The New York Knicks closed a perfect week (3-0) by prevailing at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans by 123-117 with an imperial RJ Barrett, who scored 35 points, his new NBA career top scorer.
In addition, the Canadian was key in the final stretch with two triples and an assist to his teammate Taj Gibson that helped close the match when the Pelicans closed the gap, thanks to rookie Herb Jones, to place 111-109 down with 01 remaining: 51 minutes.
«It has been a lot of fun. Especially because of the game it was, ”RJ Barrett admitted to ESPN. “The Pelicans put in a lot of effort coming to the end of the game. So it was definitely very good to get a maximum of the race, but you know, I am more happy to have obtained the victory, “he explained.
The Knicks, thanks to their three consecutive wins against Philadelphia, Chicago and New Orleans, are provisional leaders of the Eastern Conference with a 5-1 record, and tomorrow Monday they host the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden.
On the other hand, the opposite happens with the Pelicans, who do not finish hitting the key in these first bars. Zion Williamson’s significant loss was joined at the last minute by another of his top scorers: Brandon Ingram, due to a contusion to his right hip. However, Willie Green’s men struggled until the final whistle despite being behind on the scoreboard from the initial 16 seconds.
At this start of the season they register a 0-4 in their flag, and a 1-6 in the aggregate, being the red lantern of the Western Conference.
«We are learning in every game. I still feel in my heart that we are improving and that things are going to change. We are there. We are fighting, knocking on doors, “said Willie Green.
The Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas was the most outstanding of the locals with 27 points and 14 rebounds, 18 of them in the first half; followed by Devonte Graham with 17 points and 8 assists.
In the Knicks, in addition to the splendid game starring Barrett, the scoring was quite distributed and up to five teammates contributed double-digit scoring: Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker, both with 19 points; Taj Gibson with 13 points and 7 rebounds; and Julius Randle and Alec Burks closed with 10.
“We are just playing with fluidity and going with what we have in front of us. Tonight it was RJ who made the shots and we continue to go with him, ”said Evan Fournier.
For the second night in a row Barrett has commanded the Knicks offense, in addition to his remarkable work on defense. The shooting guard is taking another step forward in his third NBA season. In Chicago he had 20 points with 8 of 15 in shooting from the field; and in NOLA he obtained his personal record with 35 points along with 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 6 of 8 in triples.
I was only reading the defenses. I know I can be the type of player to have nights like this and I’m glad I was able to prove it tonight, “concluded Barrett.
(Cover photo: Sean Gardner / Getty Images)