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Barrett, Randle help Knicks connect 3rd straight win

RJ Barrett and Julius Randle played one of their best games together and the New York Knicks marked their third straight victory last night defeating the Hawks 117-108 in Atlanta.

Barrett scored 26 points and Randle added 24, shooting 10-21 from the field while dishing out 9 assists. They also shut down a home crowd that welcomed them with “playoff chokers” chants.

“It feels good. That’s what we were working for. We had a tough month, we’ve started to pick it up now and it’s exciting to be part of it.”

RJ Barrett

The two teams that played each other in the first round of the 2021 playoffs went head-to-head for the first 20 minutes of the matchup, changing several leads but rarely over two points and never over four. But as Randle re-entered the game for Taj Gibson, things started to move in one direction. Randle scored 13 points in the second quarter shooting 5-6 from the field and dunked the ball with 2:56 left in the first half to give the Knicks their first double digit lead of the night, 57-47. Evan Fournier, who finished with 18 points, scored twice from behind the arc in the closing minutes of the second quarter to put the Knicks up 65-51 at halftime.

The Hawks pushed for a comeback in the final period. Trailing 87-77 in the early minutes of the fourth quarter, the Hawks cut it 93-91 inspired by Lou Williams’ heroics who made a long two and a three pointer that gave the home team wings again. The dagger, however, came from the visitors. Up by 3 with 4:03 on the clock, the Knicks went on a 10-0 run making it 113-103 with under two minutes left and the Hawks couldn’t recover.

The Knicks had outscored the Hawks 46-36 in the paint and outrebounded them 44-31. The difference was made on the offensive side where the Knicks grabbed 11 while the Hawks just 4. Robinson himself had 5 offensive boards.

For the second straight time, all Knick starters finished in double figures. Alec Burks had 17 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists while Mitchell Robinson was in double-double with 14 buckets and 13 boards. Quentin Grimes led the bench with 8 points, going 3-3 from the field including 2-2 from long distance and Obi Toppin added 7.

Atlanta was led by Trae Young who scored a game high 29 points. Former Knicks pick, Danilo Gallinari, added 17 points off the bench. The Hawks lost their 10th straight home game and are now 17-25, four games behind the Celtics who are 11th in the Eastern Conference.

The Knicks now own a positive record for the first time since November 30. They won 8 of their last 11 games but all the victories came off playing teams with a negative record.

Up-next: The Knicks (22-21) will take on the Charlotte Hornets (23-20) in an afternoon game, on Monday from 1:00 pm.

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