Knicks takeaways from Monday’s 97-87 loss to Hornets, including no answer for Miles BridgeKnicks takeaways from Monday’s 97-87 loss to Hornets, including no answer for Miles Bridges s

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Knicks Julius Randle posts up white jersey hornets
Knicks Julius Randle posts up white jersey hornets

The Knicks lost 97-87 to the Charlotte Hornets on Monday afternoon, snapping their three-game win streak.

The Hornets’ LaMelo Ball was eligible to play, but didn’t start with a non-COVID illness. The Knicks started the game with RJ Barrett, Evan Fournier, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson and Alec Burks on the floor.

Here are the takeaways….

- The Knicks started off slow with poor ball movement and turnovers, which led to a 8-1 run by the Hornets. However, the threes began to fall with Randle and Barrett hitting three straight to cut the lead to just one.

- The Knicks’ defense and ball movement was noticeably more crisp, but Charlotte kept its lead by making open shots. The Hornets would go on a 13-3 run as the baskets weren’t falling for the unlucky Knicks, even in front of the rim. Out of a timeout, Fournier hit his first three and Barrett attacked the basket to cut into the Hornets’ lead, but overall the Knicks were stagnant and had no answer for Miles Bridges.

- Bridges scored 22 points on 7-of-8 shooting to help Charlotte take a 34-23 lead after the first quarter. He would eventually end the game with a career-high 38 points.

- Tom Thibodeau had the second unit of Taj Gibson, Obi Toppin, Barrett, Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes start the second quarter. This unit started on a 7-0 run to force a timeout from the Hornets. The second unit’s intensity is apparent with the team playing better defense and finding Toppin and Gibson down low.

- However, the Knicks’ poor shooting from the free-throw line (8-of-16), and inability to come down with clean offensive rebounds helped the Hornets build their lead back to double-digits after a 10-3 run. The Knicks attempted to come back, but the combination of Bridges and Terry Rozier helped Charlotte go into halftime up 62-44. The Knicks shot a tad better at 44 percent in the second quarter, and held the Hornets to 48 percent shooting, but could not get out of their own way to cut into the lead. Barrett (13) and Randle (11) were the only Knicks in double-figures at halftime.

- Both teams started the third quarter going back-and-forth making baskets. On numerous possessions, it seemed the Knicks were poised to go on a meaningful run to cut into the Hornets' lead but whether it was a turnover, foul or missed shot like a missed dunk by Fournier on the fast break, they couldn't. Back-to-back offensive fouls by Randle and Barrett helped the Hornets take a 20-point lead, the largest in the game to this point. With Bridges mostly quiet in the third, Rozier led the Hornets' offense to a 86-67 lead after three. Both teams shot poorly in the third. Hornets shot just 41 percent, but the Knicks shot 39 percent in the frame.

- Thibodeau sent the second unit to start the fourth. Whenever the team would go on a small run, the Hornets would go on one of their own to keep the lead hovering near 20. The Knicks could not get a groove offensively or defensively and Thibs emptied the bench down by 20. The third and fourth units did cut the lead, but the Hornets still won, 97-87.

- The Hornets only shot 21 percent in the final quarter, but the lead was so insurmountable the Knicks' 50 percent shooting couldn't bring them back with enough time left to make a run with the first and second units.

- For the Knicks, Barrett and Randle both scored 18 points and posted double-doubles. Robinson scored 10 points and was the lone bright spot for the Knicks as he shined on both ends of the floor. Toppin scored 11 points in 15 minutes of play. As a team, the Knicks shot just 40 percent including 12-of-34 from three and 11-of-21 from the free throw line.

Highlights

What’s Next

The Knicks host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

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