Knicks’ RJ Barrett rising to the occasion during hot-stretch

rj barrett, knicks
Feb 27, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett (9) reacts during the second quarter against the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett stepped up big time for the shorthanded Knicks in Sunday’s thrilling 131-129 double-overtime victory over the Boston Celtics, a win that extended New York’s winning streak to a season-high nine games.

Barrett scored 29 points (his most in a single game since Jan. 11), snagged 11 rebounds, dished three assists, recorded one steal, one block, and shot 10-22 from the field in the victory.

It was a huge game for Barrett that also saw star-studded performances from teammates Immanuel Quickley and Julius Randle, all while New York was missing Jalen Brunson to a foot injury.

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RJ Barrett helped lead the shorthanded Knicks:

No Brunson meant that Barrett was going to have to step up and become a larger contributor on offense in both the interior and outside the arc, and he definitely stepped up when the Knicks needed him the most.

Barrett is notorious for starting off games slowly, but that was not the case Sunday.

Barrett scored a very fast five points in the opening minutes of the game on a couple of jump shots, which is a great sign that he is slowly finding his rhythm shooting the ball after struggling mightily with jump shooting the past several weeks.

Barrett would go on to score 14 points in the first quarter on 5-8 shooting and 2-4 from outside the arc, capping off one of his best starts to a game this season.

Barrett was aggressive throughout the game, looking to get into the paint and become a nuisance for Boston as they struggled to contain New York on the interior. The Knicks shot nearly 50% from the field and 36.6% from three-point range Sunday.

This was a very important game for Barrett, as his role on the team still has a question mark alongside it, especially with the impact the newly acquired Josh Hart has provided since coming over via trade.

His latest performance is a great sign that he is finding his groove, which could elevate this Knicks squad from a fringe playoff team to a contender.

Barrett and the Knicks will look to keep it rolling when they head back home to take on the lowly Charlotte Hornets at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @DylanBacker_