Coming off a 15-point win over the San Antonio Spurs, the New York Knicks took on the Dallas Mavericks at MSG on Wednesday evening. Dallas had won six consecutive games before taking on New York, who completely demolished them, holding them to a measly 85 points.
The Knicks have struggled at home this season but have pulled their record to .500 for the first time in several weeks, hopefully restarting and rejuvenating the team with the trade deadline coming up. Tom Thibodeau’s squad has been linked to a number of players, including Myles Turner, Cam Reddish, and Jerami Grant out of Detroit.
However, the Knicks got the job done against the Mavericks, scoring 108 points and shooting a phenomenal 44.4% from three-point range and 46.7% from the field. They held Dallas to just 21.6% from deep, holding Luka Doncic to 21 points and just five assists. In fact, three of Dallas’s starters didn’t crack single digits, with all of them posting a negative plus/minus.
Third-year guard RJ Barrett led the way for New York, scoring 32 points, shooting 13 of 22 from the field and 4 of 7 from three-point range. He also contributed seven rebounds and two assists in the win. Julius Randle recorded a double–double, nearly securing a triple–double with eight assists, 17 points, and 12 rebounds.
However, Barrett was the star of the evening, producing his second consecutive 30+ point performance and third 30+ point performance in five games. It is clear that Barrett is finally playing at full strength, shooting 48% from three-point range in the month of January and averaging 22.8 points per game.
It seems as if New York has taken a step in the right direction the past few games, winning four of their last five contests and a match against the Atlanta Hawks coming up on Saturday night. Atlanta has lost four of the last five games, presenting the Knicks with a competitive advantage.
Considering how great Barrett has been playing as of late, Thibodeau would be smart to continue feeding him the ball and playing off his confidence.