Studs and Duds from Knicks’ loss to the Pelicans

New Orleans Pelicans forward Matt Ryan (37) tries to steal the ball from New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) in the third quarter at Smoothie King Center
Matthew Dobbins-USA TODAY Sports

A duel of young and talented cores saw the Pelicans get the best of the New York Knicks on this occasion. Following the win over Atlanta, the Knicks took the court again in under 21 hours. RJ Barrett was great, leading the way as an aggressor on both ends, but a tough outing for the stapled leaders of the New York Knicks led to an 86–97 loss

Studs: Mitchell Robinson plays with aggression

The Knicks came out of the gate with an unfamiliar presence in the first half. Accumulating 12 points the entire first quarter, one of the most promising to note was the aggressiveness of Mitchell Robinson. Robinson snagged 15 rebounds, and 10 of those on the offensive boards. Robinson’s instincts on the floor allow promising second-chance opportunities, but shots were not falling for the Knicks tonight. 

Studs: RJ Barrett continues breakout campaign

RJ Barrett is becoming the engine of the New York Knicks. Showing improvements game after game, leading New York in scoring with 18 points, the poise of Barrett has been remarkable. A new assertiveness has cultivated itself in Barrett’s game. He finds his spots on the floor with regularity, as well as taking what the defense gives him. Averaging 22 points per game over three contests, a natural maturation can be seen with the eye in Barrett’s game. 

Duds: Julius Randle continues to disappoint

Julius Randle has adapted to mediocrity to start the season, and an even larger problem with that is how he affects the team’s chances of winning. Randle’s shot selection and demeanor have left much to be desired by Knicks faithful.

Through three games, Julius Randle is averaging 13 points on 29% from the floor and 65% from the free throw line. Following an injury, expectations of a smaller load to start the season were expected of Randle. This change would’ve benefited both Randle and the Knicks, as less load for him means more production for rising players.

Randle’s usage coming off an injury has been hurting his team, and it showed heavily against the Pelicans. 

The Knicks have plenty of work to do

The Knicks, on the tail end of a back-to-back, showed early; they’ve got work to do. Chemistry allows seamless execution, and New York is lacking in that department.

New addition Donte DiVincenzo, still adjusting as well as the defensive discipline overall. Lack of communication leading to easy back-door layups by New Orleans shows that through the grind of the regular season, New York will keep learning how to sustain and build a true winning mentality. 

A poor showing by New York in this loss means they must bring all the stops on Tuesday versus Cleveland. In a rematch of the playoffs, the Knicks will have their hands tied, going up against a vengeful Cavaliers squad. 

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