It appeared that Kristaps Porzingis had nailed a miraculous three-point buzzer-beater to seal the game for Derek Fisher and the New York Knicks, but after review, it was determined that time had expired before he got the shot off.
The Knicks fell to the Hornets by a final score of 95-93 in a game that was a rollercoaster of emotion for both the players and those watching. Cody Zeller hit a layup with 0.6 seconds remaining to give the Hornets the lead before it appeared that Porzingis had stolen the game away with a catch-and-shoot three as time expired. New York had a ten point lead entering the fourth quarter, but were outscored 26-14 to close out the game. D-Fish emphasized the importance of a complete game effort so his squad doesn’t have to rely on close fourth quarter situations.
“That’s the way it goes in this league. One night the ball bounces your way or you get a favorable call. The next night goes the other way. What you want to try and do is not put yourself in that position by making good decisions in the first quarter, in the second quarter and the third quarter,” Fisher said. “People often times focus on the fourth quarter and the finish and the last plays, but a lot of the times it’s the first through the third quarter that makes a difference.”
Last night marked the season debut of shooting guard Aaron Afflalo, who was slotted into the starting line up in favor of Sasha Vujacic. Afflalo finished the game with 12 points, six boards and an assist in his first regular season action of the year. Fisher liked what he saw from Afflalo last night, especially in terms of the impact he can have because of his aggressive play on both ends of the floor.
“He has a presence on the floor. I think when he’s out there you know that he’s out there. He’s physical on both ends and we’re hoping he’ll continue to get better in terms of getting stronger as he goes along, but he definitely helped us tonight,” Derek said. “Hopefully he can get some rest tomorrow and not have any setbacks and be ready to go on Friday night.”
Carmelo Anthony continued his high-scoring ways against Charlotte with 29 points, six rebounds and four assists while going 3-of-6 from long range in 34 minutes of action. Jose Calderon also had a nice night shooting the ball as he went 6-of-8 from the field and was second on the team in scoring behind Melo with 13 points. Calderon also chipped in with two rebounds, five assists and a steal.
Porzingis had another impressive game as he led both teams with 15 rebounds to go along with ten points and two blocks. He got off to a tremendous start going 4-of-4 from the floor in the first quarter. Kristaps’ potential buzzer-beater was exciting and showed flashes of the rookie big-man’s clutch shot ability. Fisher mentioned that when it comes to those types of crunch-time moments, Porzingis isn’t the type player to shy away. D-Fish also reiterated that fractions of a second can sometimes be the difference between wins and losses.
“He seems to embraces those moments,” D-Fish said. “But that’s the difference…a couple tenths of a second, that’s the difference between winning and losing sometimes and we came out on the short end tonight.”
Lou Amundson was a factor off the bench for the second straight night as he shot 4-of-4 from the field and finished the game with nine points, four rebounds, and assist and a steal in 14 minutes. Jerian Grant also contributed as a reserve with eight points, two rebounds and five assists.
There were many reasons Fisher felt like that Knicks didn’t come out of this game on top and one of the main culprits was his squads inability to get to the free-throw line coupled with the Hornets getting to the line 28 times. Even though the Knicks collectively shot 49 percent in the game, they were only able to get the line an uncharacteristic seven times.
“I think it’s a combination of being on the road, not being able to get into the lane.[Charlotte] is a pretty good defensive team in terms of closing down their paint. They rebound the ball well,” D-Fish explained. “It was more about us defending and trying to do that without fouling. They got to the free-throw line 28 times and that’s too many.”
Fisher and the Knicks have two big home games this weekend. They will be at Madison Square Garden on Friday to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time in a little over a week. In their last matchup, the Knicks hung with the Cavs all game, but a late surge by LeBron James sealed their fate in a 96-86 defeat.
On Sunday the Knicks will face off against the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans have only mustered one win this season and that came earlier this week in a 120-105 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Last year New York split their two games against New Orleans, dropping the first meeting on the road 104-93 and getting revenge the second time around with a 99-92 victory at home.
Friday’s game against the Cavs is slated to tip off at 7:30 p.m. ET and Sunday’s contest against the Pelicans will tip off at noon ET. Both games will be aired on MSG.