game was the perfect time for Mitchell Robinson to showcase his improved defense. He did just that. Robinson ended the game with three blocks and two steals. But what stood out to me was his improved defensive technique. Robinson swarmed defenders in the post. Plus, he never got faked out by opponents. As a matter of fact, Robinson ended the night with just three fouls on his stat line. The only one getting shots off of Robinson was Al Horford from mid-range. But, Horford couldn’t miss tonight.
Tom Thibodeau Leaves Robinson Out Of Fourth Quarter
Oddly enough, Tom Thibodeau didn’t use Mitchell Robinson in the fourth quarter. Without Robinson, gaping holes in the Knicks’ defense allowed the Thunder to pull the game away. Thibodeau went with a small-ball lineup in the fourth quarter to generate more offense. Although, the offense showed no improvement from the third quarter.
Thibodeau also mentioned that Robinson was not feeling well. Hopefully, Robinson is okay and in good health. If he’s not this is one huge defensive loss for the Knicks.
The Knicks Really Miss Alec Burks, Lack Of Spacing
Tonight showed a lot of weaknesses of the Knicks as a team. One significant weakness is shooting. It’s crystal clear that the team missed the presence of Alec Burks coming off of the bench. The Knicks lack shooters but Burks is one of their best. Many open shots were missed by the Knicks tonight, especially from three-point range.
Another thing the Knicks lack is floor spacing. New York simply couldn’t create their own shots against an overachieving defense. Whenever the Thunder drove into the paint, there were no defenders to be found. Whenever the Knicks drove into the paint, they were swarmed by Thunder defenders.
Immanuel Quickley Goes Stone Cold
For the past two games, Immanuel Quickley’s numbers have been quite low. Elfrid Payton shined in Wednesday’s game versus the Jazz, the reason behind Quickley only seeing six minutes. In the time that he did play, Quickley missed his only shot.
Tonight, Quickley had an abundance of playing time but didn’t contribute. In 17 minutes, he scored only three points on one of nine from the field. The rookie out of Kentucky is going through a little bit of a struggle. It seemed as though he tried to focus on drawing more shooting fouls than putting the ball through the hoop. It was only a matter of time before he would go back down to earth. Hence, Quickley is not the starting point guard.