The New York Knicks (32-27) come up huge to defeat the Charlotte Hornets (28-29), 109-97 at Madison Square Garden. Both teams started the game with streaky shooting, ending it off with Charlotte leading 33-30 at the end of the first. Neither team had a huge swing in their advantage. That came in the last minutes of the 2nd when the Hornets went on a 9-1 run, leading 66-60. However, the Knicks picked up the intensity in the 3rd, regaining the lead on R.J Barret’s 2 threes. The Hornets were within seven points at the 4:50 mark in the fourth but was too little too late for them.
P.J Washington was on a tear at the start of the game. He had 26 points and 3 rebounds, 17 of those coming from the 1st quarter. He started 5/5 from three-point-range. Terry Rozier had a good stat line tonight with 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists. As much I would love to praise him for a productive night, his 18 points were in the 1st half. The 2nd half was tough to watch, not just for him, but for the whole team. Everyone struggled offensively for the whole 2nd half.
R.J Barrett led the squad with 24 pts going for 8-for-17 along with Julius Randle‘s double double, 18 pts and 10 rebounds. Adding to that, 5 guys from their team had double digit points. Overall, the team shot 48.2% from the field and 40% from three-point range. Immanuel Quickley was a spark off the bench, started the game going 4/5 from three-point-range for 17 points. The Knicks are starting to emerge among the top guns of the east as off lately with Julius Randle is putting up some MVP numbers over their last few games.
Star of the Game
Excluding the second half, I would love to put a Hornets player out there. But in this game, I would give it up to R.J Barrett. He started off the game struggling to score, but the third was his best quarter relying on his three point shooting. Over the last three games, R.J has averaged 22 points and 4 rebounds per game with an efficient 54% three-point-percentage. With Randle leading the team, Barrett has been that second star the Knicks relied on. HIs improved play over the last consecutive days is one of the reasons the Knicks are in a winning streak.
As a fun fact, the Knicks’ current winning streak is the longest they’ve had in the last seven years.
In the 2019 NBA draft, one of the knocks scouts had on Barrett was his 3-point shooting. HIs efficiency during his rookie year in the league was rough with a 32% 3-point-field percentage. However, with the Knicks having a bounce back season, R.J Barrett has reminded us again why he was the 3rd overall pick. We hear names of Zion Williamson and Ja Morant as the top guns from their draft class. But with the continued improved play of Barrett, he might be not to off from from the level Williamson and Morant are right now. It should be noted that a lot of how we evaluate a player would play a lot from the Knicks’ success, but what is guaranteed right now is that Barrett’s future in this league is high
With Gordon Hayward out, Jalen McDaniels has been stepping up at the forward spot as of lately. With more minutes on his belt the past couple days, he has scored on double digits the past 3 games the Hornets played.
I don’t expect him to be getting most of the minutes whenever the team is full and healthy. But he’s still young at 23 years old. His thin frame still needs some work but at the positive, McDaniels will still play a lot of basketball. One thing to note of this league is that, it doesn’t get tired of tall wings who can play. McDaniels fits that category and he’ll eventually find his place in the future.
The third quarter for the Hornets has been the chink in the armor for most of their losses this season. A lot of guys form this game struggled when the Knicks picked up the intensity during the start of the third. Adding to that the past losses the Hornets had, I thought a lot more fire would be in place as the team went from fourth to eighth in the conference in a couple of weeks. Aside from that, I still believe the team’s frontcourt will be a big issue if not handled on already, Aside from Miles Bridges, the teams legit big men (Zeller and Biyombo) had a combined 2 rebounds in this match.
That pretty much explains it all I guess.
Relying the offensive workload on Rozier isn’t enough for them evidently from the losing streak the team went on. However, with the return of LaMelo Ball and Malik Monk now within sights, the team should get much needed help with their scoring options. The next few games are gonna be fun to watch.
The Charlotte Hornets will tackle the Chicago Bulls, April 22 6pm PST at Spectrum Center
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