In one of the greatest individual performances in NBA history, Luka Doncic singlehandedly broke the heart of the Knicks in a ridiculous comeback win. After a gut-wrenching collapse in the 4th quarter, the Knicks fell 126-121 to the Dallas Mavericks in overtime.
47 Minutes and 34 Seconds
For the first 47:34 of this Tuesday night showdown, the game was shaping up to be one of the most impressive Knicks' performances of the year. Jalen Brunson had been ruled out prior to the game due to a hip injury. To make things worse, RJ Barrett was ruled out for the rest of the game due to a finger injury sustained in the opening two minutes. But even with the Knicks down two of their three best players, the team stepped up to play an impressive 47 minutes and 34 seconds.
Quentin Grimes had his best game of the regular season by far with 32 points on 12-23 from the field and 7-15 from three in 47:34. The Knicks desperately needed someone to step up with the sudden absence of Barrett, and Grimes more than filled Barrett's absence with his performance.
With the absence of Brunson, Miles McBride was asked to play a staggering 41 minutes in regulation. McBride played fairly well with 14 points on not the greatest efficiency (4-12,) however he contributed his usual solid perimeter defense throughout the first 47:34.
Julius Randle continued his impressive regular season so far with 29 points, 17 rebounds, and four assists in 47:34. Mitchell Robinson also contributed in a big way with 15 points and 14 rebounds on 85.7 percent shooting in 47:34.
Those impressive individual performances all contributed towards a 112-103 lead for the Knicks with 26 seconds left in the game. Per ESPN, NBA teams were 0-13,884 in the last 20 seasons when trailing by at least 9 points with 35 or fewer seconds remaining. That was about to change.
Up 112-103 with 26 seconds left, Christian Wood hit a deep three pointer to cut the lead down to six. The ball was then inbounded to Grimes, who was quickly double teamed and was unable to make a pass or dribble before Doncic forced a jump ball.
Doncic won the jump ball by tipping it to Tim Hardaway Jr. The former Knick quickly shot a deep three which he left short, but Doncic was in perfect position for the offensive rebound. Doncic finished the layup while being fouled by Immanuel Quickley, resulting in a three-point play for Doncic. The Knicks now led 112-109.
After the and-1, Tom Thibodeau called a timeout to advance the ball to mid-court. The ball was inbounded to McBride who was quickly fouled by Doncic. McBride missed the first free throw, but hit the second to extend the lead to four, making it a two-possession game.
Jason Kidd called a timeout with 11 seconds left after the McBride free throw, advancing the ball to mid-court. Surprisingly, the play drawn up was for Doncic to inbound the ball. Spencer Diniwiddie ran right to Doncic to get the ball, and Doncic looped around Dinwiddie. Expecting Doncic to get the ball back, McBride took a step towards Doncic giving Dinwiddie a wide open look for three which he nailed to close the Knicks' lead to 113-112.
Thibodeau called another timeout to set up an inbound play which yet again found the ball in McBride's hands. This time, McBride sunk both free throws and extended to lead to three points with seven seconds remaining.
The Mavericks now had no timeouts left, so they had to inbound the ball directly off of the free throw. Doncic brought it up to about half-court before Grimes intentionally fouled him to take the threat of directly tying the game away. Doncic hit the first free throw to cut the lead down to two. With no timeouts left and only four seconds remaining in the game, Doncic had to intentionally miss to give the Mavs a chance at an offensive rebound. The following play ensued.
HE'S LIKE THAT. pic.twitter.com/CNRMEuYBTq
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) December 28, 2022
This miraculous shot completed one of the most miraculous late game comebacks in NBA history. For the Knicks, this shot seemed to seal their fate for the rest of the game. They shot a mere 2-10 from the floor in overtime, while also allowing the Mavericks to attempt 10 free throws, making nine. The extra frame was really never competitive and the Knicks lost 126-121.
The Knicks losing streak now sits at four as after their 8-game win streak was broken. One constant in each of these four losses has been an incredible performance from the opposing teams' star player. Last week, Pascal Siakam put up an astounding 52 points in a Raptors' win, DeMar DeRozan hit a 22-foot buzzer beater while being fouled for a Bulls' win, and Joel Embiid scored 35 while James Harden scored 29 in a 76ers' win. Even with all of these impressive performances, none would top the torture that Luka Doncic administered on the Knicks.
Doncic scored a career-high 60 points on an unbelievable 21-31 from the field. He also had 21 rebounds and 10 assists. This was the first 60-20-10 game in NBA history. It is not hyperbole to say that Doncic just had one of the greatest individual performances of all-time on Tuesday night. Any 4-game losing streak stings, but there might not be a more difficult 4-game stretch than the one the Knicks have endured over the past week.
The only bright side to this depressing loss is it is only one of 82. In the early regular season, no matter what happened the previous game, there is a 0-0 game waiting in the near future. For the Knicks, that future takes place Thursday night against the Spurs. No time to dwell on the past.
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