RJ Barrett’s 35 Points Lead Knicks to Victory Over New Orleans, 123-117

RJ Barrett scored 35 points and took over at the end — hitting big shots in the clutch — to carry the Knicks to a 123-117 victory over the Pelicans in New Orleans. It was his breakout game in the NBA — he’s had many good games but this was first time over 30 points and first time he put the Knicks on his shoulders to close out a win.

1. Barrett #1 Star

The Knicks led all night — at one point in the 1st half by as many as 16 points, but couldn’t put the young, pesky New Orleans team away. With the Knicks up by only 2 points, 111-109, with 1:39 left in the game, RJ Barrett took the ball at the top of the key, moved around a pick from Kemba Walker and hit a big 3 to give NY a 114-109 lead.

With NY up only 116-112 and 44 seconds left, RJ Barrett took the ball at top of key right side, moved around a pick from Taj Gibson and popped a 3 — BANG. NY had a 119-112 lead and essentially ballgame.

Barrett Hits Clutch Free Throws

New Orleans was left to foul — and NY got Barrett the ball. He hit 1 of 2 free throws to give NY a 120-114 lead with 33 seconds left, and Barrett was fouled again and went 2-2 from the line with 27 seconds left to give NY a 122-114 lead. After that a Devonte’ Graham 3 and a free throw by Kemba Walker produced the final score.

When asked if he was determined to take over at the end, Barrett chuckled and said “That was Thibs. Thibs was running those plays for me at the end. I was just reading the defense. I know that I’m the type of player that can have nights like that; and I’m happy to show that today.”

Barrett has become known for his great Defense, and afterwards had this to say of his big offensive game: “It was definitely a good game overall offensively. I was terrible on defense today. I was not good.”

2. Other Knick Big Dogs Get Barrett the Ball

Barrett scored the 35 points with tremendous efficiency — 12-18 shooting (6-8 from 3) and 5-6 from the free throw line. He had 8 rebounds and 6 assists in 36 minutes for a +8.

It is ironic because just 2 days earlier we tweeted:

Well this is how you do it — on tremendous efficiency — so that the other big dogs get you the ball.

Evan Fournier had 19 points on 6-14 shooting (5-8 from 3) and lots of playmaking, and Kemba Walker also had a terrific game with 19 points on 6-11 shooting (4-7 from 3) with 5 assists and 4 steals.

All of that firepower allowed Julius Randle to play a complementary role — 10 points on 4-9 shooting (2-2 from 3) with 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Good numbers from Randle — he only took the 9 shots. Kind of a night off for him — a night off having to deliver big buckets and lead the offense.

3. Gibson Gives Robinson Some Rest

Mitchell Robinson got some rest too — from Taj Gibson who played so well he played a lot — against Jonas Valanciunas who was a tough guard. Valanciunas had 27 pts on 10-15 shooting, 14 rebounds, 4 assists.

Coach Tom Thibodeau used Gibson on him a lot in the 2nd half and Gibson finished with 13 points on 5-8 shooting (3-3 from the line) with 7 rebounds and a block in 21 minutes.

Robinson scored 8 points (3-3 from the floor, 2-2 from the free throw line) with 5 rebounds in 27 minutes.

Alec Burks played a role in the win — shooting well off the bench (3-6, including 1-3 from 3) for 10 points.

Derrick Rose had a quiet night with 5 points in 15 minutes, as did Obi Toppin (1 point on 1 shot in 10 minutes), and Immanuel Quickley (3 pts on 1-5 shooting in 11 minutes).

Toppin to Barrett

Toppin was active defensively in his 10 minutes — at one point stealing the ball, running the break, and feeding Barrett for an important corner 3 midway thru the 4th.

4. Pelicans Led by Valanciunas and Youth

With Zion Williamson still out this year coming off foot surgery, and Brandon Ingram out for this game, the Pelicans were led by Jonas Valanciunas and youth. The 6’5 shooting guard Josh Hart had 16 points, 6’7 small forward Herbert Jones had 12 points and Devonte’ Graham had 17.


Zion Williamson hasn’t played yet this year coming off foot surgery, and was shown in videos working out before the game, and congratulating RJ Barrett on his big game afterwards.

Everyone made mention of how fat Zion looked. Walt Frazier said, “Zion folks you can see has put on some pounds; he has to get that weight off.”

  • Here’s a highlight reel of Barrett in this game:

The Boxscore



Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.