Knicks comeback falls short in OT loss to Clippers

Kawhi Leonard, Julius Randle, New York Knicks

The New York Knicks showed great fighting heart as they stormed back from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit. But a Nicolas Batum three-pointer to beat the buzzer at the end of regulation deflated their spirits.

The Knicks faded in the overtime anew while the Los Angeles Clippers veterans took over in a 134- 128 win Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.

Norman Powell and Kawhi Leonard combined for 13 points in the extra five minutes to deal the Knicks’ sixth loss in a league-leading nine overtime games this season.

“The biggest thing to take away from this game was that my teammates fought. We will move on from that.”

Jalen Brunson

It was a heartbreaker for the Knicks who came alive in the fourth quarter after trailing for most of the way.

The Knicks hit six three-pointers in the fourth quarter, while they kept the Clippers in check.

A Quentin Grimes three-pointer in the final 52 seconds of the regulation gave the Knicks their first lead, 113-112. Jalen Brunson, who scored 41 points on his return from a non-COVID illness, extended their lead to three, 115-112, with a layup with 18 seconds left.

But Ivica Zubac’s offensive rebound off a George three-point attempt led to Batum’s game-tying triple. It was the Clippers only three-point field goal hit in eight tries in the fourth quarter.

”As a team, if we didn’t start the way we played and played Knicks basketball, we wouldn’t have been be in that position,” Brunson said. ”I am proud of how we fought.”

“I am not really too worried about anything. The biggest thing to take away from this game was that my teammates fought. We will move on from that,” he added.

The Knicks outrebounded the Clippers, 10-9, in the offensive glass and 10-7 before Zubac grabbed the most important offensive rebound of the game. Batum’s overtime-sending three-pointer provided the difference in the second-chance points, 18-15, in favor of the Clippers.

The loss also flushed Randle’s 34th double-double down the drain. Randle had seven of his 28 points in the overtime but it wasn’t enough to lift the Knicks. He added 11 rebounds and seven assists.

After his 30-point explosion in New York’s win over Miami, RJ Barrett came back to earth as he struggled for 14 points on a poor shooting night (6-21 field goals). But he hit a key three-pointer after missing 15 straight over his last three games that cut the Clippers’ lead, 110-105, with 2:50 left in the regulation.

Despite the heartbreaker, the 28-26 Knicks are still one game outside of the top six in the East, as the Heat also lost to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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