Another Nail Biter. Another Brunson-Led Win. NY 112 Washington 108

Jalen Brunson hit 2 huge free throws with 13 seconds left to give NY a 4-pt lead, and hit 2 more free throws with 3 seconds left to ice it and lead NY to the 112-108 victory over the Wizards on a Friday night in DC.

NY entered the 4th up by 4 points, and increased that lead to 10 points several times on the scoring of Immanuel Quickley — but Washington came back as Kristaps Porzingis, who was having a terrible evening, hit four 3’s, and Kyle Kuzma (40 points) went on a scoring rampage. NY countered with ferocious play by Julius Randle — who outplayed Porzingis all night until the 4th — and big buckets by RJ Barrett.

“Credit to them — they’ve been playing very good basketball,” said coach Tom Thibodeau of the Wizards afterwards. “We knew it would be a challenge. Kuzma got going; Porzingis hit some 3’s on us. And then we fouled which was a problem. But overall I liked the way we responded. I thought our defense was very good throughout. And found a way to win. The rebounding was the big thing.”

NY improves to 24-19, and are now in 6th place in the East. Washington falls to 18-25.

1. Brunson Scores 34

Jalen Brunson again dominated the action for the Knicks, scoring at will all evening against a porous inner defense by Washington. Brunson had 34 points on 12-24 shooting (3-6 from 3, 7-7 in free throws), 8 rebounds, 8 assists, and a +19. He also had a steal and a block.

Brunson has now scored 34, 34, and 44 points in the last 3 games — and has had 9 games of 30 or more points this season. He’s averaging 22.2 ppg and has become the Knicks’ #1 scoring option, over Randle and Barrett.

This is the first time in Brunson’s career he’s been the #1 scoring option — previously he was the #3 option behind Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis.

“There were a couple of points in the game where it was 6-8 points, where they had the lead — and he came right back,” said Thibodeau of Brunson. “He brought the game back; he didn’t let it get away. Just reading the game; I always say the #1 job of the point guard is to control and manage the game — what’s going on in the game; get us organized. And he’s great at it. Has a lot of poise.”

2. Quick Was Quick

But it was Immanuel Quickley who provided the fire power at the start of the 4th to give NY the advantage in this game. Quick was attacking the basket, running the break, hitting his floater, getting AND-1’s, and passing the ball.

3. Randle Ferocious

Julius Randle completely outplayed Kristaps Porzingis in this game until KP caught fire from 3 in the 4th. Randle had 23 points and 16 rebounds, including the ferocious DUNK of the Year in the 3rd quarter, when he posterized top shot blocker Daniel Gafford.

Randle followed that with a monster block later in the quarter.

4. Mitch Great Interior D

Randle was helped by a terrific interior defensive game by Mitchell Robinson. Robinson had only 4 points on 2-4 shooting, but 10 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Two of Robinson’s points were Huge — an offensive put-back-tip-in to give NY a 100-90 lead in the 4th.

It was noticeable that when Porzingis came out for foul issues, Washington (especially Rui Hachimura) immediately attacked the rim.

Robinson fouled out late in the 4th; some of that was due to Washington seemingly aided by generous ref calls in the 4th quarter. Robinson received two calls that were dubious — one on a Porzingis jumper from the right baseline where Robinson went straight up and barely touched Porzingis.

5. Hartenstein Good

Isaiah Hartenstein replaced Porzingis and did a good job this evening — playing better than he had the two previous games. Hartenstein provided a big body against Porzingis, and got 7 rebounds in 19 minutes, going 3-6 from the floor for 8 points and a +12.

Hartenstein made a head’s up play in the 3rd — knowing to be in the right place at the right time on offense for a Barrett to Quick to Hartenstein SLAM.

6. Barrett Terrific

RJ Barrett had a terrific game, with strong drives all night but especially in the 4th — making two drives into the lane for short efficient jumpers. He had 17 points on 7-13 shooting (1-3 from 3, 2-4 in free throws) and 5 rebounds.

Quentin Grimes started off shooting poorly but hit big buckets late to finish with 8 points (on 2-10 shooting) and a +12. Miles McBride played 8 minutes, and Obi Toppin 12 minutes.

The Boxscore



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