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Two straight nights the Knicks had a chance to at least send the game to overtime and they fell short. Last night, they let Caris LeVert drive to the hoop and score the game-winning bucket with a second left. Tonight, Trey Burke had the chance to tie the game as he was fouled in the act of shooting a 35-foot three-pointer and he choked on the first free throw.
The Knicks had plenty of chances to win this basketball game, and they fell just short. The Celtics handed the Knicks the opportunity to get this game into overtime and they could not capitalize. That was a tough loss to swallow against the best team in the Eastern Conference.
First off, the Knicks have to be relieved that Kevin Knox has a sprained ankle, and nothing is broken. He will likely end up missing some time, but probably not significant time. With the team already without Kristaps Porzingis, that would be a big blow if their prized rookie were to miss the whole season. The Knicks are badly in need of frontcourt depth. Lance Thomas made a big three in the final minute, but he's been a liability offensively. He's good defensively, but he's not enough of an elite defender to warrant him getting a ton of minutes. They need more production offensively from the power forward.
Enes Kanter showed us his three-point range as he drained his first three of the season tonight. Kanter looks a bit awkward when he releases it, but he clearly worked on that in the offseason. With their lack of frontcourt depth, Kanter can't get too trigger happy behind the arc. They need him in the post. The Knicks have to be encouraged by Noah Vonleh, who was an absolute rebounding machine tonight, and they need those boards on the offensive glass. He had 11 rebounds in his first 10 minutes of action. Damyean Dotson also was a bright spot, dropping 10 points. The Knicks are looking for him to show some progression in his sophomore season with increased playing time this year.
The Knicks battled after losing Knox for the game. This team showed a lot of fight and played resilient basketball. Coach Fizdale had this team playing until the final whistle, and almost escape with a victory. In a rebuild year, fans want this team to compete and play competitive basketball. They did that tonight against a team that could be in the NBA Finals. While there aren't moral victories, it's a long 82-game season. If you're going to get mad at every tight loss, you're gonna be pulling your hair out.
Fans will need to accept the fact that this isn't a playoff team, and you want to see players get better and play hard and play together. We didn't see that much last season under Jeff Hornacek. Sure, the Knicks could be 3-0 right now, but they have shown that they could be in a lot more games than many would have expected. They got another tough matchup coming Monday when they head to Milwaukee to play the Bucks.