The New York Knicks showed promise in their first preseason game of the new NBA year. New York deployed its regular-season starting five of Jalen Brunson, Quentin Grimes, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson. The Celtics, however, coming off of a back-to-back, went with their bench unit for this contest.
Jalen Brunson sparks big first-half lead
An early serving from Jalen Brunson, with eight points in his first three minutes of playing time, ignited an early double-digit lead over the Celtics. The preseason debut of Donte DiVincenzo saw him shooting 0/5 from the floor, but flashes of brilliance on defense and his passing ability make him a perfect plug in the Knicks rotation.
Evan Fournier gets his chance to shine
Following a near exile from the Knicks’ lineup last season, Evan Fournier made a showing with three points in eight minutes on the floor. The team’s star trio of Brunson, Randle, and Barrett combined for 33 points in the half with a six-point lead over Boston.
- Knicks’ Julius Randle named Eastern Conference Player of The Week
- Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau defends choice to stick with struggling Quentin Grimes
- Knicks benefiting from Jalen Brunson’s ability to draw charges
Knicks flex bench depth in the second half
Mitchell Robinson and Sixth-Man of the Year runner-up Immanuel Quickley led the second-half unit for the Knicks. Quickley ended with 21 points in 22 minutes and Robinson anchored the front court with three blocks on the game. DiVincenzo continued to make sharp passes and knocked down a couple of threes, adding the much-needed shot-making the Knicks lacked last season.
The fourth quarter saw reserves closing out and an extended run for Evan Fournier, who finished with 11 points in the contest as the Knicks won 114-107.
Top takeaways from first preseason win
Seeing Evan Fournier get an extended run, playing 20 minutes, should please Knicks fans. The front office being hesitant to move him suggests, in any mention of a disgruntled star, his name is likely in the deal.
RJ Barrett shot a team-high nine free throws; even if shots weren’t falling, his aggressiveness was on full display. The duo of Brunson and Randle were excellent in their minutes.
Team defense and communication were the most evident issues for New York. Cohesion on the defensive end will be fundamental to growth this season.