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Knicks 133, Grizzlies 129 (OT): Scenes from RJ Barrett, top 25 under 25 in our hearts

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RJ put the team on his back late.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at New York Knicks Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks had no answer for the Memphis Grizzlies for most of Friday night’s contest. To make matters worse, RJ Barrett and Julius Randle were ice cold from the field. RJ could only muster 5 points on 2-7 shooting through the first 43 minutes. It looked like yet another defeat for a Knicks team rapidly circling the toilet bowl.

But the Knicks were buoyed in the fourth by the play of Immanuel Quickley, who finally earned some big minutes. And when the Grizzlies blinked late in the fourth, RJ was there to steal a victory from the hands of defeat, scoring 15 points in the final 3:00 and overtime as the Knicks walked away with a critical win.

This one sort of got away from New York early, as the starters looked completely uninterested in competing in an NBA basketball game. Derrick Rose helped keep the game close in the first half as Elfrid Payton (thankfully) picked up two early fouls.

But the Knicks couldn’t couldn’t close the gap, and Tom Thibodeau finally got sick of the starters in the fourth quarter. IQ helped close the gap a bit, and Thibs mercifully kept Elf on the bench, riding late with a lineup of IQ, RJ, Alec Burks, Randle and Taj Gibson. The Knicks mounted a charge, and RJ drew a clutch three-point foul on Dillon Brooks, who is super annoying. The kid knocked down all three free throws, and the game was tired.

Unfortunately, Thibs drew up yet another Randle iso possession at the end of the game with the Grizzlies up one. Randle bricked it, and Jonas Valanciunas had two free throws with 15.5 seconds left. Enter: Rowan Jr.

Notice RJ casually brushed aside Ja Morant, who was selected one spot ahead of him in the 2019 draft. It’s no longer a two-player draft, is it?

In overtime, RJ and Burks buried the Grizzlies with timely buckets. Burks wasn’t particularly good through four quarters, but he was nails in OT.

My esteemed colleague, Mr. Benny Buckets, opined this afternoon that RJ wasn’t getting enough respect. Maybe he’ll get it after this performance.

Recap to come.