In their last game before the All-Star Break, the New York Knicks elected not to deviate from the narrative they have established over the course of their three most recent defeats. Falling in Wednesday's contest to the Sacramento Kings 106-101 in overtime, the Knicks followed almost exactly the same script with one slight twist.
For their three previous defeats, it had been the Knicks who had trailed when the fourth quarter began, setting the stage for the team to embark on ill-fated comebacks that were always doomed by their inability to get important defensive stops and keep their opponents from scoring enough points to secure victory. On Wednesday, it was the New York Knicks who held the fourth-quarter advantage, opening up the period with a slight two-point edge over the Kings.
The Knicks' fourth-quarter lead never ballooned as the Knicks probably hoped it would and only reached a high of five points in the final period of the contest, but the Knicks consistently held the lead for almost the entire fourth quarter. Out of the 12 minutes in the quarter, the Knicks held a lead for all but 41 seconds of game time.
Of course, though, when it came down to closing out the contest and putting a stop to the Kings' scoring, the New York Knicks defense proved as reliable as always in terms of making sure the Kings scored all the necessary points they would need to send the game into overtime.
Holding a five-point lead with 1:45 remaining in the contest, the Knicks allowed the Kings to score on two of their final three possessions to close the gap as Jimmer Fredette's three-point pointer and Rudy Gay's jumper tied the game at 93-93.
The Knicks were unable to answer either of those two shots, five more minutes were put on the clock for the overtime period, and the team continued to be unable to get enough defensive stops to make a winning difference in the game. In the overtime period, the Kings scored on six of their ten offensive possessions to produce 13 points and seal the Knicks' defeat.
Overall, the Kings were able to produce 1.093 points per possession so they actually exceeded their game scoring rate during the overtime session, which is actually no surprise considering they were only facing the Knicks defense. When Knicks opponents do not exceed their usual offensive threshold, then it is time to raise our eyebrows and ask what is wrong with their offense.
For the Knicks, their latest loss was much like their previous ones and will no doubt be very similar to the defeats they suffer in the future. Opponents will continue to have no trouble scoring against the Knicks defense unless some fundamental changes occur, and the Knicks will have to turn all their franchise hopes on the NBA Draft lottery.