Knicks Take Care of Business with Balanced Attack. NY 121 Charlotte 102

The Knicks took care of business from the 3rd quarter on, using good Defense and a balanced attack to blow out the Hornets in Charlotte on a Friday night, 121-102.

Julius Randle continued his all-star caliber play, scoring 33 points on efficient shooting (including 4-10 from 3) to lead the attack. RJ Barrett added 26 points, and 5 players had 11 or 10 points — Quentin Grimes, Jalen Brunson, Isaiah Hartenstein, and Immanuel Quickley had 11 points each, while Miles McBride had 10.

“I thought we played very unselfishly,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “I liked our Defense; our rebounding was good, taking care of ball was good, getting to the line; I thought Julius played a Monster game, RJ got going, our bench gave us great minutes; Quentin & Deuce gave us great defense, I liked the size of Isaiah & Jericho together. So — everyone stepped up and played well.”

NY evens its record at 13-13 with the win — a game they were favored in beforehand. Charlotte had played well the last 5 games at home, but is only 7-19 now on the year, having suffered injuries to LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward, center Mark Williams, Cody Martin, and now Dennis Smith Jr out with an ankle sprain.


1. Knicks Overall Defense Looking Better & Better

The Knicks are looking better and better this past week. The media and fan website complaints of a week ago — that the Knicks were going nowhere this season — seem ancient, far fetched, and ‘way off’.

In this game, the Knicks got to work with 3 minutes and change left in the 3rd. Again it was Quentin Grimes and Miles McBride with the defense in the backcourt, and Julius Randle and RJ Barrett leading the offense, with Mitchell Robinson defending the paint and hauling down offensive rebounds for 2nd chances.

When Robinson came out, Isaiah Hartenstein came in with hustle plays, including a tremendous one at end of the 3rd where he tapped the ball out to Deuce McBride while falling to the floor, for a jumper at the buzzer that McBride nailed for a 18-pt Knick lead.

“Sometimes you can look at a game and try to draw conclusions; you can look at stats & numbers, and they really don’t mean anything. I can tell the people that are regurgitating numbers and they haven’t watched any of the film. When you look at it in totality it gives you context of what happens on plays & what happens in the game. Sometimes its just a matter of we had a great shot and we missed it.”

2. Randle with a Monster Game

Julius Randle is playing an all-star brand of basketball — pushing the attack, holding up to pass, scoring inside with authority, hitting his 3, rebounding, and defending. He looks like the Randle of two years ago — the All Star.

3. Barrett with Explosive Drives

RJ Barrett is looking stronger and stronger — with explosive moves to the basket in this game. On a slam at the start of the 3rd, Walt Frazier had this to say: “Take a look at RJ. Moving and grooving. Showing his culinary skills this time. Slicing and dicing them with the dunk. So nice we’ll show it twice. Yea. Master Blaster.”

RJ also penetrated into the lane and fed Isaiah Hartenstein several times in the 3rd, then Hartenstein repayed him with a pass in the lane later on.

4. Robinson BEASTing Inside

Mitchell Robinson is beasting inside — anchoring the defense and grabbing a league-leading amount of offensive rebounds to give the Knicks second chances.

“Great job by Mitchell Robinson on the offensive glass and with rebounds he can’t control,” said NBA analyst Ross Kreines on Twitter. “He plays volley-ball that lead to 2nd chance opportunities for himself, others and some open 3’s. Knicks need to use his strengths and get him in some high pick and rolls. Keep your Bigs involved.”

5. Hartenstein HUSTLE

Isaiah Hartenstein looks more and more comfortable on the court, and is giving the Knicks Hustle plays under the offensive and defensive boards, 3-pt shooting, and passing.

After RJ Barrett hooked him up for some inside buckets off a drive and pass, Hartenstein returned the favor to RJ late in the 3rd. The CHEMISTRY between Hartenstein and his teammates seems infectious as well.

The Boxscore


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