3 takeaways as Knicks escape with win over undefeated Bulls

knicks, julius randle

The Knicks overcame the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night 104-103, but it wasn’t without a dramatic ending as New York failed to score a single point over the final three minutes of the game.

The Bulls fought their way back from 13 down, and a pair of Julius Randle missed free throws with 5 seconds left on the clock gave them an opportunity to steal a victory. Luckily for the Knicks, third-year guard RJ Barrett locked down DeMar DeRozan, forcing an airball to finish off the undefeated Bulls.

Three takeaways for the Knicks in win over Chicago:

1.) RJ Barrett is finding his groove

Barrett finished the contest shooting 8-for-15, including one three-point hit. His 20 points ranked 2nd on the team, just behind Kemba Walker, showcasing one of his best performances of the young season.

However, Barrett’s most crucial moment came with 5 seconds left, stifling off a fake shot by DeRozan, staying on his feet, and forcing a poor shot to give the Knicks their fourth win of the season. His impressive defense backs up his confidence earlier in the week, targeting an All-Defensive team nod.

“Honestly, the biggest part I’ve been trying to work on is my defense. I want to be first-team all defense, I want to be (a top defender), I want to be that guy for this team. So just looking at (my defense).”

2.) Julius Randle is playing off his teammates

The Knicks rely on Julius Randle to carry the load on offense, but his unselfish approach has benefited the team greatly in recent days. Randle contributed just 13 points in the win, but added 16 rebounds and nine assists, showing his dominance on the boards and passing abilities.

Utilizing the attention Randle commands to his advantage, the Knicks managed to spread the ball around the floor and ride the hot hands to victory.

3.) Cardian Kemba has arrived

Kemba was phenomenal once again against Chicago, putting together his second consecutive All-Star caliber performance. Walker shot 7-for-12 from the field and 5-for-6 from 3-PT range. He was lethal on offense, giving the Knicks enough firepower to barely escape with a win, despite the team failing to score in the final three minutes.

Walker made way for Randle to act as the facilitator, a unique role for a power forward, adding just two assists. However, his shooting has been lights out, providing the Knicks with the value they envisioned when they signed him this past off-season.

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