Monday night was the first time New York Knicks’ Joakim Noah saw the fourth quarter in five games. It might be awhile before he does again.
The fourth quarter wasn’t kind to the New York Knicks on Monday night. They shot .381, and although the Oklahoma City Thunder only outscored them by two, the final result was a nine-point loss.
Crunch time was particularly hard on Joakim Noah.
The center saw fourth quarter action for the first time in five games and was virtually non-existent. Without the option to go small due to the presence of Thunder bigs Enes Kanter and Steven Adams, Hornacek chose to go with Noah as his main big ahead of Kyle O’Quinn and Willy Hernangomez.
When asked why he went with Noah this time around, the coach’s answer to the New York Post was simple.
“Size,’’ Hornacek said. “I didn’t feel our bench bigs [Willy Hernangomez, Kyle O’Quinn] were doing a great job with boxing out. I decided to go with Jo. He has a little more size and battle. They manhandled all of us.’’
On paper, it looks like a good strategy, but it didn’t pan out.
The former Defensive Player of the Year played 8 minutes in the fourth and barely made a mark. He recorded just one rebound, one assist, one steal, one block, and zero points.
Noah stressed the importance of preventing offensive rebounds and admitted he needs to pick up his game.
“They were able to get a lot of rebounds, a lot of offensive rebounds,’’ Noah said. “The difference in the game.”
“It’s tough,’’ Noah said. “I want to play better, obviously. I know personally I have to play better for this team to get to where we want to get to.’’
Noah’s 2016-17 averages dipped even further to 4.0 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.8 blocks on a slash line of .466/.000/.286.