Randle’s Triple-Double Helps the Knicks Quiet the Thunder
There’s plenty of talk about the three-headed monster in Brooklyn, but in today’s Knicks game another three-headed monster was born. In their first win since the All-Star Break, the Knicks beat the Thunder 119-97 in Oklahoma City. New York’s triple threat came from Julius Randle, Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett, each of which had a superb game.
Biggest Performers for the Knicks
After a rare, subpar performance in the Knicks’ Thursday night loss to the Bucks, Randle came back with a vengeance and reminded everyone why he was an All-Star. He scored 26 points with 12 assists and 12 rebounds for his second triple-double of the season. He went 3-6 from the 3PT line while picking up two steals. Randle is the first Knicks player to have multiple triple-doubles in a season since Mark Jackson in the 1988-1989 season.
- Elfrid Payton was ruled out of today’s game with a strained hamstring. In his place, Frank Ntilikina was chosen to start over Quickley. Despite this, Ntilikina couldn’t give coach Tom Thibodeau a proper “thanks”–he was taken out of the game after picking up two fouls within the first six minutes. In the end, he played just seven minutes with zero points. Because of this, Quickley had to pick up the slack at point guard. He succeeded by scoring 21 points, nine of which were from behind the arc.
We can’t forget about Barrett, who finished the game with 32 points. It was his third consecutive game with 20+ points and it was his fifth time doing so in the last six games. Barrett went 12-21 and 3-6 from the three-point line, improving on Thursday’s performance and adding more to what has already been a great sophomore season so far.
Knicks Come Back in the Second Quarter
At the end of the first quarter, the Knicks were down by nine points: 31-22. After stretching their lead to 11 early in the second quarter, the Knicks were able to slowly erode at that lead. Alec Burks played a big part in this, as he played all 12 minutes and scored nine points. Additionally, the Knicks used the long-range game to help make the comeback. Quickley went 2-3, Barrett went 1-1 and Randle went 1-2. It wasn’t a perfect, but the 45.5 3P% in that quarter was much better than the 25.0 3P% for the Thunder. At their peak, the Knicks had an eight-point lead but when the the first half ended it was down to two: 56-54.
In the Second Half, New York Brings the Thunder
Thibodeau must have given a phenomenal halftime speech when you consider how the Knicks played in the second half. After briefly regaining the lead early on, the Thunder quickly folded and gave it back. In fact, the Thunder would never lead again for the rest of the game. The Knicks stole Oklahoma City’s Thunder and ran with it. They lead by 26 at one point, outscored their opponents by 20 and notched seven steals, finishing the game with 12. Out of all the players, Barrett had the best performance this half. He scored 22 of his 32 points while going 8-12 and 2-4.
What’s Next for the Knicks?
The Knicks have two more games in their current four-game road trip. They have an off-day tomorrow before two tough, consecutive games against the best teams in the East. On Monday, March 15th they play the Brooklyn Nets and on Tuesday, March 16th they play the Philadelphia 76ers. It will surely be a tough challenge for the Knicks but if they want to remain in the sixth spot in the East, they’re going to have to win at least one of these games. Monday in particular will be a great showcase of New York’s opposing three-headed monsters. Who will come out on top as the most dangerous monster? We’ll have to wait and see.