The New York Knicks managed to extend their lead to 4 in a strong game against the Pelicans. Although they struggled to maintain a lead in the second half, they went on a strong run in the fourth quarter. Julius Randle had a routine strong game as he finished with 30 points and eight rebounds. Alec Burks additionally had a great performance tonight as he led New York to victory in the latter stages of the game. Here are the takeaways from the game that ended 116-106 in New Orleans.
Julius Randle and Alec Burks lead New York
Randle played an impressive game tonight. He went 5/8 from 3 and led the scoring for either side. He was aggressive in the paint as well as he caused problems for Zion Williamson. The case for the power forward to be named the Most Improved Player continues to grow as he continuously provides great minutes for his team.
Alec Burks has also continued to impress as of late. Burks has been the leader for the Knickerbockers in the clutch. He has consistently hit his signature jump shot off the high pick and caused serious problems for his opposition. New York could’ve been in a difficult position if the guard hadn’t taken off in the fourth quarter.
Knicks struggle guarding their paint
With Nerlens Noel out with a sore right ankle, Tom Thibodeau was forced to dig deep into his lineup to find a solution. Taj Gibson and Norvelle Pelle struggled to keep opposition out of the paint. Steven Adams and Zion Williamson were getting to the rim with ease for a significant portion of the game. In the first half, this weakness allowed the Pelicans to stay in the game and were down by just a point at the half. However, Gibson was able to tighten things up and forced the 20-year-old phenom to take deeper shots. Once Thibodeau implemented a strict yet effective way to guard the forward, New York managed to build a bigger lead.
RJ Barrett shooting woes continue
It’s been a rough week two weeks for RJ Barrett. He’s been far too passive to really support Julius Randle as the second option as of late. Tonight, he finished with six points shooting 20% FG. Whether at the rim or a jump shot, little has been falling for the Maple Mamba recently and he needs to get back on track. Barrett can be the deciding factor for the Knicks if he gets back on the streak he was on just weeks ago.
The Knicks face the Mavericks this Friday. The two played each other just two weeks ago where Dallas came out on top. This will be a tough test for New York as they look to extend their win-streak to 5.