The Knicks snapped a two-game losing streak and ended their five-game road trip with a 129-119 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night.
Here are the takeaways…
– RJ Barrett Driven by Luguentz Dort and threw an aggressive dunk early on, then Quentin Grimes stole the ball on a bad pass and took it to the rim for an easy lay-up, giving the Knicks a 13-8 lead three minutes into the game. Grimes got his second foul with 7:05 left in the first and was forced to sit out.
Barrett turned it over on back-to-back possessions, as Jalen Williams hit a three to put the Thunder up, 30-29. Emmanuel Quickley found Obi Toppin for three, then came back with his own deep shot to give them a four-point lead. Barrett finished with another basket to give him nine points on 4-for-4 shooting, as the Knicks shot 65.2 percent in the first and led 38-34.
– Miles McBride got his second steal in the quarter and scored on a layup to put the Knicks up, 46-41. Jalen Brunson hit Grimes on the backdoor for an easy dunk, then came back with a midrange jumper midway through the second quarter. Julius Randle began to find a rhythm, using his height advantage to make back-to-back jumpers and put the Knicks up, 58-44. Randle and Brunson continued to pace the Knicks, while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander did his best to keep OKC in the game by reaching the foul line.
– Barrett connected with Sims of Jericho for an electric alley-oop jam to close the half. Randle led the team with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, Barrett and Quickley both had 12 points, and Brunson scored 11 points as the Knicks shot 55.8 percent in halftime to lead 69-58. SGA and Dort combined 25 points to lead the Thunder.
– With the Thunder in zone defense, Brunson found Michael Robinson on the roll for a big alley-oop dunk to go up 77-60 as their lead continued to grow. After a few missed shots, Dort grabbed an offensive rebound and scored easily, forcing a frustrated Tom Thibodeau to call time out with his team until just 11. Sleeps and Josh Giddey began to heat up and reduce the Knicks’ lead to single digits. Brunson bailed out the offense with a half-range shot and hit another from the foul line on the next possession to make it an 87-79 game.
Isaiah Hartenstein dismissed SGA to the edge on two consecutive possessions, then the crafty guard and Quickley traded baskets late in the quarter. New York led OKC, 98-87, heading for fourth.
– Brunson pushed the Knicks lead to 11 early in the fourth, forcing OKC to call timeout and regroup. Quickley hit his fourth three-pointer of the night, Barrett scored after catching his own foul and Randle hit a corner three to extend the Knicks’ lead to 17 points with less than seven minutes left. OKC didn’t give up, as the Thunder cut the lead to 10 points, but Brunson came right back with two straight buckets to give them 33 points on the night.
The Sims grabbed another huge alley-oop from Brunson, and the PG then connected with Barrett for another alley-oop to go up 125-111 with 1:22 remaining. Despite a big effort from the Thunder, the Knicks held on to win by 10.
– Brunson finished with a season-high 34 points on 14-of-20 shooting with eighth assists and just two turnovers. Randle and Barrett both scored 25 points on good shooting nights, and Quickley scored 18 off the bench, including 4 of 5 from beyond the arc.
The Knicks get the next three days off and will face the Portland Trail Blazers on Black Friday, Nov. 25, at 4:30 p.m. at Madison Square Garden.
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