DEFENSE. And Clutch Shooting in Overtime. NY 128 Chicago 120

Julius Randle banged into the lane, double teamed, then triple teamed — drawing the defense that was clawed all over him — then swung a beautiful pass underneath a sea of hands to Quentin Grimes on the left side for a 3 as the shot clock ran out and Zach LaVine came running at him with outstretched wingspan — and Grimes’ shot bounced off the front of the rim, went up, then back down and in. A HUGE shot as NY went up by 6 with 1:04 left.

Next time down Jalen Brunson put Alex Caruso on skates on the left side and nailed a 3 for a 9-pt Knick lead with 28 seconds left and ballgame.

In between and for the whole Overtime period the Knicks played tough, in-your-face, helping DEFENSE — to clamp down on the high-scoring Chicago backcourt of DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine, with the dangerous Nikola Vucevic at center.

In Chicago on a Wednesday night.

NY improves to 15-13 — winners of 5 in a row. Chicago falls to 11-16.


1. TEAM Win

The Knicks played with Defensive Grit and offensive ball movement. Jalen Brunson scored 30 points on 11-21 shooting with 7 assists, and led the Knicks in OT — starting the period with a drive to the bucket, then getting to the basket for free throws next time down — giving NY a lead they would never relinquish.

2. Robinson a Hero

Randle was leading the charge inside, and Mitchell Robinson was beasting the boards and defending Vucevic brilliantly inside — blocking his inside drive with 3 minutes left and making Vucevic invisible late in the game in general. Robinson also played tremendous D on Zach LaVine on an attempted drive inside with 1:37 left and NY up 122-119. Next play down, Robinson got a huge offensive rebound — tapping the ball out to Brunson which set up the play for Randle and the big 3 by Grimes.

Robinson had 8 pts, 10 rebounds (6 offensive), 2 blocks, and a +7 in 36 minutes.

2. QGrimes a Hero

The Knicks do not win without Quentin Grimes the HUGE 3 at the end of OT and a HUGE 3 near the end of regulation, and playing a Gritty defense on DeMar DeRozan — who at 6’6 seemed to have several inches on him making it difficult for Grimes to defend him — especially when DeRozan is hitting the fadeaway. Grimes is listed at 6’5 so there should only be 1 inch difference but it looked like a little more.

But Grimes took DeRozan out in the OT period — forcing him to miss and not fouling him. And then of course the HUGE 3’s. Grimes finished with 14 points on 5-8 shooting (4-7 from 3) and a team-high +14.

3. DeRozan Killed Knicks with Free Throws in 4th

DeRozan got his rocks off — 32 points on 8-18 shooting (0-2 from 3) and 16-17 from the free throw line. DeRozan did most of his damage in the 4th quarter, when he took over for Chicago, with some help from Zach LaVine (25 pts on 11-23 shooting, 2-8 from 3) and Vucevic (19 pts).

RJ Barrett was guarding DeRozan for the most part — and did a pretty good job — but DeRozan kept getting every foul call and continued to hurt the Knicks from the free throw line.

4. Knicks Got Screwed at End of Regulation

NY was up 114-111 with 1:30 left in regulation when Julius Randle went right baseline guarded by Caruso and Patrick Williams helping out. Randle took a shot that rimmed out but Mitchell Robinson rebounded as a foul was called on Williams.

Chicago challenged the call and won the challenge, although it seemed clear Williams had run into Randle and undercut him. The refs called for a jump ball even though Robinson clearly HAD REBOUNDED THE BALL — as coach Tom Thibodeau yelled to the refs.

The jump ball was a bad toss by the ref, right toward Vucevic who won the toss against Robinson. Chicago had the ball and DeRozan drove the lane — and a foul was called on RJ Barrett who seemed to barely touch DeRozan. Barrett fouled out and DeRozan closed the game to a point with 2 free throws.

5. Barrett with Strong Game

Barrett had a strong game — 22 pts on 8-17 shooting (4-7 from 3) before fouling out guarding DeRozan with 40 seconds left in regulation.

6. Knicks Didn’t Make Final Shot of Regulation

NY had the ball and 24.7 seconds left in regulation — and called an iso play for Julius Randle to wind the clock down to nothing and take a shot. Julius did so and took a fadeaway from the right side at the buzzer, but overshot the basket for an air ball. Chicago got the ball with .7 seconds left and a final attempt. They inbounded to Williams underneath but Randle defended him brilliantly, as the ball went out of bounds for OT.

Some Knick fans complained about the final Knick play but it seemed standard NBA practice.

7. Other Knicks

Isaiah Hartenstein, Miles McBride, and Jericho Sims all played well as part of the Knicks 9-man rotation.

The Boxscore


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