Knicks Put Pedal to Metal in 4th. NY 137 Houston 115

It was a 9-point game when Julius Randle hit a 3 at the buzzer to end the 3rd quarter, and that seemed to trigger the Knicks — who went on a 10-point run to start the 4th with Randle not even in the game. In a minute and a half it was a 20-point Knick lead and ballgame, as Houston seemed to lose all hope and competitiveness.

NY soon rolled to a 30-point lead en route to the easy win.

“You know what I always say, about winning” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “Winning is always way more fun than fun is fun.”

Immanuel Quickley did most of the damage for NY as he was ON FIRE — 40 pts on 14-18 shooting (5-7 from 3; 7-9 in free throws), 9 assists, a steal, a block, and a + 18.

But it was Mitchell Robinson who was the under-the-radar star for NY — dominating with 3 blocks in the 3rd quarter to begin to give the Knicks their MOJO.

“I didn’t like the way we started the game but I thought the 2nd half we really played well,” assessed Thibs. “We got terrific play from a number of people. Obviously Quick — huge game for us. But I also thought Quentin also was terrific with his defense, rebounding, playmaking. And then our bench also gave us huge minutes. Jules had a big game. Mitchell the first 6 minutes of the 3rd quarter just took control of the game with his defense, shot blocking, and rebounding. So we had a number of guys… Obi gave us great minutes. Deuce gave us great minutes.”

1. Quickley Masterpiece — 40 Points, 9 Assists

The Knicks hadn’t played all weekend, and Immanuel Quickley was quoted before the game (by Rebecca Haarlow) that he was rejuvenated by the long layoff — resting and watching a lot of college basketball.

Quick looked fully rejuvenated in this game. With Jalen Brunson out, Quickley started at the point and was on his shot and his game from the start.

Quick kept bringing it all game — for the incredibly efficient 14-18 shooting (5-7 from 3) and 9 assists. It was the first time he had ever scored 40 points in a game.

“He’s always been an explosive scorer, and that’s what I like about him,” said Thibs afterwards. “I’ve said this many times — I don’t know what he is other than a good basketball player. If you need scoring he can score; if you need playmaking, he had 9 assists. He’s effective starting, he’s effective coming off the bench. You can play him at the point, play him at the 2, play him at the 3. It’s plug and play with him. And he plays well with everyone.”

“And he’s not afraid,” continued Thibs. “And that’s what I like about him. If he misses a shot he’s coming right down he’s taking another one; and that’s what we need from him. Read the game; you’re open shoot. If you’re getting more attention — play make.”

2. Robinson Gave Knicks their MOJO

Mitchell Robinson was absolutely dominating in the 3rd quarter. He BLOCKED Jalen Green‘s inside shot with 9:57 left in the 3rd and the Knicks only up 6 — at 69-63.

Robinson then BLOCKED Jabari Smith Jr.’s drive with 9:42 left and NY up 71-63.

With with 6:25 left and NY up 79-69, Robinson then BLOCKED AND CONSUMED Kenyon Martin Jr.’s dunk attempt — like a Black Hole — ripping the ball away from Martin and sending it up court.

3. Hartenstein, Barrett & Reserves Put Peddle to Metal

Robinson then handed the MOJO baton to Isaiah Hartenstein, who was on the court when the Knick reserves made their early 4th quarter 10-0 run.

A Hartenstein drive-and-one 3-pt play to start 4th was followed by two RJ Barrett drives — he was fouled on both and made 1 of 2 free throws each time — and then an Obi Toppin 3 and NY was up 20.

A Josh Hart steal and ahead-of-the-field score put NY up 22 — a minute and a half after the 4th quarter started.

Barrett, Hartenstein, Hart, Miles McBride, Quentin Grimes, and Obi Toppin proceeded to blow the Rockets off the floor.

  • Randle had 26 pts on 10-19 shooting (3-8 from 3)
  • Barrett had 19 pts on 6-12 shooting (1-3 from 3; 6-9 in free throws) and a + 17
  • Robinson had 3 pts, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks in 20 min
  • Hartenstein had 8 pts on 3-3 shooting, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and a + 32 in 24 min.
  • Grimes had 14 pts on 5-12 shooting (4-9 from 3)
  • Toppin had 15 pts on 6-12 shooting (3-8 from 3)
  • Hart had 9 pts and a +25

The Boxscore



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