From Peter Bolle:
If the Knicks plan to make a serious and upward move in the Eastern Conference standings, Friday night’s game began the favorable stretch for them to do so.
And their furious comeback in a 133-129 overtime victory over the Grizzlies at the Garden might just serve as the springboard.
Leading scorers Julius Randle and RJ Barrett were mostly invisible for three quarters, but the duo combined for 23 points in the fourth quarter and overtime as the Knicks overcame a late 13-point hole. Their frantic comeback enabled the Knicks to win the first of an 11-game stretch in which they will play nine times in front of their home fans.
Randle didn’t manage his first field goal until 3:16 remained in the third quarter, but he finished with 15 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for his fifth triple-double of the season.
Barrett managed just five points through three quarters, but he netted 15 the rest of the way, including a game-tying drive late in regulation and a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:15 remaining in overtime.
Alec Burks scored nine of his 19 points in the extra session, Immanuel Quickley finished with 20 points and Derrick Rose added 19 points off the bench for the Knicks (26-27), who had lost five of their previous six games to fall to the eighth playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
That was one hell of a win. That was the sort of statement win that we’ve been hoping to see from the Knicks for literally months now and they pulled it off with a remarkable comeback late in the fourth and then an excellent fourth quarter.
One of the most important things in the game to me was Immanuel Quickley having such a good time. He’s been in such a shooting slump lately and as a result, Thibs has been giving him very few minutes (just 13 minutes in the last Knicks game) and so seeing him play well and get 31 minutes was outstanding.
RJ, of course, was also extremely clutch in this one (while the Grizzlies choked like crazy on their free throws late in the game). Best win the Knicks have had since….hmmm….let’s say when they kicked the Celtics’ ass in Boston back on…January 17th?? Dang, it’s been a while. They also had a good win against Golden State a week after that Boston game, maybe that should be the pick. In any event, the important thing is that it was a hell of a win and the Knicks have a chance to get back to .500 on Sunday and truly put the Toronto Raptors out commission. The Pacers won, though, which means that they remain tied with the Knicks in the loss column (but the Bulls lost, dropping them two games behind the Knicks in the loss column). Remaining in at least 8th is huge. It’d be nice to get to the 6th seed (Berman had a good bit the other day where he explained the play-in tournament to Rose, who had no idea how it worked as he said he stopped paying attention to basketball during the Bubble since Detroit was out of it and Rose was, like, “Okay, so we’ll just get the sixth seed then”), but they need that seventh or eighth seed. No one wants to play back-to-back “win or go home” games.
As an aside, the Charlotte Hornets continue to play well after the losses of LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward, and the Bell thing makes sense, since Terry Rozier has been so good, but it’s shocking how much they are not missing Hayward. However, I was seeing how Jalen McDaniels starts for them at power forward. How in the world are you naming your two sons Jalen and Jaden? Come on, Will McDaniels! It’s not even like they’re twins and you’re looking for cutesy matching names!