Knicks takeaways from Friday’s 104-96 loss to Hornets, including a 3rd quarter meltdown

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Knicks Kemba Walker drives against Hornets white jersey
Knicks Kemba Walker drives against Hornets white jersey

The Knicks squandered a 16-point lead to lose 104-96 to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday.

Here are the takeaways….

  • Coach Tom Thibodeau put out the same starting lineup despite their struggles on Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks. After a short back-and-forth, Kemba Walker would drop eight straight points to give the Knicks an early lead. The team would go on a 12-3 run. Walker would post 14 points in the first five minutes of the game. The Knicks shot 7-of-10 from three including four from Walker. When the Hornets cut the lead to 10, Alec Burks hit two straight three-pointers. Despite zero points from Julius Randle, the Knicks took a 34-18 lead into the second quarter led by Walker’s 17 points. The team as a whole shot 54% while holding the Hornets to just 32% shooting.

  • After he twisted his ankle in the early minutes of the first quarter, Mitchell Robinson returned in the second and contributed six points. The Knicks held onto their double-digit lead for the first half of the quarter thanks to good defense and getting offensive rebounds. The Hornets went on a 9-4 run to cut the lead to eight, but Randle would score seven consecutive points, his first points of the game, to increase New York's lead. The Hornets would go on another run in the final minutes to cut the Knicks’ lead to nine heading into the half. After a hot start, Walker scored only three points in the second quarter. The team as a whole shot poorly in the second, only dropping 31 percent of their shots including just 1-of-7 from three.

  • Gordon Hayward scored the first five points of the second half to cut the Knicks' lead to just four. After some poor possessions, the Hornets would tie the game at 56 after a 10-1 run. Walker scored four straight points, but the Hornets went on a 10-0 run to open an eight-point lead. In the final minutes of the third, Thibs put in his second unit to try and cut into the Hornets lead. Immanuel Quickley hit back-to-back three pointers as the Knicks went into the final frame down 80-76.

  • The Knicks' second unit started the fourth quarter. A 9-3 run helped the Knicks take the lead with eight minutes remaining. Both teams would continue to trade buckets until around four minutes left in the game when Derrick Rose looked to twist his ankle and was replaced by Walker. Not long after that, Randle and RJ Barrett would return. The Hornets went on a 12-2 run to take the lead back for good.

  • Walker ended the night with 26 points, a season high. The bench players did a lot of the heavy lifting in the second half with Burks (15 points), Quickley (9) and Rose (8) contributing. The team as a whole shot just 39 percent.

Highlights

What’s next

The Knicks return to the Garden to take on the Indiana Pacers on Monday at 7:30 p.m.