Knicks Bulldoze Brooklyn, 121-102

Donte DiVincenzo vs Brooklyn. Photo Courtesy NY Knicks (

In the old days of 2 years ago this would have been a tough game for the Knicks. Playing the scrappy 13-13 no-name Brooklyn Nets who come at you as the #2 team in the league in 3-pt percentage. The Knicks coming off a West Coast road trip that featured wins over the Lakers and Suns, leaving them possibly over-confident and tired.

Not this Knick team.

New York blew the doors off Brooklyn. The Knicks jumped out to 15-5 lead, upped the lead to 18 points early in the 2nd quarter, then withstood a 3-point barrage that pulled Brooklyn to within 9 by the half. The Knicks blew Brooklyn back some more at the start of the 3rd, taking a 21-pt lead — then withstood another Brooklyn 3-point barrage that pulled them to within 7 with 2:27 left in the quarter.

But NY laid down the D — Brooklyn wouldn’t score again until 9:46 left in the game — almost 5 minutes later — and by that time the Knicks were up by 21, 98-77.

NY cruised to the win — leading by as many as 25 points down the stretch.

“I love the way we started the game,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards. “There was a defensive tone to it and that also led to fast breaks and easy scoring opportunities, and then we got a good rhythm from that.”

NY improves to 16-11. Brooklyn falls to 13-14.

1. Randle Bulldozes Inside All Night Long

The Nets had no answer for Julius Randle all night, as he bulldozed inside against Mikal Bridges and anyone else the Nets threw at him. Randle used his full repertoire of power moves to score at will and then also pass outside to open up the offense.

As NBA Analyst Ross Kreines observed of Randle’s attack, “Create a mismatch and attack that same mismatch and that’s what Julius Randle continues to do. Put your defender at your mercy and don’t let them off the hook.”

Randle was at the heart of the initial surge that got NY the 15-5 lead, and he was dominant throughout. Randle finished with 26 pts on 9-20 shooting, doing all of his damage inside (0-4 from 3, 8-9 in free throws). He had 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and a game-high +27.

His counterpart Mikal Bridges shot 4-21 (1-8 from 3) for 15 pts and had a -17.

2. DiVincenzo Lights Up the 3rd

Donte DiVincenzo also lit up the Brooklyn night — especially at start of the 3rd quarter when he hit a jumper and then three 3’s in the span of 4 minutes that upped the NY lead to 21 points.

DiVincenzo was in the thick of the action all night — with heady drives, 3’s, frenetic defense, moving without the ball, moving the ball — just a high-energy, smart, skilled basketball player.

DiVincenzo finished with 23 pts (9-15 shooting, 5-10 from 3), 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and a +13.


The Knicks DEFENSE is BACK the last 2 games — the win over the Lakers, and this one, where the Knicks clamped down on Brooklyn, disallowing them from getting into the paint and forcing them to be simply a 3-pt shooting team. And NY got after the 3 as well, especially at end of the 3rd and throughout the 4th.

Isaiah Hartenstein formed the backbone of the defense — and was tremendous as usual. He had 10 rebounds (5 offensive boards), 3 assists, and 2 blocks in 30 minutes.

Josh Hart was in the thick of that D, and also had a good offensive game, hitting his 3. Hart had 13 rebounds and a steal, and scored 10 points on 2-5 shooting (2-3 from 3).

4. All the Knicks Had the Knack

RJ Barrett was a big part of the D and also had a good offensive game — 14 pts on 5-11 shooting (4-4 in free throws), with 5 rebounds, a steal, a block, and a +13.

Taj Gibson was the backup center to Hartenstein, and played 13 heady minutes.

Immanuel Quickley was tremendous — 19 pts on 7-12 shooting (4-6 from 3).

Quentin Grimes did his part on D and scored 5 pts in 18 minutes.

And of course Jalen Brunson steered the ship all night and did his part on D — he had 16 pts, 7 rebounds, 8 assists, and a steal for a +18.

5. Knick D Forced Brooklyn Into Bad Shooting Night

For Brooklyn:

  • Mikal Bridges was forced into 4-21 shooting (1-8 from 3) for 15 points.
  • The high-scoring Cam Thomas, who is averaging 24.1 ppg, was limited to 20 points on 8-18 shooting, and a -25.
  • Royce O’Neale was 2-11 (2-10 from 3), and
  • Spencer Dinwiddie was 3-11 (2-8 from 3) for 10 pts.

The only Net to score efficiently was Cameron Johnson, who had 20 pts on 8-14 shooting (4-6 from 3) for a -5.


Just after the game, word came across the Twitter wire from Shams Charania that the Knicks had applied to the NBA for a Disabled Player Exception worth $7.8 million as Mitchell Robinson is projected to miss the rest of the season. A bummer for Knicks fans.

The Boxscore


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