Knicks Down Clips In Summer League Finale

By Ben Horney, Knicks Fan Since '94
 
Midway through the third quarter of the Knicks final summer league game against the Clippers, Walt Clyde Frazier described the frantic pace as "racehorse basketball." The Knicks shot out of the gate and never looked back, breezing their way to an 11-point victory, 91-80.

The Knicks led 22-17 after the first quarter, and by halftime their lead had ballooned to 15. The Clippers settled down after the break, although the end result was never in doubt; every time the Clippers scored a few baskets, the Knicks were able to abruptly halt their momentum, often by way of rim-rocking fast break dunks. 

It was some uncharacteristic hot shooting combined with a relentlessly stingy defense that enabled the Knicks to sustain the lead they had jumped out to early throughout the game -- after shooting 38.5% as a team in the previous four summer league games, the Knicks hit 52.7% of their shots against the Clippers, while holding L.A. to 34.5% from the field and forcing 14 turnovers.

While this was technically a consolation game -- the Knicks were officially eliminated from competing for the Summer League championship after their loss to the Miami Heat a few days ago -- it was an important day for many of the Knicks summer league players, as it was their final chance to show the Knicks brass that they are deserving of a training camp invite.

With Tim Hardaway Jr. out for the third straight game, the focus was once again on the Knicks big men. Jeremy Tyler (20 points on 8-of-12 shooting) and Terrence Jennings (14 points on 7-of-12 shooting) were both outstanding, and will most likely get the chance to compete for a spot on the varsity roster in training camp. Meanwhile, Jerome Jordan (6 points, 6 rebounds) was solid but not spectacular. 

As for the wing and perimeter players with a chance to compete in training camp, C.J. Leslie (11 points on 5-of-8 shooting, 2 steals) and Toure Murray (5 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals in less than 20 minutes of action) continued their impressive summers. Leslie, who is widely considered a lock for one of the Knicks remaining roster spots, was not the aggressor we saw in the previous four games, although he was still quietly effective. Murray took only two shots, but wreaked havoc on defense -- he hounded the Clippers backcourt at every turn, seeming to get at least a fingertip on almost every attempted pass.

As the remaining teams continue to compete for the Las Vegas Summer League championship, the Knicks turn their attention to their one true goal, an NBA championship. They'll start by filling out their roster during training camp before they head into what's sure to be an exciting 2013-14 NBA season.