Knicks Land Knockout Blow Over Clippers in Harden Debut


Nov 7, 2023

The scene was set at Madison Square Garden, the world’s most famous arena, for James Harden’s highly anticipated debut in a Los Angeles Clippers uniform. However, the New York Knicks had other plans as they showed the Clippers that they, too, could play basketball in this iconic venue. In a game that ended with a score of 111-97 in favor of the Knicks, they not only secured the victory but also spoiled “The Beard’s” debut in his new Clippers attire.

The Knicks were slight 1.5-point favorites, closing at -118 on the money line. But the final score saw them winning by a comfortable 14-point margin, defying the odds and expectations.

James Harden, who played 31 minutes in his debut, showed impressive conditioning given the circumstances. He had recently joined the Clippers and missed a significant portion of the Sixers’ training camp before being traded. Despite his efforts, he ended the game with a minus-18 plus-minus, which was in line with what many expect from Harden on the defensive end.

Harden’s individual statistics were solid, shooting 6-of-9 from the field, hitting 2-of-4 three-point attempts, and dishing out six assists with only two turnovers. It was a decent performance, but the overall inefficiency of the Clippers’ star-studded lineup became evident throughout the game.

Kawhi Leonard scored 18 points, while Russell Westbrook contributed 17 points. However, Paul George could only muster 10 points and seven rebounds. The lackluster performance from the Clippers’ stars allowed the Knicks to shine on the other side of the court.

Julius Randle led the way for the Knicks with a game-high 27 points, showcasing his scoring prowess. RJ Barrett also made a significant contribution with 26 points. On the other hand, Jalen Brunson struggled, managing only seven points while shooting just 2-of-12 from the field.

The game brought to light a growing trend for the Knicks this season under the guidance of head coach Tom Thibodeau. Known for his emphasis on defense and grinding out wins, the Knicks have seen six of their first seven games hit the under this year. Even with a total set at around 223 points, the game ended well below expectations, with both teams scoring under 100 points. It was another testament to the Knicks’ commitment to their defensive principles.

As for the Clippers, they find themselves with a record of three wins and three losses on the season, but their road woes continue as they remain winless in three away games. It’s a challenge they’ll need to address moving forward.

In conclusion, while James Harden’s debut in a Clippers uniform was a headline-grabbing event, it was the New York Knicks who stole the show with a convincing victory at Madison Square Garden. With their focus on defense and the ability to grind out wins, the Knicks are emerging as a force to be reckoned with in the early stages of this NBA season. Meanwhile, the Clippers have some work to do to find their footing on the road and live up to their superstar-laden roster.

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Thumbnail photo via Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

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