Knicks Beat Undefeated Chicago In Chicago, 104-103

The Knicks held a 10-pt lead throughout most of the 2nd half, and a 13-pt lead with 3 minutes left, before withstanding a last minute Chicago surge that got them to within a point — but RJ Barrett played excellent defense on DeMar DeRozan on the final play of the game, causing him to shoot an air-ball as NY held on to win.

Julius Randle, who had been a rock in the 4th quarter — pulling down every big rebound — missed two free throws with 9 seconds left that would have put NY up by 3 — so the Knick defense bailed him out. Randle also missed an offensive-rebound tip-in with 48 seconds left and the Knicks nursing a 6-pt lead — wherein some thought he should have just kept the rebound and took time off the clock. But all of that distracted from a great Knick win — and Randle’s heroics throughout the majority of the 4th quarter.

“Julius had a great game without shooting well,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “Rebounding off the charts; playmaking phenomenal.”

1. Barrett Led the Knicks

RJ Barrett stepped up and led the Knicks to this victory. Barrett started as usual had a big 3rd quarter, helping the Knicks to establish a double-digit lead. He finished with 20 pts on 8-15 shooting (1-3 from 3; 3-3 from the free throw line), 3 rebounds, 1 assist and Tremendous Defense all night and at the close against DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine.

LaVine started out red hot and had 22 points at the half, but only finished with 25 points on 7-17 shooting. DeRozan had 20 points on 7-18 shooting.

2. Robinson Instant Impact in 4th

Mitchell Robinson was monster for the Knicks all night, but went out of the game with an apparent sprained ankle or scary foot injury 2 minutes into the 4th quarter. He limped off the court and went to the lockerroom. Robinson returned with 6:59 left with new sneakers on — his sneaker had ripped apart. He had instant impact on the game, blocking Zach LaVine’s driving layup 10 seconds later. His dunk off a Julius Randle pass with 5:28 left gave NY a 96-84 lead.

Robinson put back an offensive rebound for a bucket with 4:15 left to give NY a 100-88 lead.

Robinson grabbed another big offensive rebound with 1:25 left and NY nursing a 9-pt lead. On the night, Robinson had 9 points on 4-4 shooting, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks in 29 minutes but he played louder than that.

”Mitch is still getting his conditioning but he has such an impact on the game; he’s impossible to score over,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards.

3. Walker Important Again

The Knicks took a 7-pt in the 2nd quarter, led by Derrick Rose, but Chicago came back to within a few points at the half. NY took command again in the 3rd quarter, getting to a double-digit lead. Kemba Walker was key in that run — hitting back-to-back 3’s and then getting fouled on a 3 next time down — and making 2 of 3 free throws to give NY a 65-56 lead with 9 minutes left in the 3rd.

Kemba finished with 21 points on 7-12 shooting (5-6 from 3).

4. Knick DEFENSE Leads the Way

Most important of all was the Knicks DEFENSE, which led the way all night. RJ Barrett played lock-down defense on whoever he guarded, and NY as a team was frenetic defensively and giving up nothing easy.

All courtesy Coach Tom Thibodeau in the city where he started as a head coach. “You just have to find a way to win,” said Thibodeau afterwards. “We had some plays (down the stretch) that probably weren’t the best, but we did a lot of good things, and to win here — the way this team has been playing — and just finding a way to win. It’s tough to win on the road.”
“I thought our defense in the second half was terrific,” added Thibodeau. “RJ Barrett Huge Huge — scoring — but his defense — over the top; his discipline on that last play. DeRozan is great at utilizing the shot fake.”


  • It was also Joakim Noah night in Chicago. They honored him in the pre-game with a video on the big screen and named him team ambassador.
  • It was a homecoming for Thibodeau, Derrick Rose, and Taj Gibson — Rose and Gibson were cheered vociferously when they entered the game late in the 1st quarter by the Chicago fans.

The Boxscore

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.