After making minimal moves at the Trade Deadline, the New York Knicks took on the Washington Wizards for the second time in three nights. This was one of the worst performances for the Knicks this season. After the bad game, the Knicks still win 106-102. Thank you, RJ Barrett.
What the Knicks did right:
RJ Barrett. RJ Barrett is the reason the Knicks won. Barrett was a possessed man tonight. After a rocky start, the Sophomore willed this team to a win. Along with RJ, the defense did everything they could to keep the Knicks in this game. For all the offensive struggles the Knicks had tonight, Taj Gibson was one of the brighter spots. Alec Burksdidn’t have the best shooting percentage tonight, but he kept New York in this game. The Knicks did a great job containing Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal. The NBA’s leading scorer was held to 7-22 from the field and only had 23 points. Westbrook struggled, even more, the former MVP shot 3-15 and had 13 points. A 7-0 run in the fourth quarter, but the comeback over the top and won the game for the Knicks.
What the Knicks did wrong:
Julius Randle had one of his worst games of the season. Along with Randle, inefficient shooting killed the Knicks. New York put up 106 points, and it took a horrendous 36.6 shooting percentage. Washington is one of the worst teams in the Association, so performances like this won’t work often. Too many of the role players had no real input to the game. Mitchell Robinson, Obi Toppin, and Frank Ntilikina in a combined 47 minutes had six points.
Toppin and Ntilikina have been underperforming bench players this year, tonight was no different. Look for Tom Thibodeau to tinker with the second unit on Sunday. The Knicks have been one of the better defensive teams this year, in quarter two Washington put up thirty-five points, which is odd for a Thibs defense. I expect the New York to try a more zone-oriented defense with the Greek Freak coming up the net. Thibs will want more men in Giannis’ side of the court and keep pressure on Milwaukee’s shooters.
Not every win will be pretty, but this was a tough and gritty performance for the Knickerbockers. New York is a team that doesn’t quit, and that resilience can lead them to the Play-In Tournament. Knicks head to Milwaukee on Sunday to face the Bucks.