The New York Knicks defeated the Houston Rockets 108-88 in Houston on Saturday, closing out 2022 with a win and snapping their season-long five-game losing streak to end the year on a high note.
The Knicks were much better defensively on Saturday after looking sluggish in Thursday’s embarrassing loss against the San Antonio Spurs, a game in which they allowed 62 points in the paint.
After a rough first quarter, where the Knicks gave up 35 points and trailed 8, they gave up just 53 points in the other three quarters combined and recorded 10 steals and five blocks as a team on the night.
After going scoreless and grabbing just six rebounds in 28 minutes on Thursday in the loss against San Antonio, Mitchell Robinson scored six points and dominated on the glass, securing 12 boards and recording three blocks and three steals to help tighten up the interior defense after its struggles on Thursday.
The main catalysts of Saturday night’s game were once again the performances of Julius Randle and Immanuel Quickley, as both continue to play amazing basketball of late.
Randle dropped in 35 points to go along with 12 rebounds and six assists and shot 5-13 from deep in Saturday’s victory. He finished the month of December with one of his best stat lines for an individual month in his career:
- 28.3 PTS
- 11.4 REB
- 4.3 AST
- 47.8 FG%
- 36.8 3PT%
Quickley cashed in 27 points with five rebounds and seven assists to go along with three steals while starting at point guard for the third straight game in place of the injured Jalen Brunson.
Quickley continued his brilliant stretch of games in which his electric three-point shooting and underrated playmaking abilities have been a sight to see.
After struggling during most of the eight-game winning streak to start the month, Quickley closed out the month with a dazzling stretch. In his last seven games, Quickley is averaging:
- 20.6 PTS
- 3.6 REB
- 5.1 AST
- 1.0 STL
- 44.5 FG%
- 40 3PT%
It was only a matter of time before Quickley, and Randle’s superhero performances were enough to save the day and get the Knicks back in the win column.
With those two playing their best individual basketball right now, there is good reason to believe that this Knicks team will be even better once Brunson (hip), RJ Barrett (lacerated finger), and Obi Toppin (knee) all return from their respective injuries, which could be very soon.
The Knicks will look to continue trending in the right direction when they head back home to Madison Square Garden on Monday to take on the Phoenix Suns for their first game of 2023.
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