Knicks Run out of Time to Make 4th Quarter Comeback vs Hornets

Lauren Russell

NEW YORK - As the NBA mourns over the loss of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, and the 7 others who passed in the devastating helicopter crash, the Knicks took on the Hornets in Charlotte.

The game opened with the Hornets winning the tip and taking a 24-second shot clock violation, as we have seen teams throughout the league do, to honor #24, Kobe Bryant. The Knicks then took an 8-second backcourt violation in honor of Bryant and his first NBA number, 8.

New York started the game hot. Julius Randle played a large part in that by hitting his first four shots. The Knicks ended the first quarter with a double-digit lead and held the Hornets to just 15 points.

But, the second quarter was a different story for the Hornets, they more than doubled their point total from the first quarter, scoring 32. After a handful of fouls committed by New York as the second quarter winded down, the Knicks headed to the locker room with a 50-47 lead.

The second half is where things went downhill for the New York squad. Charlotte came out of halftime and hit back to back 3’s to tie the game at 53. The Knick defense was starting to go sour as their offense went cold. They could only put up 16 points in the third quarter.

The Knicks were down by ten with 3:21 left in the game, but they didn’t go away. With 3:44 left Frank Ntilikina subbed into the game for the first time. Keep in mind he scored 11 points in Sunday’s victory vs the Nets and seemed to be finding his offensive grove again. Dennis Smith Jr. was the first point guard to enter the game off the bench and played 15 minutes. The trade deadline is approaching, and he has been a name coming up in possible trade rumors.

Ntilikina made an immediate impact on the game. The first time he touched the ball he drained a three.

With just under two minutes left in the game, Marcus Morris hit a three and drew the foul. This would have given him the opportunity to cut the Hornets lead to five, but then Hornets coach James Borrego challenged the play. The challenge paid off as it was ruled Morris kicked his leg out on the shot, making it an offensive foul. It was a close call, as his leg didn’t seem to be unnaturally kicked out at all. This was a huge turning point in the game, but still, the Knicks hung in there trying to make a comeback with the clock winding down. 

Frank Ntilikina forced a Hornets backcourt turnover which led to Marcus Morris, hitting a three. Damyean Dotson also hit two late 3’s to keep bringing the Hornets lead back down to four. But Terry Rozier didn’t choke under pressure hitting eight free throws in the final minute which sealed the Hornets 97-92 victory. A low scoring game indeed but it is expected when both teams shoot below 30% from beyond the arc.

The Knicks attempted comeback was just a little too late in this one.