Dynamic Duo & Defense! 4 Reasons Why NY 117 Dallas 109 on 4-16-21

What an enjoyable game to watch! Julius Randle and sidekick RJ Barrett starred to lead the Knicks to this pseudo revenge game against Dallas — NY had one of its worst losses of the year to Dallas on April 2nd.

This was one of NY’s best wins — 117-109 in Dallas on a Friday Night. Friday Night Knicks! It used to be a jinx but not with coach Tom Thibodeau at the helm. The Knicks have now won 5 in a row and are 6th in the East, just a half game behind Boston and Atlanta with 15 games to go.

Three Reasons Why:

1. Randle Outplayed Everyone. 44 Points

Julius Randle was Batman again — 44 points on 16-29 shooting, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, and great D. He played with his usual FIRE and hit key bucket after key bucket in the close 4th quarter.

Randle hit his first three 3-point jumpers of the evening. He was “in his bag” all night. He outplayed Kristaps Porzingis — the guy the Knicks traded, and signed Randle instead at much less $ than it would have cost for Porzingas. The move that GM Scott Perry was made fun of for.

Randle outplayed Luka Doncic. Randle outplayed Maxi Kluber (guarding him a lot of the evening). Randle outplayed everybody.

National Game on ESPN

This was a Nationally Televised game on ESPN so the bonus was listening to Richard Jefferson — normally a Knick hater — say nice things about the Knicks all evening — especially Randle and his sidekick RJ Barrett. Much was made about how Kobe Bryant taught Randle the ropes as a rookie, and how there are elements of Randle’s game that are like Kobe’s. Fir example the assassin jump shooting from all angles and areas of the court due to a relentless work ethic and shooting shooting shooting in practice.

When asked in the post game if he envisioned this kind of result when he was working out over the summer, Randle said “Absolutely. It’s not just about the weight room and the court; I’m gonna handle that. But my mentality and my mindset was just different so I trained that aspect as well and it’s also showing.”

At the end of the 3rd quarter, Porzingis missed a 3, and at the other end Randle wound the clock down and hit a big 3 to end the quarter with Knicks up by 4. Huge.

2. Barrett Takes Over in 4th

And when Julius Randle sat down for rest at the start of the 4th, his sidekick RJ Barrett took over. Dallas made the mistake of putting JJ Redick on Barrett and Barrett immediately went to the hole.

Barrett made a bully ball move inside for a bucket and one with 11 minutes left to give NY a 7-pt lead, 87-79.

Randle then made another bully ball move inside for a bucket next time down to make it 89-82 after Reddick had hit a 3.

The next time down, Barrett nailed a 3 and it was NY by 9, 91-82 with 10 minutes left.


After a Frank Ntilikina 3 put NY up by 12, and a Reddick 3 made it a 9-pt game again, RJ Barrett once again bully balled in for tip shot and 96-85 NY lead with 9 minutes left.

Julius Randle came back in the game for Obi Toppin with 7:56 left and NY was up 96-87, thanks to Barrett.

Barrett finished with 24 pts on 9-18 shooting (3-6 from 3, 3-5 in free throws), 8 rebounds, 2 assists and Phenomenal DEFENSE all night. Thibs had him play 46 minutes with Alec Burks out. Barrett had a +12.

3. Knick DEFENSE

The Knick DEFENSE is of course what is winning them games — it is getting better and better and they hounded Dallas all night; stifled Luka Doncic; rotated; and defended the 3 in maniacal fashion.

NY did a better job watching out for and guarding the sneaky Jalen Brunson, who killed them last time. Brunson had 6 points on 3-9 shooting in 17 minutes for a -20.

The defensive play of the game came with 3:57 left and NY up 103-95 when Dorian Finney-Smith went up for a Slam but Nerlens Noel met him mid air for an incredible block.

Said Coach Tom Thibodeau: “That blocked shot; there’s a lot of plays throughout the course of the game that are just defined as winning plays they give your team confidence, they unite your team, they inspire your team and when you see someone make a play like that, it gets people fired up.”

“And that’s what he does”, added Thiboeau about Noel. “He makes great effort plays, he protects the rim, he covers up a lot of mistakes. We had guys flying around and you have to when you’re trying to guard a guy like Doncic; it requires more than one, and you have to be in, you have to try to stop the ball, you have to get out you have to cover the line, you have to challenge the shot, and then you have to finish with the rebound. That requires a lot of effort; and you have to be flying around. If one guy is doing it slowly, you’re going to give up a wide open shot. So you need everyone tied together And the team has made that commitment and he’s the anchor back there. That’s his role.”

Noel was questionable before the game coming off a sprained ankle that kept him out of last game. He played 31 minutes and had 10 rebounds and 3 blocks. His ferocity on defense was a big reason for the win, as well as that of Taj Gibson (16 minutes).

Porzingis Played Well

Kristaps Porzingis gave the Knicks trouble most of the evening with his defensive presence inside — blocking shots or altering shots or causing bad shots due to his presence. Porzingis hit some 3’s and finished with 23 pts on 8-20 shooting (2-8 from 3, 5-5 in free throws) and 12 rebounds, 2 blocks.

Doncic Hounded; But Had 19 Assists

The Knicks Defense hounded Doncic all night — especially RJ Bullock. Doncic got his points — 22 on 7-16 shooting (2-9 from 3, 6-10 in free throws) but was kept at bay. He did have an amazing 19 assists and was a +5.

Bullock played 41 minutes (again due to Alec Burks being out) and had 11 pts on 4-10 shooting (2-6 from 3, 1-1 in free throws) for a +1.

4. Knick Point Guards Give a Lift

Derrick Rose gave the Knicks an offensive lift — penetrating, passing, and hitting his midrange jumper all evening for 15 points on 7-13 shooting and a +14 in 25 minutes. Elfrid Payton also played well — 6 pts on 3-8 shooting, 7 rebounds, 6 assists. Immanuel Quickley got 6 minutes off the bench and hit a 3.

The Boxscore


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