Took Care of Business. 4 Reasons Why NY 102 San Antonio 98 on 5-13-21

Alec Burks came off the bench for 30 points, including huge buckets at the end, to lead NY to a 102-98 victory over San Antonio on a Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. It kept the Knicks hopes alive of regaining the 4th or 5th position in the playoffs — the hope being that Miami and/or Atlanta lose one of their last few games. If they don’t, NY has the 6th position locked in — which means Milwaukee in the 1st round with them having home court advantage.


1. Burks = Poor Man’s Kobe Bryant

With Derrick Rose out, and the Knick point guards Elfrid Payton and Immanuel Quickley both 0-4 from the floor for 0 points coach Tom Thibodeau had Alec Burks playing the point the entire 4th quarter.

The Knicks were down by 4 points entering the 4th quarter — this is how they scored:

  • RJ Barrett led off with a 3 to pull NY within a point.
  • Burks followed with a 3 to put NY up by 2.
  • Burks a 2-pt jumper to tie the game at 81
  • Barrett a 3-pointer to put NY up 3
  • Julius Randle a 3-pointer to put NY up by 4
  • Burks a 3-pointer to put NY up 90-85 with 5:08 left
  • Burks a driving layup and one — a traditional 3-point play with 3:16 left to put NY up 93-90 — this was Huge
  • Burks a 3-pter to put NY up 96-92 with 2:48 left — this was Huge
  • Randle a 2-pt jumper with 56 seconds left to put NY up 98-94
  • Burks free throws with 7 seconds left to make it 100-97 NY
  • Barrett free throws with 1.8 seconds left for the final score.

Get the picture?

Burks had missed the last 3 games of the West Coast trip. One can only imagine if the Knicks could’ve beaten Los Angeles if Burks were available — a game where the Knicks had 2 reliable scorers (Randle and Derrick Rose) against the frenetic Laker D. The Knicks might be holding 4th place in the playoff race, instead of 6th place and hoping that Miami and/or Atlanta lose one of their final games.

2. Barrett Stepped Up

The Knicks were up 5 early in the 3rd when San Antonio went on a 32-10 run to go up by 17, 75-58 with 3:45 left in the 3rd. This was looking like a San Antonio win. But RJ Barrett got the Knicks back into it — he hit a floater, two 3’s and made a traditional 3 on a drive to the basket and one — 11 points in the last 3 minutes of the quarter to get the Knicks within 4, at 77-73.

And Barrett made big buckets in the 4th — as shown above. He finished with 24 pts on 8-19 shooting (5-9 from 3, 3-3 in free throws).

3. Randle Leads ‘Em

Julius Randle and RJ Barrett got the Knicks back into it. Randle did not have an efficient scoring night, but led the Knicks with his overall game — 25 pts on 7-21 shooting, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists.

4. DeRozan Stars for San Antonio

Demar DeRozan kept San Antonio in this game in the 4th, with quick drives to the basket. He had 27 pts on 10-18 shooting (0-0 from 3).

The Boxscore


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