One talking point throughout this season for the New York Knicks has been their inability and inconsistency to hit shots from deep. For the season, New York is in the bottom 20 in three-point percentage. This has been troubling, considering they are in the top ten for three-point attempts per game. When it comes to makes per game, they do a little better, ranking in the top 15 of the league.
A lot of the poor stats were due to a poor start this season, so it doesn’t always tell the whole story.
The shooting has started to progress in recent months. In 11 February games, the Knicks were tenth in three-point percentage while taking the seventh most attempts per game. This was highlighted by Jalen Brunson shooting 42.6 percent, Immanuel Quickley hitting 41.3 percent, and new acquisition Josh Hart knocking down 63.2 percent of his attempts in six games.
New York would finish the month 9-2 and on a six-game win streak. In those six games, they hit more threes than five of their six opponents and outrebounded five of their six opponents. They would also finish sixth in rebounds per game during February. Three-point shooting and rebounding are two pillars of the Knicks’ 2022-23 season.
To start March, they hit 20/35 threes to crush the Brooklyn Nets, followed by hitting 17/41 to defeat the Miami Heat, then splashed another 15 in the double overtime win in TD Garden against the Boston Celtics. Boston would hit 21 from deep, ending the Knicks’ four-game streak of hitting more three-pointers than their opponent.
The highlight of the Knicks’ recent win streak was an electric step-back three by Julius Randle to beat the Miami Heat and extend it to eight games:
JULIUS RANDLE SENDS THE HEAT PACKING WITH A HUGE CLUTCH 3!!!!! GAME OVER!!! pic.twitter.com/Xpro1NhVH0— Knicks Fan TV (@KnicksFanTv) March 4, 2023
Though Randle isn’t shooting over 40 percent from deep like he did in 2020-21, he’s improved from 30.8 last season to over 35 percent this season. It’s been an impressive jump given he’s taken almost three more attempts from three per game this season compared to last.
The streak ends against the Charlotte Hornets:
It was going to happen eventually, and it’s actually kind of fitting the streak ended against the 21-46 Charlotte Hornets who sit 14th in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks shot just 11/40 (28%) from three, which was their lowest percentage in the last ten games. Charlotte only hit 12/32 (32%) themselves. They also surprisingly got outrebounded 42-39, very Un-Knicks-like. All-star forward Julius Randle scored 16 points on 5/17 shooting, his lowest scoring output in the last ten games. The Knicks anchor averaged 29.5 points during the nine-game win streak.
Point guard Jalen Brunson also missed his second straight game due to a foot injury.
The recent win streak was incredible and should have fans hopeful for the team’s future. Maybe the shooting was unsustainable, but there has been a steady progression for a few months now that should suggest New York has turned a corner. The Knicks have been in the top three for offensive rating and top ten for defensive rating over their last ten games. This team not only competes hard on both ends, but also has two legit closers in Randle and Brunson. Additionally, RJ Barrett, Josh Hart, and Immanuel Quickley are all capable of taking and making big shots.
Streaks are meant to end like they did Tuesday night, but once one streak ends, there’s always the opportunity for a new one to start.
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