The Knicks kicked off a brutal week by blowing out the Hornets 129-107 at Madison Square Garden for their third straight win.

What an offensive game it was for the New York Knicks. They shot 54% from the field and 41.7% from three as ball movement proved to be key, assisting on 25 of their 47 made field goals. Jalen Brunson, RJ Barrett, and Julius Randle each scored at least 20 points for the Knicks with 20, 24, and 23 respectively, fueling the Knicks’ offense to victory. Mitchell Robinson and Immanuel Quickley also finished in double figures, playing extremely efficient basketball to power the Knicks to the finish line.

As Julius Randle’s ankle has continued to improve, so has the Knicks’ offense. Randle has finally found his shot in recent games, and the start of this game followed that pattern. He scored the Knicks’ first 5 points on a turnaround and a three-pointer. His start to the game on offense was infectious, as New York shot 50.0% from the field and 57.1% from downtown to open the quarter. It was really great to see the Knicks clicking early on offense, but their defense allowed the Hornets to shoot 55% from the field during the first quarter. Charlotte rookie Brandon Miller was feeling it early on in this game, scoring 11 quick points. On one of Miller’s drives to the basket, he stepped on Josh Hart’s foot and rolled his ankle, which forced him to sit out for the remainder of the game.

Towards the end of the quarter, Jalen Brunson really started to find his rhythm, scoring nine points in less than two minutes from two three-pointers and a three-point play driving to the basket. Brunson finished the quarter and continued to set the tone that Julius Randle initiated, and the rest of the team ultimately followed. The Knicks found a cushion late in the quarter, as RJ scored an and-one off a right-handed layup before Immanuel Quickley knocked down a step-back three as time expired to give New York a 32-25 lead after 12 minutes of play.

In the second quarter, the Knicks built off their late first-quarter execution and continued to run up the score on the Hornets. RJ took the lead at first, driving in for a strong layup followed by a three-pointer off the feed from IQ. Although Randle did not do too much in terms of scoring in the second quarter, he did a great job of getting others involved, finding Quickley for three and Robinson on the inside for a layup. Mitchell Robinson was very active on the offensive glass, as Charlotte had no choice but to foul him on a couple of occasions simply because of Robinson’s strength and leaping ability. He had a quiet 10 points and eight rebounds, five of which were offensive. With frequent activity on the interior and exterior, the Knicks found themselves up 10 points against the Hornets at the half, 64-54. Defensive execution was much better in the second quarter, but attention to detail will be crucial to winning the second half and ensuring the victory.

New York came out of the locker room with ferocity, going on an 18-7 run to give them a 22-point advantage, their largest lead of the afternoon. After not doing too much on the offensive end and spending most of his time guarding LaMelo Ball, the Knicks finally gave Quentin Grimes some touches on offense, and he capitalized with threes on back-to-back possessions. While the Knicks shined on the offensive end, it was their defense that really set them apart from the Hornets in the third quarter. Forcing turnovers and getting extra chances on the offensive glass, the Knicks were taking advantage of the Hornet’s offensive mistakes and generating points as a result.

Julius Randle had a fantastic third quarter, essentially attacking the basket at will for 12 third-quarter points. He did most of his damage towards the end of the quarter when he was signaling to get subbed out. Despite being tired, he scored two and-ones in less than a minute to further extend the Knicks’ lead after the Hornets went on an 8-0 run midway through the third. The Knicks’ pace throughout the game was fantastic and it was difficult for Charlotte to play to their speed, especially once the bench was subbed in and fresh legs continued to run the Hornets down. After 36 minutes of play, the Knicks had a commanding 99-79 lead. With the way they played this afternoon on both ends of the floor, especially the way they shot from downtown, it becomes difficult for Charlotte to initiate a comeback.

The fourth quarter of play was a relatively quiet one as the Knicks continued their scoring prowess, scoring 17 points in the first 6 minutes of the final quarter, led by RJ once again. Barrett’s three-point shooting was fantastic, hitting two threes during this stretch, putting him at 3-of-5 from distance for the game. He is now shooting 20-for-40 from downtown for the season, a perfect 50% clip thus far through 9 games. He was eventually subbed out, as the Knicks wanted to rest him given their large lead and their game the following day versus the Boston Celtics. Regardless of who was out there on the floor for New York, they all played quality minutes, which helped them extend their lead to 29, their largest lead of the game. When it was all said and done, the Knicks handled the Hornets, 129-107 to put them back over .500 for the first time this season.

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