RJ Barrett continued his hot streak as the Knicks took down the Mavericks for the fourth win over their last five games.

NEW YORK, N.Y. — As the New York Knicks seem to finally transition into a groove as a team, RJ Barrett has been a fulcrum on both the offensive and defensive ends. He led the team with 32 points on Wednesday night to go along with seven rebounds and two assists in the win against the Dallas Mavericks.

Barrett has scored an average of 24.5 points over the team’s last seven games, appearing far more as an aggressor with the ball in his hands rather than a wing waiting for things to happen around him. Scoring 30 points for the second consecutive game, he becomes the youngest player in Knicks history to do so.

“RJ is steady. He never gets too high, he never gets too low,” said head coach Tom Thibodeau on Barrett’s recent stretch. “He’s putting a lot of extra work in right now. He’s coming back in at night and I think that’s a big factor.”

He spoke highly on his starting unit as a whole on a night where they all scored in double figures. “Our starters were fantastic. That may have been the best game of the year for our starters,” Thibodeau added.

Barrett went 13-of-22 from the field on the night, including 4-for-7 from three-point range. The majority of his shots that weren’t three-pointers were hard-nosed looks inside the arc, with 15 of them coming within the paint. His others often showed flair, using a variety of dribble moves and deception to create space for himself.

“I tried to read what the game was giving me, and we were getting stops and able to run out,” said Barrett following the win, good for New York’s fifth straight at the Garden. “So it’s a lot less pressure, a lot less halfcourt defense. It’s a lot more fun that way.” 

Defensively, Barrett was instrumental on a night where Dallas’ top options, Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson, were held to just 35 combined points on 40% shooting. Barrett recorded a team-high 40 minutes and only three opponents scored in double figures. Overall, it was one of the best defensive efforts from the Knicks on the season as they forced 12 turnovers and only allowed the Mavericks to shoot 41% from the field.

“Our starters are playing well, and our bench is playing well, and you need everyone and you have to play for 48 minutes,” said Thibodeau on the team’s flow as of late as their record is now at 21-21. “So we’re still striving to do that, but I think we’re strong now and getting a lot stronger on both sides of the ball.”

Barrett echoed that sentiment. “I think we’re going to find success if we continue to do the little things and just continue to work and be consistent throughout the rest of the season. As long as we do that, we’ll put ourselves in a good position.” 

The Knicks will look for their third consecutive win and their fifth in their last six games this Saturday with an away game against the Atlanta Hawks.


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