From Peter Botte:
The Knicks already had posted several impressive wins this season against some of the NBA’s expected top teams, including Milwaukee, Utah and Boston.
A toe-to-toe victory Sunday would have rocked a full Garden from its foundation to the rafters, but the Knicks ran out of steam inside their empty home arena and their league-leading defense couldn’t stop Los Angeles’ stars in a mostly entertaining 129-115 loss to the high-rolling Clippers.
“They put a lot of pressure on you,” Tom Thibodeau said after the game. “We work, but they put tremendous pressure on you. They also, to their credit, and there’s a reason why they have that record, they play very hard and they play very unselfishly.
“I thought offensively, it was good. Defensively, it’s not what we would have liked.”
Rookie point guard Immanuel Quickley appeared poised to front a comeback from a 12-point third-quarter deficit with 11 of his 25 points off the bench in the fourth, including a couple of 3-pointers to draw the Knicks (9-12) within two with under eight minutes remaining.
But former Knicks forward Marcus Morris, who was traded at last year’s deadline for the eventual 25th-overall pick that enabled the Knicks to draft Quickley, dropped in a corner 3 to reopen the LA lead to nine. Kawhi Leonard (28 points) pushed it back over double digits with 5:40 to go as the title-contending Clippers (16-5) pulled away.
I am not liking these lineups where it is Quickley and, like, four non-entities. I’d love to see Quickley play with RJ more. I want to see what the Knicks have with the two of them.
Beyond that, it was an entertaining game.