After letting up 145 points in a loss in front of their home crowd just five games prior, the New York Knicks enacted revenge against Oklahoma City Monday night by putting on a two-way clinic and returning the favor by besting the Thunder at the Paycom Center by a final score of 129-119.
While many members of the Knickerbockers made their presence felt in the contest, big man Mitchell Robinson was arguably the player most fans were found paying close attention to, especially after leaving the game early in the third period after apparently re-aggravating the right knee injury that had him sidelined for eight consecutive games.
Despite the fears and concerns that came as a result of his unceremonious exit, when asked by a reporter about Robinson’s knee during a post-game media session head coach Tom Thibodeau gave a major update on the situation, suggesting that it likely won’t lead to any sort of setbacks in his recovery.
“Just a little soreness. To be expected,” Thibodeau said. “I thought he gave us really good minutes in the first half, but it’ll be a work in progress each day. Tomorrow’s a good day for recovery and rehab and stuff like that but he’s coming along.”
Seeing just over 13 minutes of action against the Thunder, the Knicks’ big man went on to put up 3 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal and finished the night with a +5 box plus-minus rating.
Bounce Back Game for Knicks Wing
As mentioned, during this game against OKC, many Knicks players found themselves putting forth tremendous showings, and third-year wing RJ Barrett proved to be one of the main driving forces in the team’s ultimate victory.
After being thrashed by the fanbase following a putrid five-game stretch, the 22-year-old bounced back in a big way during the final game of New York’s Western Conference road trip.
Logging 37 minutes on the night, Barrett went on to put forth one of his best and most efficient performances of the young season, as he finished with a stellar stat line of 25 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal on 62.5% shooting from the floor and a whopping 75% shooting from distance.
The wing was virtually unstoppable on the offensive side of the ball, particularly when close to the rim where he converted on nearly 60% of his attempts.
After having posted lackluster averages of 12.6 points and 3.0 rebounds on 26.3% shooting from the floor and an otherworldly bad 8% shooting from deep since their last bout against the Thunder, these efforts by the Knicks centerpiece in Monday’s re-match were much-needed to halt his skid on an incredibly high note.
Knicks Guard Praises Barrett
After the Knicks secured their road victory, MSG Network commentator Wally Szczerbiak asked Jalen Brunson what he “saw out of RJ Barrett that was different” from the last few games.
In response, the point guard couldn’t help but praise his teammate for both his demeanor and poise despite clearly struggling with his play.
“You never know when he’s having an off night or he’s having a great night,” Brunson said. “That’s really telling about him and so he keeps that demeanor he stays with it and stays confident, always.”
Outside of Barrett, Brunson perhaps had the biggest night for the Knicks, as he finished the game with 34 points (tied for his regular season career high), 9 assists, and a steal on a highly efficient 70% shooting from the floor.