Studs and Duds from Knicks’ win over Los Angeles Clippers’ big-four debut

New York Knicks power forward Julius Randle (30) shoots a three point jump shot against Los Angeles Clipper point guard Russell Westbrook (0) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

An incredible team effort saw the New York Knicks defeat the Los Angeles Clippers in James Harden’s debut on Monday night. The depth and tenacity displayed by New York was remarkable throughout the contest.

Led by RJ Barrett in his first game back from minor knee soreness, the Knicks showed their potential to begin an action-packed three-game home stand, securing the 111–97 win over the Clippers

Studs: Knicks’ depth fixes offensive woes

The Knicks’ tendency to rely on isolation scoring has been fading out game by game. The Knicks players and faithful were subjugated year in and out to ball-dominant play from one or two stars due to the Knicks’ lack of depth. Now, the tremendous depth and IQ the Knicks possess, do not warrant high usage from any singular player to be productive.

Studs: Ball movement leads to 28 assists

In a stellar victory over the Clippers, New York had 28 assists on the night. Quality showings by prominent rolemen like Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo brought an excellent variety that set the Knicks on par with the top teams of the association. 

Studs: Mitchell Robinson anchors the defense

Defensively, the Knicks were phenomenal, never allowing the Clippers to go on a substantial run and locking down one of their best players, holding Paul George to 2-11 shooting on the night.

The Clippers’ four stars looked anything but in their first game together. This included forcing 22 turnovers in the contest as New York’s swarming defense was the difference maker in the game.

Mitchell Robinson has been great to start this season. An anchor defensively, Robinson has accumulated more rebounds than most NBA teams so far this season at 45, only trailing the Lakers and Timberwolves. 

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Studs: RJ Barrett and Julius Randle shine bright at MSG

RJ Barrett and Julius Randle set the tone for the Knicks tonight. Barrett, in his first game back, was aggressive early and finished with 26 points in the contest. Barrett has cemented himself and is making the leap many Knicks fans have hoped for.

An incredible return to form also saw Randle have his best game of the season. Accumulating 27 points and 10 rebounds, Randle’s tenacity was a catalyst when the Knicks needed a timely bucket. Consistency is the next step for Randle, but that won’t be too much of an issue as the two-time All-NBA performer still finds his groove coming off an ankle injury last playoffs. 

Duds:

It’s a short list of duds from such a phenomenal showing, but the Knicks’ backcourt could not get it going against Los Angeles. Jalen Brunson and Quentin Grimes combined for 10 points on 3/16 from the floor.

Many of the Knicks fans will be looking at what has occurred with the playing time of Immanuel Quickley. Playing only 20 minutes on the night, Quickley saw his minutes lessened, and he rotated as the seventh man instead of the sixth man he deserved. 

Takeaways from the Knicks’ win over the new-look Clippers

The Knicks got off to a slower start this season, but their perseverance and cohesion were on full display against the Clippers. RJ Barrett is establishing himself as a true leader, and the Knicks are better for it. Looking ahead to their next contest against the Spurs, bolstering the number one pick Victor Wembanyama, the Knicks will look to go .500 on the season.