The Knicks handled P.J. Washington and Terry Rozier in the second half—only 31 points allowed—to take home their seventh straight victory.
A second-half rally from the New York Knicks (32-27) enabled them to conquer the Charlotte Hornets (28-29) on Tuesday, 109-97. This victory extends New York’s current win streak to seven, their largest of the season to this point. It was an affair that heavily featured the three-point shot—both teams combined for 34 treys and shot them with excellent accuracy to boot. New York went 18-for-45 (40%) from deep while the Hornets saw 16 of their 39 threes (41%) find the bottom of the net.
P.J. Washington led the way on offense for a depleted Hornets squad, dropping 26 points in 35 minutes off the pine. The Knicks, on the other hand, received scoring contributions from up and down the lineup, as five players tallied at least 16. R.J. Barrett topped all New Yorkers with 24.
Immanuel Quickley is back
Over the past five games heading into tonight, Quickley averaged just 5.2 points in 12 minutes per game. There were indications that the neophyte finally hit the rookie wall—his shot wasn’t falling, and his minutes evaporated as a result. However, the Kentucky product put much of the qualms surrounding his recent play to rest with perhaps one of his best performances as an NBA player.
In a game where All-Star Julius Randle didn’t perform up to par for his standards, the Knicks received a much-needed scoring punch from their first-year playmaker. Quickley’s first half stood out as particularly spectacular—he scored 17 points in 12 minutes and nailed five of his six shots, including all but one of four three-pointers. But it wasn’t just the stat sheet that highlighted Quickley’s resurgent play—he produced with the palpable swagger and bravado that’s been noticeably absent during the past few weeks.
Such a standout night for Quickley should do wonders for his confidence. Youngsters are prone to get caught up in mental gymnastics regarding sub-par shooting stretches—props to the rookie for rebounding from a rough stretch scoring-wise. Additionally, Quickley’s torching of the Hornets undoubtedly caught the attention of Tom Thibodeau as well. It’s reasonable to presume Quickley will see an uptick in playing time. Here’s to hoping the Knicks enter the stretch run of this season with their rookie at the top of his game.
Bounce-back second half from R.J. Barrett
At the halftime break, Barrett was in a rut. Shooting 1-for-8 from the field in the first two quarters, he could not find the range from inside or out—the Canadian fired up several airballs that likely gave Knicks fans flashbacks of his early-season hardships. With that said, Barrett is a different player than he was back in December or January, a notion accentuated by how he performed in the third quarter.
Barrett singlehandedly guided New York to a fruitful third period in which they handily outscored Charlotte 31-16. Of New York’s 31 points, Barrett himself accounted for 18—or 56% of them. Just twelves minutes removed from a paltry 1-for-8 showing, he was up to 21 points while connecting on seven of his 15 attempts. Barrett’s three-level scoring chops came alive to devastate the Hornets—he buried just about everything he looked at, from standstill threes to pull-up mid-rangers.
6/7 with 18 points in the 3Q
RJ Barrett 🔥 pic.twitter.com/y78F0zNDY6
— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) April 21, 2021
As is the case with most pros too young to drink alcohol, consistency is an area of focus and improvement for Barrett. The spells of inefficiency must become few and far between for All-Star nods to come his way. Despite this, Barrett’s late-game heroics are a glimpse at the kind of player he is trending toward and can become. A game-changing, Swiss Army knife offensive creator able to shoulder the scoring load and lead his team to wins.
The Knicks are back at it tomorrow at home again with the Atlanta Hawks in town.