Play The Full 48
As good as the New York Knicks have been this season overall, one of their biggest weaknesses is their ability to close games. The Knicks point differential by quarter is +87 in the first quarter, +61 in the second quarter, -33 in the third quarter, and -4 in the fourth quarter. In order to remain competitive and contend for a playoff spot, New York needs to find a way to close games out and protect the lead late in contests. A failure to close will prevent the Knicks from getting to the playoffs and in the off chance they succeed, they will be sent home early.
Choke In The Third Quarter
The New York Knicks statistically might be one of the worst third quarter teams of all-time. The Knicks have had a negative point differential with the worst being in the 2014-2015 season with -284 for nine consecutive seasons. The Knicks point differential is -33 this season which is still not great in the slightest. The coaching staff needs to evaluate how mid game adjustments are made in the locker room during halftime and motivate the team to come out fired up for the second half.
The Knicks and the Atlanta Hawks squared off at Madison Square Garden on November 2nd. The Knicks were winning 51-28 with 6:26 remaining in the second quarter. The Knicks preceded to lose that game 112-99. That still leaves two quarters to play however that still should have been a victory.
On December 23rd, the Knicks hosted the Chicago Bulls. With 9.8 seconds left in the game the Knicks were up 117-114. Somehow, the Knicks found a way to lose this game 118-117 and not close out on their home floor.
On December 27th, the Knicks travelled to Texas to take on the Dallas Mavericks. This might be the worst and most depressing loss of the season as they were up 112-103 with 26.9 seconds left in the game. Due to a catastrophic collapse and poor officiating, the Knicks lost 126-121 in overtime.
On January 9th, the Knicks hosted the Milwaukee Bucks while most of the country was captivated by the College Football Playoff National Championship game. With 2:13 remaining in the third quarter, the Knicks were winning 76-60. The Knicks lost that game 111-107 as the Bucks caught fire in the fourth quarter.
On January 11th, the Knicks hosted the Indiana Pacers. The Knicks led at the end of the first half 62-41 and had a win probability of 97.4%. In classic Knickerbocker fashion, the game eventually became just a three-point Knicks lead. However, they were able to hold on and win 119-113.
NBA Standings Impacted
The Eastern Conference is very close and competitive this year with every game mattering. If those four blown leads were wins, the Knicks would be the third seed as opposed to the sixth seed. The Knicks need to close games and put teams away otherwise it will be a recipe for disaster.
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