Knicks on Another Level. Blow Out New Orleans Start to Finish, 128-106

The Knicks have moved up another level since before the All Star break: heart-attack wins have been replaced by Blowout wins against pretty good teams. On this night — a Saturday night at Madison Square Garden — a start-to-finish Blowout win over the New Orleans Pelicans, who came in 30-30.

The star on this night — RJ Barrett — who along with the entire Knick team came out aggressively in the 1st quarter and took it to New Orleans for a 20-point 1st-quarter lead, 42-22. All while the Knicks were playing the second game in two nights, while the Pelicans were resting the night before.

The Pelicans were never able to get closer than 15 points down the rest of the night, NY maintaining a 20+ point lead for most of the evening, increasing the lead to 30 points (120-90) in the 4th.

“Coming off of last night — back to back for us; they’re sitting here waiting on us — we wanted to make sure we got off to a good start,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “I thought our defense got going and we created good shots and found a good rhythm particularly with the 3.”

On RJ Barrett, Thibs said his “playmaking was terrific. All around play; just read the game really well. Aggressive to start; good rhythm. And when there was traffic around him he sprayed it out and created easy shots for us. And when we get our team doing that we’re going to score a lot of points.”

Thibs summed up Barrett’s night; “I thought his all around game was great. Floor game great. Attacking the rim great. Shooting the 3 great. Just played all around a really strong game.”

It was New York’s 5th win in a row; they are now 35-27, in 6th in the East, a half game behind Brooklyn. New Orleans drops to 30-31, in 10th (a playoff team) in the West.

1. Barrett the Star

If the Knicks are going to challenge for a title with this roster, RJ Barrett needs to move his game to another level. He played at that level in this game.

Barrett has been left out of the 5 players who finish close games — just the night before he was on the bench as Josh Hart and Immanuel Quickley were the shooting guard/small forward tandem to finish vs Washington.

On this night Barrett came out attacking, hitting his 3, sharing the ball, and playing terrific defense en route to 25 points on 8-13 shooting (4-7 from 3, 5-5 in free throws), 4 rebounds, and 7 assists; he was a +23.

2. Randle Outclassed Ingram

Julius Randle — fresh off his spectacular 46-point performance of the night before — also came out on fire, hitting his 3, scoring at will and taking it to Brandon Ingram on both offense and defense.

Randle finished with a team-high 28 points on 11-20 shooting (5-10 from 3) with 7 rebounds and 5 assists; he was a +26.

Ingram — who plays with the coolness of Cam Reddish — was forced (and sometimes not forced) into bad shots all night en route to 19 points on 7-22 shooting and a -23. Randle severely outclassed him.

3. Brunson Bounce Back Game

Jalen Brunson never seems to have a bad game — but the night before the ball kept rolling in and out for him for a 6-20 shooting night. On this night he was back on his game — 20 points on 5-13 shooting (3-7 from 3; 7-9 in free throws), and a +17.

4. Knicks in High Gear

The Knicks were in high gear all night. Mitchell Robinson in his second game back from the thumb injury/surgery was dominating inside, blocking shots, scoring on dunks — 11 points on 5-5 shooting with 13 rebounds and a block. He gave Jonas Valanciunas a hard time inside, ripped down rebounds, and his presence alone prevented Pelicans from driving.

Immanuel Quickley came off the bench to add his usual energy — 13 points on 5-10 shooting. The play of the night came in the 3rd when Immanuel Quickley stole the ball for a breakaway, and banked it off the backboard for a SLAM by a trailing Julius Randle.

Josh Hart scored 15 points off the bench on 5-6 shooting (1-1 from 3, 4-5 in free throws) and Isaiah Hartenstein provided his usual intense big-body presence inside on the second team.

Quentin Grimes did a defensive job on CJ McCullum, who had 13 points and was only 6-19 fro the floor and 1-9 from 3. “Grimes defense was very underrated,” said Wally Szczerbiak on the post-game. “He LOCKED Up McCullum. He made his life absolutely miserable tonite. So everyone is playing their role.”

5. Grand Theft Alvarez Gave New Orleans Energy

Jose Alvarado came off the bench to give New Orleans tremendous energy — but it wasn’t enough overall. He had 6 points on 3-7 shooting, 3 assists, and a steal in 16 minutes.

Jose is knicknamed “Grand Theft Alvarado” because of his penchant to steal the ball. He plays at an incredibly high level of energy and speed.

Alvarez is a local success story out of Brooklyn — he was undrafted out of Georgia Tech but has made an imprint in the NBA. He is in his second season, averaging 9.1 ppg off the bench.

During the broadcast it was mentioned that the night before he was honored at his old high school Christ the King in Brooklyn, and several of his teammates attended as well.

6. Rose Garden in the 4th

With the Knicks up 30 late in the 4th and the Garden crowd giddy, fans started a loud chant for Derrick Rose. Tom Thibodeau obliged by bringing Rose into the game late for a LOUD ovation.

Rose — who was playing like an All Star just the year before last and was expected to be a key returning player this year — has not played since January as Thibodeau has shortened the roster and Rose has taken an advisor’s role on this Knick team — seemingly to his pleasure. Rose is now 34 years old.


The Knicks honored the 1973 Knick Championship team at halftime on the 50th Anniversary of their title. Walt Frazier made a terrific halftime thankyou speech. Other 1973 Knicks there were Earl Monroe, Bill Bradley, Dick Barnett, Henry Bibby, and Jerry Lucas. Serendipity: NY had 73 points at the half — leading 73-52 as the halftime ceremony began.

Many former Knicks showed up for the evening, including Bernard King, Alan Houston, Latrell Sprewell, and Amare Stoudemire, who showed up with a great hat — great hat Stat!

The Boxscore


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