Julius Randle and RJ Barrett were Everything Everywhere All at Once against the Lakers on Oscar night, as the Knicks won their 40th game.
While the Academy Awards were happening across the street, Julius Randle and RJ Barrett were stealing the show at Crypto.com arena. Both players stepped up in the absence of Jalen Brunson to carry the team to victory against the Lakers. Randle finished with 33 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists, while Barrett added 30 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists. The Knicks shot 47.4% from the field as a team.
Outside of Barrett and Randle, Miles McBride, Isaiah Hartenstein, and Josh Hart all made winning plays in the second half to help propel the Knicks, be it diving for a loose ball, setting a hard screen, or playing hard defense. As far as plus-minus goes, McBride, Hartenstein, and Hart led the team with +15, +19, and +13, respectively. Check out Miles McBride jumping the passing lanes and slamming it down on the other end:
It was great to see Randle get back into a rhythm tonight after shooting 5-for-24 from the field yesterday. He remained patient throughout the game and didn’t force shots—getting his teammates looks when they weren’t there. Randle scored 18 points in the first quarter alone to set the tone for the Knicks. Take a look at this statement slam from the lone Knick All-Star:
Randle’s leadership and confidence was the driving force in a bounce back game from just a day prior. This is not the Julius Randle we saw just over twenty four hours ago.
RJ Barrett was the other Knick star of the night. Though only 12-of-27 from the field overall, his slashing on the inside really did numbers on the Lakers, especially late in the game. Barrett scored 13 points in the fourth quarter alone, cushioning the lead as the Lakers tried to rally late. Despite RJ shooting a brutal 1-for-8 from downtown, his lone three from the night couldn’t have come at a better time:
Immanuel Quickley also stepped up in a big way for the Knicks. While he wasn’t the focal point of the offense tonight, he scored in a timely fashion and finished with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field. He played an important role helping defend the perimeter, limiting outside Laker shots. Most importantly, he got buckets for the Knicks when the team needed them, similar to Brunson. Up just 3 points near the end of the first half, check out this tough bucket from Quickley to extend their lead:
Although Julius Randle had a hot start to this game to push out the Knicks’ lead by as much as 10, the Lakers got into their groove and close the gap toward the end of the first quarter. By the second quarter, the game was neck-and-neck, as New York and Los Angeles exchanged countless buckets, with both teams battling hard. The Lakers did all they could to keep it a close one, but RJ Barrett and the Knicks went on a 13-3 run with just over 9 minutes remaining.
With under 3 minutes remaining, LA made one final run to cut the lead back down, scoring a couple of quick two-point baskets to reach within two points with just 19.1 seconds remaining. Coming off a quick basket from Dennis Schroder, the Knicks wisely inbounded the ball and played keep-away, wasting as much time as possible before Josh Hart was fouled with 5 seconds remaining. Calmly stepping to the line, Hart went 2-for-2 to extend the lead to four. The Knicks never looked back and snapped their 3-game losing streak to win their 40th game of the season.
The New York Knicks (40-30) head to the Moda Center on Tuesday night to face Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers in their final game of a four-game road trip. Tipoff is 10 PM EST.
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