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Austin Rivers emerges as the Knicks defeat the Pacers 106-102 on the road

The Knicks didn’t let the horrible shooting in Tampa a couple of nights before get a hold of themselves. RJ Barret, who had missed 21 consecutive three pointers, practiced for an extra hour before game day and with his 25 points, he led the Knicks to a 106-102 victory against the Indiana Pacers. Barrett shot 8-15 from the field including 4-5 from long range.

Speaking of, as a team, the Knicks shot 12-27 from the three point line last night and went over 50% from the field. One thing that we are seeing early in the season is the way coach Tom Thibodeau adjusts his team after every loss.

It gets fun to watch how past mistakes are being corrected and the results speak for themselves. And shooting is not the only improvement of the night. Pacers’ frontcourt duo Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis got a tougher response in the paint from the Knicks’ defense and Indiana had to rely on Malcolm Brogdon’s shooting ability.

Brogdon, who scored a game-high 33 points, shot 12-18 from the field including 7-10 from behind the arc. His effort, though, was spoiled by Mitchell Robinson who blocked a crucial three pointer attempt with less than a minute to go that would had cut the lead to just one point.

Another positive story was Austin Rivers who missed the first four games and made a decisive impact last night. Rivers, who finished with 15 points off the bench, scored three times from the 3 point line and made several clutch baskets when his team needed it most. Following Robinson’s block on Sabonis, Rivers scored a layup on fast-break that pretty much sealed the game.

The fun thing to watch was Immanuel Quickley who returned after a hip pointer injury in the first game of the season (against the same Pacers). The young rook, who scored 9 points, ran the point drawing fouls, creating spaces and attacking the rim with an energy that hopefully will carry him on. The starting point guard, Elfrid Payton had 19 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. With numbers like these, his role on the team can only strengthen.

Mitchell Robinson also learned from the opener game when he got in foul trouble early in the game and was not able to contribute much. Robinson was close to enter 2021 with a double-double after scoring 16 points and grabbing 9 rebounds while shooting 8-10 from the field.

Julius Randle, who scored his first points of the night with less than a minute before halftime, still posted another double-double and finished with 12 buckets, 11 boards and 8 dimes. His late dunk after intercepting a bad pass from Brogdon was electric.

“The biggest thing is finishing games. Going into the third quarter, I tried to let the guys know that Indiana’s a huge third-quarter team. So we had to come in aggressive, come in and fight and that’s what we did.”

Julius Randle

The Knicks (3-3) are now back at 0.500 and will end the road trip on Monday when they’ll face the Atlanta Hawks (4-2).

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