Knicks

Knox and Knicks Look to End Second Half Woes

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Heading into a tough matchup against an Eastern Conference powerhouse in the Milwaukee Bucks, the New York Knicks are looking to break out of a tough stretch in which they’ve dropped 11 of their last 13 games. Looking deeper into this skid gets more and more concerning, however.

Strong Starts, But Not-So-Strong Finishes

The Knicks are beginning to fall into a tough trend where they play great basketball in the first half and simply fall apart in the second half of games. Two glaring examples of this came this past week against the Phoenix Suns and Atlanta Hawks, two teams currently involved in the “Tankathon” alongside New York. The Knicks led both games in the first half but went on to lose both games by significant margins. Against Atlanta specifically, the Knicks scored 39 points in the first quarter, only to be followed by an alarming 38 points in the entire second half.

The Suns’ game was no different. After scoring 66 points in the first half, the Knicks scored 17 in the third quarter to the Suns’ 41; a game in which the Knicks would end up losing by 18. While tanking may be in the organization’s best interest, losing these games to other teams at the bottom of their conferences is certainly not a bright spot.

Young Pieces Provide Hope

There does seem to be some light at the end of the tunnel however, in that Kevin Knox and Emmanuel Mudiay have put on dazzling performances in the last month:

Knox

Mudiay

This growth is giving some clarity to the Knicks’ organization moving forward, especially in Kevin Knox’ case.

The rookie has really come alive in the past month but with one caveat: second half performance. Knox has been the poster boy for the Knicks’ most recent struggles in the second half. This is highlighted by a night in which Knox scored 19 points in the first 13 minutes, only to finish with 24 in a losing effort and without hitting a field goal in the entire second half.

Knox Knows How to Improve

When asked about the second half struggles of late, Knox stated:

“I know I’ll fix it, so I can execute in the second half like I do in the first half. The way I’ve been playing, I wouldn’t be surprised if teams start game-planning for me. [I need] a little bit more motor like I do in the first half. As I get older, my body will get better and more energy in the tank so I can execute in the second half like I do in the first.’’

The flashes are there however:

Knick fans better hope that these flashes turn out to be a situation where when there is smoke there is fire and that Kevin Knox can look to sustain his excellence throughout the full 48 minutes. With the potential return of Kristaps Porzingis seeming to get closer and closer, the light at the end of the long tunnel is becoming more and more clear. These first half flashes will need to be in full effect as the Knicks look to take down the Bucks in a Christmas Day showdown.

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