New York Knicks Charlotte Hornets
Robby Sabo, ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

The New York Knicks looked set to lose their sixth in a row, but showed no quit in a remarkable comeback for their ninth win of the season.

Geoffrey Campbell

The New York Knicks had 11 active players for Friday night’s game against the Charlotte Hornets. Lance Thomas, Trey Burke, Allonzo Trier, and Damyean Dotson were all out will injuries, and Ron Baker was waived earlier in the week.

But injuries aside, there were little to no excuses for the poor effort and disorganization displayed by the players during the first quarter. The Hornets put up 33 points and, the Knicks, with the exception of Kevin Knox, were no-shows.

Early on the Knicks capitalized on turnovers and were a threat in transition, but it all fell apart, and fast. The Hornets shot 60 percent from the three-point line and 62.8 percent from the field during the first half, and a big part of it was the Knicks lack of defense.

Kemba Walker was a thorn in the Knicks sided once again, scoring 13 points with four dimes in the first half. Walker seemed to get whatever he wanted out of the pick and roll, and the Hornets found themselves getting easy shots at the rim and wide-open looks from the perimeter.

For the orange and blue, Knox was the only silver lining, as he poured in a team-high 17 points to continue his recent form. The Knicks never really found their rhythm and their lack of organization on offense was equally as frustrating.

The one-on-one play seems to be, at least in part, due to coach Fizdale’s hesitance in “overwhelming” his players. Maybe he has a point, yet its hard to watch this team when it looks like five college freshmen who’ve never met each other look more in sync than these guys.

Down by 19 at the start of the second half, the Knicks started to make some small steps towards looking like a professional basketball team. And the old adage proved to be true, no lead is safe in the NBA. Emmanuel Mudiay, who had five points in the first half exploded for a career-high 34 points.

Mudiay certainly looked the part of a former lottery pick who was effective driving to the basket and from the perimeter. Luke Kornet also played a key role, scoring 13 points and was the anchor of a zone defense that befuddled the Hornets and took away their ability to run the pick and roll.

The game eventually went to overtime. Mudiay, off an impressive inbounds play, sealed the game with a clear drive to the cup. If you like drama, this was the game for you. The Knicks got an impressive win on the road, especially when you consider that two of their best defenders, in Mitchell Robinson and Frank Ntilikina left the game with injuries.

The Knicks play the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

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