Strong defense from the Knicks along with clanking three-point attempts from the Nets buoyed a win for the ‘Bockers in Brooklyn.
The New York Knicks (8-24) beat the Brooklyn Nets (16-14) for the first time this season in three attempts, defeating them 94-82 at the Barclays Center. The Knicks held the Nets to season lows in points and field goal percentage (26.9%).
New York started from behind when Spencer Dinwiddie scored eight points in the first five minutes to put Brooklyn up early. The Knicks went on a 15-2 run over the last seven minutes of the first quarter to go up by nine.
The opening quarter wasn’t pretty for either team; New York shot 35% from the field while Brooklyn shot just 21%. The theme of poor shooting continued throughout the contest.
The Nets tied the game five minutes into the second quarter, letting the Knicks score just four points in the span. The teams went back and forth with the lead before a Marcus Morris jumper with 1:28 left in the first half gave the ‘Bockers a lead they would keep the rest of the way.
The Knicks jumped out to a 17-point lead halfway through the third quarter and went up by as much as 23. Elfrid Payton, starting at point guard, scored 11 in the third quarter, converting on 4-of-5 two-point shots in the paint. Marcus Morris chipped in 11 of his own, too, in that frame. New York led by 18 entering the fourth quarter and didn’t let up.
The Nets hunted three-pointers all game. They were able to generate open looks but couldn’t capitalize enough on them. They shot 13-of-50 from deep and made just eight two-pointers. Frank Ntilikina and Mitchell Robinson led the way for New York defensively; their ferocity made life much harder for Brooklyn’s offense.
“Nope.” – Mitch pic.twitter.com/8Cpbojq94o— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) December 27, 2019
Spencer Dinwiddie led the way for Brooklyn, scoring 25 points on 5-of-15 field goal shooting. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarro was second on the team in scoring with 10 points, while former Knick DeAndre Jordan, Joe Harris, and Rodions Kurucs scored eight points apiece.
Julius Randle scored a game-high 33 points and added eight rebounds. Morris recorded 22 points and eight rebounds while Payton recorded 13 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Robinson recorded 10 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks off the bench.
MITCHELL ROBINSON?!???!!!??????? pic.twitter.com/yFDaYU0OZR— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) December 27, 2019
Answering a wake-up call
Knicks players cited a lack of focus as a reason for the embarrassing loss to the shorthanded Washington Wizards in their last contest. At the top of the broadcast, MSG Network’s Rebecca Haarlow mentioned there was a new sense of energy amongst the team.
Haarlow reported that the loss to Washington and spending some time off with family for Christmas served as a reset button. Although tonight was a dominant win, New York still has plenty more work to do.
The Knicks shot just 40% from the field and 31% from behind the arc. Their offense was still overly comprised of isolations and post-ups with no second looks. New York also didn’t look to run the fast break at all. They pushed the pace more in the second half but rarely tried to score before the defense was set up.
The Knicks were at their worst in some categories tonight. They committed 27 fouls, which ranks tied for sixth most for the team this season. They shot just 15 free throws, which ranks tied for fourth fewest this season.
Tonight was a solid bounce-back effort, but there’s still lots of work to do for this Knicks squad.
Randle rules again
Julius Randle put on another strong showing after dropping a season-high 35 points on Monday. This time he scored 33 points on 14-for-26 shooting from the field and 5-for-9 shooting from behind the arc.
Randle scored New York’s first seven points of the game on his way to scoring 12 in the first quarter and 17 by halftime.
Post toasties pic.twitter.com/qyDkTgV7sQ— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) December 27, 2019
Five made triples is a new career-high for Randle. He matched his career-high in made three-pointers by halftime, shooting 4-for-5 behind the arc. He made his fifth a minute and a half into the second half. All of his makes were assisted as well.
If Randle wants to keep being good that would be really cool pic.twitter.com/1xXjveveAL— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) December 27, 2019
Just like in the last game, Randle didn’t bring the ball up. He even pointed to the point guard on the floor when his teammates looked to pass to him after grabbing the defensive board.
This hot showing came at the cost of any kind of passing or ball movement. Randle’s tunnel vision was perhaps the part of his game most displayed. He recorded two assists but still looked to shoot or post up just about every time he got the ball.
Randle’s hot shooting lifted the Knicks tonight, making it the first time he scored 30 points in back-to-back games as a Knick.
New York’s next game, their final game of 2019, is in D.C. against the Wizards Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. ET.
»READ: How the Knicks can break Mitchell Robinson’s struggles
»LISTEN: Knicks Quick Hitters podcast: New York cruises past Nets
»WATCH: Julius Randle steadies offense amid cold Nets shooting