RJ Barrett busted out his hunch, Jalen Brunson dominated and the Knicks received revenge to cap a formidable highway journey.
Barrett, who entered the evening on an ugly taking pictures stretch, related on 10 of his 16 makes an attempt and Brunson dropped a game-high 34 factors with 9 assists because the Knicks overwhelmed the Thunder on Monday evening, 129-119.
The victory gave the Knicks (9-9) three victories on their five-game journey, which began a week ago with the temperature warming on Tom Thibodeau’s coaching seat.
The projections have been bleak for the Knicks on the journey given the opponents, however they managed to do the next: turn into the primary highway group to win in Utah this season; win in Denver for the primary time in 16 years; outwork a Thunder squad that embarrassed the Knicks in MSG only a week prior.
Thibodeau’s squad responded properly to the powerful schedule. Its losses on the journey have been in opposition to the Warriors and Suns, the final two Western Convention champions.
The Knicks now have three days off earlier than a Black Friday matchup at house in opposition to the Blazers.
Within the earlier 5 video games, Barrett shot a depressing 26% — together with 2-for-25 on 3-pointers. However he set a unique tone early Monday evening with a pull-up within the first quarter, a slam dunk and a 3-pointer.
He completed with 25 factors. It was an necessary confidence booster for the 22-year-old and a pleasant complement to Brunson, whose 34 factors tied a career-high within the common season.
Julius Randle added 25 factors to present the Knicks a Massive-3 vibe.
The Knicks were pummeled by the Thunder eight days earlier at MSG, the place they allowed a franchise-record 145 factors in regulation. It was completely different in OKC from tipoff.
With Barrett and Randle cooking, the Knicks led by 16 within the second quarter and 11 on the break. They took benefit of OKC’s lack of an inside presence, driving to the rim incessantly and dropping 38 of their 68 first-half factors within the paint.
The Knicks have been lacking Cam Reddish (sore groin) and Derrick Rose (sore toe), which gave Quentin Grimes a second straight begin. Grimes drew the tough project of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who dropped 30 factors however wasn’t as environment friendly as standard whereas taking pictures 9-of-22.
By way of organizational route, the Knicks and Thunder have similarities. Each are stocked with future draft picks acquired in trades, though OKC has decidedly extra. The Knicks are older and costlier, however the largest distinction between the 2 is the 2018 NBA draft.
That’s when the Knicks drafted Kevin Knox with the ninth total decide whereas passing up on Gilgeous-Alexander, who went eleventh to the Thunder. Knox was a bust before being traded by the Knicks to the Hawks. Gilgeous-Alexander is among the many NBA’s high gamers this season.
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However he wasn’t sufficient to beat the Knicks’ Massive-3 on Monday evening
Mitchell Robinson re-aggravated his knee damage and left Monday’s recreation after taking part in simply 13 minutes.
It was Robinson’s second recreation since getting back from a two-week absence due to the knee sprain suffered Nov. 4 in Philadelphia.
After returning, Robinson, who began at heart Monday, wore a knee brace that presented a mental obstacle.
“My largest factor is once I do get [an injury], and I gotta put one thing on the place the world is, I do know that it’s there. My thoughts is continually desirous about that as an alternative of taking part in,” mentioned Robinson.
“So I believe I can work out a strategy to simply go along with it, ya know? I do know it’s there. Clearly, I don’t wish to get damage once more.”
He did get damage once more.