Barrett, Randle, & Coach Miller Lead Knicks Win — Jan 12, 2019: NY 124 Miami 121

RJ Barrett and Julius Randle spearheaded an exhilarating team win for the Knicks over the 27-12 Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden on this Sunday afternoon. NY laid down a terrific team defense throughout, nursed by coach Mike Miller, and played exciting and effective team basketball on the offensive end with some of the best team passing plays we’ve seen in years.

Knicks Season Starts Now

The Knicks are now 11-29 — and with 42 games left, the Knicks season starts Now. The goal: play .500 ball these last 42 games. Be a team on the rise. With the new coach Miller, the Knicks seem to be coming together now.

“We bent a couple times but didn’t break,” said coach Miller afterwards. “We got great great efforts all the way down the lineup tonite. Huge plays down the stretch. I could go on about every guy, but I’m very happy for our group and it’s a big win for us.”

Barrett Big

RJ Barrett (23 pts on 7-10, 1-3 from 3, 8-10 on free throws 5 rebounds, 3 assists in 40 min) played his best game as a pro, and he’s had some very good games. Today, he was Great — using his big 6’7 frame and athleticism and IQ and aggressiveness to get to the basket and score big baskets continually, play good D, rebound, and hit his free throws — especially some huge ones in the final minute, where he hit 1 of 2 in two different visits to the free throw line. Barrett has an Elvis Pressley lip, which comes out when he makes a strong play to the basket. The lip was out in force tonite; he refused to not win this basketball game.

Randle Big

And Julius Randle (26 pts on 10-21, 1-5 from 3, 5-6 free throws, 8 rebounds, 4 assists)  was the other big-time scorer, back on the team after missing the last few games on the roadtrip due to the death of his grandmother. After the game, be brought his son to center court for the team celebration.

Great Effort All the Way Down the Lineup

As Miller said, it was a great team win — with terrific play by RJ Barrett and Julius Randle,

Knox Terrific!

We could go on about every guy — but Kevin Knox (17 pts on 6-8, 2-4 from 3, 5 reb in 20 min) deserves special mention — since he finally broke out of his massive slump and played his best game of the season. In the 2nd quarter he was all over the place — making drives in traffic, making aggressive moves to the lane and stopping for jumpers, hitting 3’s, dunking on a follow up rebound.

“He made a big impact throughout the game, but in the 1st half he really gave us a big lift,” said coach Mike Miller about Knox. “He played with a force about him. Getting downhill. Aggressive; versatile; did a lot of different things. We saw his aggression defensively as well.”

Miller’s Coaching

The game came down to a Knick 3-pt lead with .5 seconds left, and a Miami timeout before the final play. You could see Mike Miller frenetically telling Knicks what to do. It was worth the price of admission.

Miami inbounded to Bam Adebayo who flipped up a 35 footer — that went in!!! — but too late the clock ran out by a millisecond. And that was the old ballgame.

Very early in the game — after the first 3 possessions and Miami jumping out to a 7-2 lead after Kendrick Nunn broke free for an easy layup — Miller called his first time out to regroup the team. The game had just started, but Miller was clearly not happy already with how the team was defending. After the timeout the Knicks came out playing much better ball.

After the game, Miller explained that first timeout, and the game defense in general: “Overall our defense was better. First 3 possessions we didn’t think it was what we’ve been talking about; then we regrouped and it was pretty good for a stretch. That’s what I mean we bent but we didn’t break. There were a few segments that were tough. They are difficult to guard. They lead the league in fouls drawn; are 2nd in league in 3 pt shooting and they are a high-level execution team. They really put a lot of stress on your defense. I was pleased the way we were able to hang in there through the tough times.”

Elfrid & Kadeem the Dream at Point

Elfrid Payton ran the point and was a star of the show in the 1st half, then took command down the stretch. He penetrated almost at will — seemed to effortlessly get underneath the basket. And Kadeem Allen did a terrific job at the start of the 4th quarter to lead the Knicks back from an 11-point deficit.

Gibson Played Like He Was Telling the Knicks Something

Meanwhile Taj Gibson was playing all night like he was telling the Knicks they didn’t need to trade for Andre Drummond. Heady interior Defense and rebounding and 14 pts on 5-6 shooting.

Bullock 3’s

Early in the game Reggie Bullock was missing his shots — he missed his first 4. As we commented as he missed another 3, “Bullock HAS TO hit those 3’s for Knicks to win.” He soon got hot and helped get the Knicks back into it, or as we tweeted “Bullock’s hitting the 3’s!!”

Miami’s Closers

Jimmy Butler was Miami’s closer — but the Knicks did a great job stifling him on defense down the stretch — he was forced into passes or bad shots.

James Johnson was a tough guard all night, coming off screens for 3 pointers (he was 6-7, 3-3 from 3 for 19 pts). But the Knicks were able to contain Duncan Robinson (3-10 all from 3, for 11 points) who had killed them in a meeting last month. NY was also able to contain Goran Dragic (3-7 for 6 points) who came off Miami’s bench.

Bam Adebayo, Miami’s terrific young center, had 15 points on 5-7 and 5-6 from the free throw line.

Miami Fans vs Knick Fans

During the game, a huge contingent of Miami Heat fans were chanting for Miami and Knicks fans were booing and drowning them out. So there was a game within the game of fans fighting each other with chants while the Heat and Knicks battled on the court.

As Facts Only (@Iam_P45) put it on Twitter, “that was one of the coolest moments in the game.. the crowd and the team fighting back at the same time.”


Mitchell Robinson gave great effort but got into foul trouble (partly due to Abedayo) so only played 15 minutes; he  took only one shot — a slam dunk so was 1-1 for 2 pts in 15 min. Damyean Dotson also gave good effort but shot only 1-7 in 8 minutes. Marcus Morris remains out with neck soreness.

Allonzo Trier and Wayne Ellington are odd men out with DNP’s.  But that didn’t stop the bench from cheering the team on — Trier the #1 cheerleader.

The Boxscore

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