The New York Knicks were down by six late against the Indiana Pacers. It was a game in which they couldn’t buy a three-point bucket for the most part. They also gave up a critical offensive rebound leading to a Pacers three. They committed a brutal turnover in the final minute.
Naturally, the Knicks stormed back to win, LOL. Perhaps this is just the way things are now? I legitimately have no idea. The facts tell me that the Knicks won, 109-106, for their seventh game in a row. But facts have little place in a world where the New York Knickerbockers grit out ugly wins in the final minutes. Nothing makes sense anymore.
I know one thing, for certain: The Knicks won that game because they had Jalen Brunson. It was one of those back-and-forth NBA battles when the team with the best player usually prevails. The nerds and their precious stats would probably tell you that Indiana’s Tyrese Haliburton was the best player coming into this game. Brunson made a statement down the stretch, though. His statement:
“I’m the best ever. I’m the most brutal and vicious, and most ruthless champion there’s ever been. There’s no one can stop me. [Haliburton] is a conqueror? No, I’m Alexander, he’s no Alexander. I’m the best ever. There’s never been anybody as ruthless. I’m Sonny Liston, I’m Jack Dempsey. There’s no one like me. I’m from their cloth. There’s no one that can match me. My style is impetuous, my defense is impregnable, and I’m just ferocious. I want your heart. I want to eat his children.”
Maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration, but you cannot argue that, when the Knicks needed him most, Brunson’s style was impetuous.
And his defense was impregnable.
From there, the Knicks were carried to victory by six massive clutch free throws from Julius Randle. He almost threw the first Bulls game away with his dumbass iso-ball attempts at the end of regulation, but he made up for it by nailing all of his free throws when the pressure was on — something that plagued him last season. He also played some tough defense switched onto Haliburton in the final minute.
The Knicks survived a game in which they were outscored by 15 points from beyond the arc. They only hit eight threes all game, but two of them — the Brunson shot and a three from Quentin Grimes — were massive. Sometimes it’s not about how many you hit; it’s about when you hit them.
- Grimes only took three shots in this one, plus four free-throw attempts. That feels light. Part of that is Grimes’ fault — he’s still a bit unsure of when to shoot and when to attack the close-outs. He’ll get his feel back, though.
- RJ Barrett’s game was somewhat emblematic of the Knicks’ offense as a whole. He couldn’t buy a three to save his life (0-5), but he still finished with an efficient 24 points on 10-19 shooting. The big three of RJ, Randle (25 points) and Brunson (30 points) absolutely carried them tonight.
- Remember when a massive segment of Knicks fans wanted to trade Mitchell Robinson for Myles Turner? Mitch absolutely owned Turner, who shot 2-8 from beyond the arc en route to six points and eight rebounds. Meanwhile, Robinson’s decidedly old-school approach to the center position produced 10 points on 4-5 shooting, 13 rebounds and four blocks. Turner has been putting up some incredible numbers so far this season, but Mitch’s game fits the Knicks like a glove right now.
- It was another offensive slog for Immanuel Quickley. I believe he will pull out of his slump, but I wish he’d do it soon.
- Thibs’ fascination with the Isaiah Hartenstein-Jericho Sims frontcourt didn’t look so great in the second half. It sucks, because Sims is actually playing really well. But with IQ struggling so much offensively, there’s just not enough scoring punch in that lineup.
As P&T’er foiegrasstyle noted, there are an abundance of magnificent feels and vibes in Knicksland at the moment. Let’s make it eight on Tuesday!