All eyes were on Victor Wembanyama as the Spurs came to town, but the Knicks’ balanced attack took the spotlight early and never gave it back.

The Spurs came to town tonight in a battle of two teams entering the game with 3-4 records, but the talent disparity quickly showed itself. Victor Wembanyama might have been unimpressed by the size of the World’s Most Famous Arena but the lights sure seemed bright in his Madison Square Garden debut, as he struggled to get things going until the fourth quarter.

RJ Barrett and Quentin Grimes kicked the game off with eight points in two minutes, and the Knicks were rolling. The Knicks got out to a 13-0 start thanks to a well-balanced offensive effort.

All five starters scored between four and six points in the first quarter, and by the end of the opening period, eight of the nine Knicks to see the floor had scored. In what has been a theme this season, nothing came easy for Jalen Brunson or Julius Randle, but they put their heads down and made stuff happen. After a pretty take from Isaiah Hartenstein over Wemby, the Knicks went into the second with a 33-16 lead thanks to 5-9 shooting from three and a six-to-two lead in free throws.

The second quarter was more of the same. Quickley and I-Hart were absolute lightning off the bench, combining for 13 quick points four minutes into the second. A cold stretch hit in the middle of the second quarter, but Quickley’s scoring and the Knicks’ big man tandem of Hartenstein and Mitchell Robinson kept the energy from getting too stagnant. OAKAAK legend Doug McDermott was hitting shots, but he was just about the only one as the Spurs lacked any cohesion or confidence on the offensive end. Brunson was struggling to get anything to go late in the quarter when he hit three straight threes to push the lead to 17.

That said, there were cracks exposed, as the Spurs exploited the Knicks’ poor transition defense on multiple possessions. At the end of the first half, the Knicks led 65-51, led by Brunson and IQ, with 13 points each, and RJ’s 10. Perhaps most importantly, they held Wemby to just two points on 0-5 shooting, making him uncomfortable on both ends of the floor.

The Knicks came out firing with threes from RJ and Quentin Grimes and a foul-line jumper from Brunson, causing Gregg Popovich to take a timeout at the 9:41 mark. After that, Randle took over, scoring six quick points to push the lead to 26. There was a lid on the basket for San Antonio, thanks in part to luck and in part to the Knicks’ hustle and intensity on second and third efforts. Wemby hit his first field goal at the 3:17 mark, to polite jeers from the crowd. The Knicks couldn’t stop pouring it on, building their lead as high as 30 and ending the quarter up 99-72 thanks to 21 points on 13 shots from RJ and another 20 from Brunson.

In the fourth, the Spurs caught fire, starting out 9-10 to cut the lead to 14 with 7:00 to go. The Knicks looked ice cold and out of sorts after cruising through the first three quarters, but a good possession ending in a Randle three followed by a Randle slam off the nice RJ feed stemmed the bleeding, pushing the lead back to 19. Another Spurs run cut it back to 14, but Brunson stepped in to take his third charge against Doug McDermott and followed it up with a deep pull-up three in Wemby’s face, which killed whatever momentum the Spurs had built. The Knicks quickly built the lead back to 21 with 3:00 to go, prompting Pop to call a timeout and go to his deep bench. The rest was smooth sailing as they went on to win 126-105.

Jalen Brunson led the Knicks’ well-rounded offensive attack with 25 points and six assists, while RJ put in 24 with six assists of his own. Randle, despite some struggles controlling the ball, ended the game with 23 points, 16 rebounds, and five assists, while Quickley added 19 and five. Mitchell Robinson didn’t have any blocks but continued his elite rebounding season with eight points and 12 rebounds. The Knicks also tied their franchise record with a measly three turnovers in the game.

The Knicks reached .500 with their second straight win and will look to keep the momentum going on Sunday when they play host to the Hornets. Tip-off is 12:00pm Eastern.

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