It was a weird game Wednesday night in the Windy City, and the Knicks damn near blew a 19-point lead, but eventually they did pull out a 107-103 win.
The Knicks got off to a blazing start, leading by 17-point lead thanks to three consecutive triples from Julius Randle and 10 points from the much-maligned Elfrid Payton. Elf was crashing the boards (7 rebounds in the quarter) and Chicago’s Coby White was basically laying out a red carpet for him to get to the rim.
The quarter was a mixed blessing for Knicks fans, as Elf’s resurgence meant fewer minutes for Immanuel Quickley, who only played 13 minutes total. He did help stem a Chicago charge in the third quarter.
Let IQ play the whole 4th quarter challenge pic.twitter.com/ibdqFc7fdC— The Quickland (@TheStrickland) February 4, 2021
But Thibs went back to Elf early in the fourth, and Chicago continued to chip into the lead until it was down to just 3 points. Fortunately, Julius Randle was still around to right the ship. Randle had 27 points, including a career-high 5 three-pointers, but his biggest moment of the night was a pass to Reggie Bullock.
I was going to SCREAM if Reggie missed this. Great look from Randle and big shot from Reggie. pic.twitter.com/1OXrfwz2Hx— The Knicks Wall (@TheKnicksWall) February 4, 2021
Julius also scored a late bucket to keep the Bulls at bay.
But in the end, the story of the game will probably be Elf. He scored 20 points on 19 shots. Good? Not really.
In my experience, red means stop— The Quickland (@TheStrickland) February 4, 2021
Elfrid Payton’s shot chart: pic.twitter.com/qyOkxyUEox
But it’ll probably be good enough to keep him in the starting lineup for another month, at least. MSG is already laying laurels at Elf’s feet.
If @elfrid can play like this more consistently there will no longer be much debate about who should start at PG for @nyknicks Coach Thibs likes the balance with @IQ_GodSon on second unit @MSGNetworks @KnicksMSGN— Bill Pidto (@BillPidto) February 4, 2021
Still, a win is a win. Let’s get some more of them. And more minutes for IQ, please.
Recap to come.