Knicks battle through 3 quarters, but lose again

On a day when Knicks fans everywhere were consumed with a player on a team halfway across the country, New York actually had a game to play.

To watch them on this evening was, in a lot of ways, refreshing. Much of the talk over the last week, from some outlets at least, has been about how this season has gone horribly wrong. About how the Knicks knew they were going to be bad, but not this bad. About how they haven’t shown the signs of growth that even a young team should in their first season under a new coach.

With their tenth loss in a row and 18th in their last 19 games, it’s easy to buy into it all. Unless you’re actually paying attention.

For the fourth consecutive game, the Knicks held an opponent to fewer points than they did the previous one (127 vs OKC, 114 vs Houston, 109 vs Brooklyn, 106 vs Miami, and 101 vs Charlotte). For the first time all year, you can watch this group and feel like there is something readily identifiable about them – they’re employing an aggressive defense that picks its spots between when it switches and when it traps, and they’re starting to figure it out.

Most helpful in that effort was the newest Knick, Kadeem Allen, who wrecked havoc on that end of the floor. Fizdale couldn’t stop praising his recent acquisition after the game, and it was well deserved. His energy popped off the screen.

Not to be outdone, the Knicks rookies all had their moments. Kevin Knox broke out of his mini-slump with 19 points, including 3-of-4 from deep. He had a nice sequence under his own basket where he battled for a few consecutive offensive boards before drawing a foul.

Mitchell Robinson, meanwhile, continues to provide a reason to watch this team, netting three more blocks in 13 minutes. His alley oop connection with Allonzo Trier is now officially a thing, and even though Trier couldn’t buy a bucket tonight, he connected with Mitch for three lobs and got to the line eight times.

It goes down as another L though, thanks largely to a stretch in the beginning of the fourth where New York looked out of sorts on both ends. As is often the culprit, the ball stopped moving. Trey Burke doesn’t deserve all of the blame, but this seems to happen more often than not when he checks in, and his entrance into the game is what led to the rough stretch.

The Knicks will try to end this streak against a Dallas team that saw New York play perhaps its best game earlier this season. We’ll see if they can come up with a repeat effort.

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