Following a heartbreaking loss on Opening Night at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks were able to swiftly rebound with a 126-120 win over the Atlanta Hawks. With Jalen Brunson looking to put an ugly start to his season behind him, he would get off to a hot start, dropping 14 points in the first half against the Atlanta Hawks, and with his team-best 31 points, he helped guide the Knicks to a much-needed win in their first road game of the season, bringing the Knicks back to 1-1 on the year.
With an action-packed contest that came down to the final quarter, the Knicks had a lot to be happy about in their first win of the 2023-2024 NBA season.
Offense Comes Alive For the Knicks in Promising Road Win
RJ Barrett followed a strong performance on Opening Night with another 20-point game, dropping 26 points on just 9-15 from the field, and continuing to shoot the ball well from beyond the arc. By draining three of his five attempts from deep, Barrett brings his overall percentage on the season to 50%, averaging five attempts in the early going. It’s a small sample size of just two games, but Barrett is off to a hot start, which is something he sorely needed after a disappointing season last year.
Julius Randle didn’t have the prettiest efficiency in the world to start but still ended up with 17 points on just 10 shots, an assist shy of his first triple-double of the season. With 12 total boards and nine assists to three turnovers, Randle played a more passive role on the scoring sheet but found himself to be valuable in the Knicks’ ability to facilitate and create looks for other players on the team. He led the Knicks in that stat on the night and was a +7 when on the court, rebounding from a first game that came with ice-cold shooting.
Donte DiVincenzo quietly made six of his 10 total shots, scoring 16 points on the night and hitting three of his five attempts from the three-point line. DiVincenzo was the Knicks’ biggest addition in what was a rather quiet offseason for the Knicks and finally showed his scoring merit off the bench in just 20 minutes. Immanuel Quickely struggled with his efficiency, going 4-14 from the field, but still added 11 points, six rebounds, and six assists in his 24 minutes of play.
The Knicks also saw some strong interior defense, as they held Clint Capela to just 13 points on 12 attempts, and while Isiah Hartenstein didn’t stack the box score tonight, he helped provide eight points on just four shots. Mitchell Robinson collected 13 rebounds to lead the Knicks, with four steals and four blocks with just one foul, having a monstrous game on the defensive end of the floor, and keeping the Knicks locked down on both sides of the ball while not scoring much.
Jalen Brunson was the star of the contest, dropping 31 points on 21 shots, a classic Brunson performance where he used his deep arsenal to create offense for himself and his teammates. He was especially hot from three, draining 8-12 from downtown and eviscerating the Hawks’ perimeter defense, as Trae Young just couldn’t keep up with the Knicks’ star point guard, making just four of his 16 attempts from the field.
The Knicks were able to ice the game in the 4th, as RJ Barrett and Julius Randle hit multiple big shots to keep the Hawks at bay, and they’ll look to get over .500 for the first time this season against the New Orleans Pelicans on the road at 7PM EST.