The ghost of Knicks point guard past came back to haunt the garden, but the Knicks got the last laugh in an overtime thriller.
The Knicks (3-1) eked out another win to make it three straight after facing a hobbled Charlotte Hornets (2-2) looking to solidify their rotation before star Lamelo Ball returns from an ankle injury. Both teams were humming on offense tonight, with six Knicks scoring in double digits.
PROTECTED THE GARDEN. JALEN BRUNSON IS NEW YORK’S FAVORITE POINT GUARD. SEE Y’ALL ON FRIDAY. pic.twitter.com/mw4snGh0gq— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) October 27, 2022
Our 120 million dollar man RJ Barrett looked good, notching 22 points and 8 rebounds. With Jalen Brunson and a rejuvenated Julius Randle running the offense early in the shot clock, Barrett has seen a lot of looks in the right corner coming off drive-and-kicks. Those corner three touches shrink the floor for Barrett, whose best ability is getting a head of steam driving into the paint. Tonight looked reminiscent of last year as Barrett was able to operate in space and get downhill.
The game went down to the wire, but Jalen Brunson was yet again the adult in the room. Hitting timely buckets and finding open teammates, JB prevented the Hornets from opening up their lead as New york battled back for overtime. When the game carried into the extra frame, both teams started to show fatigue. But more heroics were yet to come from Brunson, who scored 27 to go with a career-high 13 assists and sealed the win.
HES. SO. GOOD!!! pic.twitter.com/r3DywDBtID— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) October 27, 2022
The centerpiece of the Kristaps Porzingis trade (alongside two money bags full of cap relief) and current Charlotte Hornet Dennis Smith Jr looked good again tonight. Smith Jr. continued his impressive play as of late with a double-double, 14 points and 11 assists. Coming off the heels of a great game in Atlanta, Smith may finally be figuring out his niche in the League. The jumper looks much better for DSJ, but what’s most surprising is his newfound defense, nabbing 2 steals tonight.
The conversation is growing around who should be the starting five for the Knicks. With Isaiah Hartenstein’s play so far this season, the seat has grown a little hotter for current starter Mitchell Robinson. Hart has been dominant on the boards, averaging 7.75 compared to Robinson’s 5.25 rebound average, which is a welcome sight as the Knicks are in the bottom third of the league in rebounding. The hustle and energy from Hartenstein stands out, but Mitch’s six blocks tonight will quiet any questions about who should be starting for now.
ARE YOU DUMB?!? THATS MITCHELL ROBINSON STUPID!!!! pic.twitter.com/xCHnkGjKQI— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) October 27, 2022
So what will Thibs’ 10-man rotation look like once second-year guard Quentin Grimes returns from a somewhat ominous foot injury? With Cam Reddish now getting consistent minutes, the fourth-year man is showing his value in transition, which fits perfectly with the fast-paced second unit. With more offensive consistency and defensive effort, the 6’8 Reddish may not be the player benched once Grimes returns. The question then becomes who? It would be a surprise to see Thibs break his unbending 10-man rotation. Is it possible an older veteran gets shopped or benched to make room for the 23-year-old forward?
While there are riddles aplenty for the Knicks to figure out, at least one has definitively been answered: that of who will be the Knicks’ point guard of the future.
»Read: RJ Barrett can move the needle
»Read: 2o22-23 statline predictions