Following back-to-back disappointing losses to Eastern Conference contenders, the New York Knicks rebounded in a big way thanks to their incredible defense and strong performances from Julius Randle and RJ Barrett in his return to the lineup. The Clippers were held to under 100 points as the Knicks destroyed Los Angeles on the boards, as Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle combined for double-digit rebounds.
The second-chance points and ability to hold LA to just 33% from three have the Knicks all they needed to cruise to a much-needed win that pulls them to 3-4 on the season, and they had some nice all-around performances in the win.
Knicks Get Strong Performances From Julius Randle and RJ Barrett
After a horrible start to his season, Julius Randle was feeling the pressure coming back home to the Garden to put up a big performance, and after a shaky first quarter, Randle went off to put up his finest scoring performance of the season, going 9-19 (47.4%) from the field with 27 points on the night, going 3-7 (42.9%) and a perfect 6-6 from the charity stripe. With 10 boards to go with it, Randle secured another double-double.
Scoring has been an issue for Julius Randle, but not for a seemingly-improved RJ Barrett, who put up 26 points on an efficient 9-16 (56.3%) from the field. He added on two more threes on four attempts and added another six free throws without a single miss, going +13 on the night. Barrett returned to the lineup following a knee injury that sidelined him and was averaging 21.3 points per game on 57.3% TS% entering tonight’s game.
Jalen Brunson struggled on the night going 2-12 on the field for just seven points, and while he didn’t factor much on the scoring side of the ball, the strong performances from Randle and Barrett kept it from costing the Knicks on the evening. Mitchell Robinson was a monster on the glass for a double-double of his own, getting four steals with zero turnovers and just two personal fouls, and collecting 15 rebounds and 13 points. The Knicks have been one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA and out-rebounded the Clippers by 17.
Donte DiVincenzo had a strong night with 12 points on 4-6 (66.7%) shooting and six rebounds, bringing high-intensity play on both sides of the ball. Immanuel Quickley had an efficient night on limited touches going 3-5 (60%) for just seven points. As for the rest of the bench, Isiah Hartenstein got six points and three rebounds, and Josh Hart gave the Knicks 10 points on 4-9 shooting with three rebounds, two steals, and seven assists.
As a whole, the Knicks once again were able to rely on their strong defense and excellent rebounding to get them a big win and spoil the Clippers’ debut of James Harden, and the performance Randle had should inspire confidence going forward. Jalen Brunson had an off-night following his incredible scoring night against the Bucks, but RJ Barrett coming back from the brief knee injury to remain efficient and aggressive late in the game is highly-encouraging for New York.
The Knicks are now 3-4 on the season and will take on rookie phenom Wembanyama and the Spurs at home on Wednesday as they play the second game of a three-game homestand for New York, aiming to get back to .500 on the season.