What is going on with the Knicks? They've been a real Jekyll and Hyde show the last two games, but have come out on top both games after stellar 4th quarter performances. At this point Knicks fans have to feel like they have a chance to win any game regardless of the deficit, which is a stark contrast to recent years when fans felt that no lead was safe.
What a turnaround for Jeff Hornacek. Three games into the season there were rumors that the Knicks coach was coaching for his job. Now, for the second straight game, Hornacek pushed all the right buttons in the fourth quarter. Hornacek chose to let his bench play well into the fourth quarter and Kyle O'Quinn rewarded him by energizing the crowd and cutting the Hornets lead. Down the stretch Hornacek let the red-hot Doug McDermott continue to play and shifted Porzingis to the 5. The result was Dwight Howard was forced to guard Porzingis on the perimeter and was helpless to stop KP's go-ahead 3.
Defense in the First Three Quarters
The Knicks struggled to stop anyone at any distance for most of the night. Dwight Howard, Kemba Walker, and Malik Monk all went off at one point or another and each finished the game with 21 points. Through three quarters the Hornets shot over 50% from the field and from 3, but once again, the Knicks found their footing in the fourth, allowing only 19 points in the quarter after allowing 94 points in the first three.
-After his strong performance against the Pacers Lance Thomas appears to have displaced Michael Beasley in the rotation for the time being. For the second straight game Thomas lead the team in plus/minus finishing +18.
-Tim Hardaway, Jr. once again struggled with his shot shooting 6/14 from the field and 4/8 from the free throw line.
-For the second straight game Frank Ntilikina played down the stretch over starter Jarrett Jack. Ntilikina played strong defensively but struggled offensively down the stretch, with THJ taking over as the pick-and-roll ball handler for the last two possessions.
-Doug McDermott shot 7/8 from the field and 3/3 from 3, scoring 20 points.
The Knicks head to Orlando to take on Aaron Gordon and the Magic tomorrow night. After a surprising 6-2 start, including wins over Cleveland and San Antonio, the Magic have dropped their last two to Chicago and Boston. The Knicks will hope to extend Orlando's losing streak to 3 while extending their own winning streak to 4.