The Knicks beat the Wizards, 112-108 on Friday on the road thanks to another 30-point performance from Jalen Brunson.
With RJ Barrett returning for his second game, coach Tom Thibodeau went with his usual used the same starting lineup of Brunson, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, Quentin Grimes and Barrett.
Here are the takeaways….
– After Randle made the Knicks’ first shot — a three-pointer — New York had a tough time getting their shots to fall, especially from behind the arc. Washington didn’t shoot much better as the game held at 7-5 Wizards with less than seven minutes to go. The Knicks began the night shooting 2-for-12. The Wizards went on a 8-0 run — including five straight points from Kristaps Porzingis — but Immanuel Quickley checked in to give the team a spark in his hometown, scoring a layup and hitting Randle in transition for a dunk. A 12-0 run for the Knicks gave them back the lead. The secondary unit of Barrett, Quickley, Isaiah Hartenstein, Obi Toppin and Miles McBride in the final couple of minutes could not keep the Wizards off the boards and off the scoresheet. A 9-2 run to end the first quarter gave Washington a 21-19 lead.
The Knicks shot 30 percent including 2-for-9 from beyond the arc. The saving grace was Washington shooting just 27 percent, including 2-for-13 from three. The Knicks were also outrebounded 14-12.
– The second quarter began with the same secondary unit for the Knicks. Washington picked up a couple of threes and Kyle Kuzma started to impose his offensive will on this group as the Wizards pulled out to a 35-27 lead, forcing a Thibodeau time out. Out of the timeout, the first unit — with Quickley remaining in for Barrett — took the floor and went out to a 8-0 run. A pair of Wizards threes and poor shooting from the Knicks allowed Washington to go into halftime with a 53-50 lead.
Both teams shot much better in the second quarter. The Knicks shot 50 percent, but the Wizards shot to a 56 percent clip. The Knicks had four players in double digits: Barrett (10), Randle (12), Quickley (11) and Brunson (13). For the Wizards, Kuzma took over and scored 18 points in the first half on 6-of-11 shooting.
– Brunson scored the Knicks’ first seven points in the third quarter. Although Kuzma and the Wizards would keep pace, the Knicks outhustled Washington to take a 62-61 lead after a Grimes three with 8:48 remaining, his first points of the game. An emphatic Randle dunk on Daniel Gafford gave the Knicks some cushion, but the New York forward’s defense and turnovers helped Washington out to a a 6-0 run. The Knicks would shore up their defense and get better shots to close out the third quarter up 80-76.
The Knicks remained consistent with their shooting, going 9-for-19 (47%) while the defense held Washington to 42 percent shooting. Brunson took over in the third quarter, scoring 13 more points (26 in total up to this point) and dishing five assists.
– The Knicks put out Brunson, Barrett, Quickley, Toppin and Hartenstein to start the fourth. Quickley started with four straight points, but the team went on a 9-0 run thanks to the fast-break. With seven minutes to go, the Knicks would have a 15-point lead, the largest of the game. The Wizards would continue to fight and bring the Knicks lead below 10 points a few times in the fourth. At one point, Porzingis scored the last 11 Wizards points. More back-and-forth between the two teams would see the score sit at 107-102 with a minute to go. Robinson would foul out at this point in the game.
The Wizards would cut the lead to 107-104 with 18 seconds remaining when Randle made one of his two free throws. Randle would inexplicably foul Kuzma on a three, but the scorer made two of three. Brunson would make both of his free throws to extend the Knicks lead to 110-106. The Wizards would have a couple of shots at making a three, but couldn’t deliver. Brunson would be fouled and two more free throws to put the game away. New York would hold on to win, 112-108.
Brunson finished with 34 points on 12-of-24 shooting and 7-of-7 from the free-throw line. It’s the third straight game Brunson has scored that many points and the fourth in his last five. Randle scored 23 points and Quickley added 18 points off the bench. Kuzma led all scorers with 40 points and Porzingis added 21 points.
The Knicks travel to Detroit to take on the Pistons on Sunday starting at 1 p.m.