Last Word On Basketball

Former Knicks Wing Sends Strong Message After Big Game

Tim Hardaway Knicks

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 28: Head coach Tom Thibodeau of the Minnesota Timberwolves taps his head as his team plays the Denver Nuggets during the second half of the Nuggets' 105-103 win. The Denver Nuggets hosted the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, December 28, 2016. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Tuesday’s big win was less of a turning point and more of a breather for the New York Knicks as Saturday’s 121-100 loss to Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks brought with it a bit of shade as well.

The loss drops the Knicks to 10-12 on the year.

They remain one game and spot better than the Chicago Bulls. They are also one half-game behind the Washington Wizards for the 10 seed. That would be the final slot in the Play-In Tournament.

New York led by as many as 15 points but saw Dallas outscore them 41-15 in the third quarter alone. Doncic finished with a game-high 30 points to go with eight rebounds and seven assists but right behind him was former Knicks swingman Tim Hardaway Jr. with 28 points. He scored 24 of his points by hitting 8-of-13 triples and let it be known he felt right at home at MSG.

Tim Hardaway Jr Sends Strong Message After Win Over Knicks

Knicks Traded Tim Hardaway Twice

The Knicks drafted Hardaway with the 24th overall pick in 2013 but he would only last two seasons in the Big Apple before getting traded to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for the draft rights to point guard Jerian Grant who is now out of the league.

He would sign back with the Knicks in 2017 only to be traded once again in the deal that sent Kristaps Porzingis to the Mavericks.

Porzinigs was later traded to the Washington Wizards while Hardaway just tortured the Knicks.

“We needed it,” Hardaway said after the game, per Grant Afseth of FanNation. “We love playing in New York I guess. Coach said best before the game that we aren’t leaving here without a win. I think guys took it to heart. We have to keep that same mentality moving forward.”

“Coach” is Mavs head coach Jason Kidd who has plenty of history with the Knicks in his nearly 30 years as a player and coach.

The final season of Kidd’s illustrious playing career came in a Knicks uniform. This after years spent with the rival then-New Jersey Nets. He spoke on Hardaway’s back-to-back 20-point outings.

“Since he’s been going, he hadn’t had to create anything,” Kidd said. It’s just been catch-and-shoot. He’s been open. We were running a few plays — a couple of pindowns — to get him a different look that way. He’s put in the work.”

Julius Randle had 24 points while Immanuel Quickley was right behind him with 23 points as R.J. Barrett and Jalen Brunson combined for just 26 points.

Trying to Move On

Whatever it is, the Mavs need it to continue as they battle it out in a tough Western Conference.

As for the Knicks, they have now lost four of their last five games and are still searching for answers to this recent slump. Hardaway’s message will soon be forgotten — save for when these two teams meet in Dallas on December 27. Still, it can’t feel too good to have a former player return and have a night as Hardaway did while the Knicks are trying to right their ship.

They’ll try to do that against the Cleveland Cavaliers and would-be (should-be?) Knicks star Donovan Mitchell.

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