The Knicks snapped a two-game losing streak and finished their five-game road trip with a 129-119 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night.
Here are the takeaways…
– RJ Barrett drove by Luguentz Dort and threw down an aggressive dunk early on, and then Quentin Grimes stole the ball on a bad pass and took it to the rim for an easy layup, putting the Knicks up 13-8 three minutes into the game. Grimes got his second foul with 7:05 left in the first and was forced to sit down.
Barrett turned it over on back-to-back possessions, as Jalen Williams hit a three to put the Thunder up, 30-29. Immanuel Quickley found Obi Toppin for three, and then came back with his own shot from deep to give them a four-point lead. Barrett finished with another basket to give him nine points on 4-of-4 shooting, as the Knicks shot 65.2 percent in the first and led, 38-34.
– Miles McBride got his second steal in the quarter and scored on a layup to put the Knicks up, 46-41. Jalen Brunson hit Grimes on the backdoor cut for an easy dunk, and then came back down with a mid-range jumper halfway through the second quarter. Julius Randle started to find a groove, using his size advantage to make back-to-back jumpers and put the Knicks up, 58-44. Randle and Brunson continued to pace the Knicks, while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander did his best to keep OKC in the game by getting to the foul line.
– Barrett connected with Jericho Sims for an electric alley-oop jam to close out the half. Randle led the team with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, Barrett and Quickley both had 12 points, and Brunson scored 11 points as the Knicks shot 55.8 percent in the half to lead 69-58. SGA and Dort combined for 25 points to lead the Thunder.
– With the Thunder in zone defense, Brunson found Mitchell Robinson on the roll for a big alley-oop dunk to go up 77-60 as their lead continued to grow. After a few missed shots, Dort grabbed an offensive rebound and scored easily, forcing a frustrated Tom Thibodeau to call timeout with his team up just 11. Dort and Josh Giddey began to heat up and cut the Knicks’ lead to single-digits. Brunson bailed out the offense with a fadeaway mid-range shot and hit another from the foul line on the next possession to make it an 87-79 game.
Isaiah Hartenstein rejected SGA at the rim on two straight possessions, and then the crafty guard and Quickley traded baskets at the end of the quarter. New York led OKC, 98-87, heading into the fourth.
– Brunson pushed the Knicks’ lead to 11 early in the fourth, forcing OKC to call timeout and regroup. Quickley hit his fourth three-pointer of the night, Barrett scored after grabbing his own miss, and Randle hit a corner three to bring the Knicks’ lead to 17 points with less than seven minutes left in the game. OKC didn’t give up, as the Thunder cut the lead down to 10 points, but Brunson came right back with two straight buckets to give him 33 points on the night.
Sims caught another huge alley-oop from Brunson, and the PG then connected with Barrett for another alley-oop to go up 125-111 with 1:22 remaining. Despite a strong effort from the Thunder, the Knicks held on to win by 10.
– Brunson finished with a season-high 34 points on 14-of-20 shooting with eighth assists and just two turnovers. Randle and Barrett both scored 25 points on strong shooting nights, and Quickley scored 18 off the bench, including going 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.
The Knicks get the next three days off and will take on the Portland Trail Blazers on Black Friday, Nov. 25, at 4:30 p.m. at Madison Square Garden.