New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett is finding his groove at just the right time, as he logged in another brilliant performance Saturday as New York capped off their third consecutive victory with a thrilling 116-110 win over the West’s top-seeded Denver Nuggets.
Barrett scored 21 points on 8-13 shooting from the field and also recorded four rebounds and two assists in the victory, his third straight game of scoring at least 20 points and the fourth such time in his last five games.
While he did not light up the box score, it is still a very encouraging sign to see him find some sort of rhythm after enduring a treacherous slump.
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Knicks’ RJ Barrett is finding his groove:
Barrett scored all 21 points Saturday from two-point range, including 11 points on a perfect 4-4 mark in the second half. He has been looking to attack the basket more and not settle for difficult three-point shots.
While he is only shooting 28.3% from outside the arc since the All-Star break on approximately five attempts per night, he is shooting 44.4% overall from the field after the All-Star break compared to 42.8% before the break, a great sign that he is slowly but surely becoming a more efficient scorer.
Barrett’s defense was a significant issue early in the season, but since the All-Star break, he has played much tighter defense and forcing difficult shots from his opponents.
Since the break, Barrett has started to look like the elite two-way player he was during the second half of last season.
Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau notices how much more effective of a player Barrett is when he looks to score inside and expressed that after the Knicks’ win Saturday.
“When he attacks the basket, he’s very efficient,” Thibodeau said postgame Saturday. “When he starts floating and fading away and all that, that’s where the problems come.”
With Barrett heating up and Jalen Brunson returning, the Knicks now have all hands on deck as the season winds down. If Barrett continues to play the way he did Saturday, then the Knicks could have their star trio playing their best basketball entering the playoffs, which can help them make a deep playoff run.
On Monday, Barrett and the Knicks will look to continue their winning ways when they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves.
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