From Peter Botte:
The Knicks face one of the NBA’s most daunting schedules for the remainder of the season, which only increased the importance of Saturday’s visit to Oklahoma City to help maintain their playoff positioning.
RJ Barrett netted a career-high 32 points as coach Tom Thibodeau’s team bounced back from a blowout loss Thursday in Milwaukee with a redemptive 119-97 win at Chesapeake Energy Arena over the undermanned Thunder for their 20th win of the season (20-19). The Knicks’ victory total represents one fewer win than they recorded all of last season, when they finished 21-45 under first David Fizdale and then Mike Miller, now a Thunder assistant coach.
“In Milwaukee, we weren’t really us, we didn’t really feel like we played as hard as we could,” said Barrett, who shot 12-for-21 from the floor, with three 3-pointers. “Today, we had to show who we are and be tough at both ends of the floor.”
All-Star forward Julius Randle had endured his worst game of the season with only seven points in Thursday’s loss to the Bucks, but Saturday he posted his second triple-double of the season with 26 points, 12 rebounds and a career-best 12 assists. That made him the first Knick to post multiple triple-doubles in one season since Mark Jackson in 1988-89.
Great win. They really needed this and they got it, which I think is a real testament to Thibs’ “Every game is Game 7” mentality, where the Knicks never take games off.
Two tough games after this on Monday and Tuesday but, A. The Nets are bound to lose a game and they almost lost to the Pistons and B. The Sixers are playing without Joel Embiid, and he had recently moved ahead of Lebron in MVP odds, so, well, that’s obviously a big loss for them.
Imagine if they could take both of those games!!