Luka Doncic’s historic night would have been a footnote to New York Knicks‘ second-year wing Quentin Grimes’ career night if he did not commit a cardinal sin in the final moments of the regulation.
Grimes, who tried his best to keep up with the Mavericks’ generational star, forgot to box out Doncic, the free throw shooter, and instead went after the rebound. His costly error led to Doncic’s magical putback off his own intended missed free throw that forced overtime.
Grimes and the Knicks eventually collapsed and faded in the background of Doncic’s greatness in overtime.
“It was like three or four games we lost on offensive rebounds. So, we really got to lock in the game like boxing out, make sure they don’t get offensive rebounds.”Quentin Grimes postgame via MSG Network
Grimes was right.
The Knicks have lost four straight, and in those losses, they have led at the crucial junctures of the game only to collapse in the end by costly mistakes like boxing out and over-helping on pick-and-rolls which James Harden-Georges Niang exploited on Christmas Day.
Against the Mavericks, the Knicks did not overhelp and Doncic punished them with 27 of his career-high 60 points off the pick and roll.
“We know New York is not going to double. I love the pick-and-roll. Everybody knows that. So just keep rolling the pick and roll.”Luka Doncic postgame via NBA.com
Grimes couldn’t do anything against the bigger and craftier Doncic.
“I promise I was trying for sure [to defend]. I’m on every pick and roll. He’s almost in every action. It was on me trying to get over. [Doncic] is crafty with and without the ball. He is right there at all times in the court. He is one of the top three players in this league for a reason. I have to tip my hat off for sure.”Quentin Grimes postgame via MSG Network
Overall, Doncic hit 12 of 16 field goals with Grimes as his primary defender, per NBA.com’s matchup tracking data.
But while his defense, which has been his calling card since his rookie year, left much to be desired on Tuesday night, his offense buzzed that validated the Knicks’ reluctance to give him in the nixed Donovan Mitchell deal.
Defending one of the greatest scorers in the league is one thing. But to score 34 points while doing that is a remarkable feat.
Grimes and the Knicks may have become a footnote in Doncic’s historic night. But there’s no denying their future is bright with Grimes in it.
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