Studs and Duds from Knicks’ phenomenal win over the Atlanta Hawks

New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett (9) dunks against the Atlanta Hawks in the second quarter at State Farm Arena
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Following a hard-fought loss on opening night, the New York Knicks went back on the road to face the Atlanta Hawks. The Knicks showed many promising aspects and brought home the first win of the new season. Led by rising Star RJ Barrett, the Knicks imposed their will early against the Atlanta Hawks, earning a 126-120 win on the road

Studs: RJ Barrett lights up the first half

RJ Barrett has arrived. In year five, the growth of Barrett’s game in all facets has proven he put the work in this offseason. An array of brilliant decisions were made on Barrett’s part as he racked up 14 points and five assists in only 17 minutes played.

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Studs: Jalen Brunson comes up big in the second quarter

Jalen Brunson stamped his arrival in the second quarter, converting on four makes from beyond the arc. Brunson finished the half strong with 14 points in 15 minutes. The Knicks role players also stepped up huge in the first half. He finished the game with a career-high eight three-pointers made.

Duds: Julius Randle had a slow start to the game

Julius Randle had another slow start in this game. The two-time all-NBA star and leader for the Knicks has shown an erratic approach opening the season. Allowing himself to be neutralized on the offensive end and making uncommon errors saw the dominant abilities of Randle minimized in the first half. 

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Studs: A strong finish from Randle in the second half

Julius Randle became a Swiss Army knife in the second half. Finishing the game with an impressive 17 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists, Randle looked much more poised operating in the second half. Donte DiVincenzo made an incredible recovery following a no-scoring game in the opener vs Boston.

Studs: Donte DiVincenzo demonstrates the Knicks’ depth

DiVincenzo finished with 16 points in the contest, and the depth of the Knicks made themselves known in regards to Hawks star Trae Young.

Studs: Quentin Grimes locks down Trae Young

With impressive scoring on display throughout the lineup, Quentin Grimes’s lockdown defense on Trae Young set the tone in the second half for New York. 

Duds: Struggles while playing with a lead

The Knicks tend to become lackadaisical with their decision-making when things are going well. New York held a six-point lead at the half and let the Hawks hang around for much of the second half. Balancing aggressiveness on offense and defense will be a step to master for the Knicks’ young core.

Takeaways from the first win of the season

The Knicks are good. The tenacity must stay consistent, and Coach Thibodeau has done phenomenal appropriating winning traits to a young and motivated core. Four Knicks players finished with five assists or more and Brunson had a career-high eight three-pointers made.

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The prominent isolation style the Knicks have been known for was showing signs of being a pastime, as the Knicks have actively been better at facilitating and keeping the offense in motion. Following this impressive win over the Hawks, New York looks to continue the momentum tomorrow night against the Pelicans.