Knicks face tantalizing reality after boo-birds rain down in loss to Dallas

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Dec 3, 2022; New York, New York, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) reacts to contact by New York Knicks guard Quentin Grimes (6) as he drives to the basket during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks looked poised to right the ship on Saturday, leading Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks 59-52 at halftime.

However, everything unraveled in the second half thanks to a revenge game from former Knick Tim Hardaway Jr., who scored 28 points and shot 8-13 from downtown in the game.

The tantalizing turnaround would lead to the Knicks losing the game 121-100, leaving Knicks fans in attendance distraught and infuriated, which was shown the downpour of boos they gave New York.

Knicks’ lackluster 3rd quarters are the culprit behind their struggles

The Knicks are known for struggling mightily in the third quarter, as they own a fourth-worst -11.2 net rating in the third quarter and a league-worst 121.0 defensive rating in the third.

However, Saturday’s third quarter was arguably the Knicks’ worst of the season. The Mavericks outscored the Knicks 41-15 in the third frame.

To put into perspective how largely uncompetitive that is, the Knicks scored 41 points in the second half entirely on Saturday. It is inexcusable for a team to get embarrassed that badly on their home floor.

On Saturday, the Knicks let Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr. absolutely carve up the Knicks defense, as both were knocking down huge threes to build an insurmountable lead in an eyeblink.

Doncic and Hardaway Jr. combined for 36 points and eight 3-pointers in the third quarter, slaughtering.

As for the Knicks on the offensive end, their stars went quiet, as Julius Randle scored only three points in the entire second half (all in the third quarter) after scoring 21 in the first half.

Jalen Brunson had a rare off game in his first game against his former team, especially in the second half, as he notched only five points after the half.

The Knicks can not allow these rough third quarters to become a continuing trend. Too many times, New York has come out of the half looking lethargic and inferior to their opponents.

Brunson acknowledged how the lack of intensity in the second half is very concerning and is hoping that it will be an issue that is fixed before it becomes a regular trend.

“I mean it definitely is concerning. I think that’s something that can be fixed. Just our intensity, attention to detail, all that stuff — that’s something that can be fixed. That’s something we can control. We just have to control what we can control and just go out there and give it our all.”

Jalen Brunson on the Knicks’ second half struggles via New York Post

The Knicks have yet another difficult task ahead of them, as they will face Donovan Mitchell and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the back end of a back-to-back on Sunday.

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