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Barrett scores career-high as Knicks make a comeback to beat Thunder 119-97

RJ Barrett scored a career high 32 points and All Star Julius Randle finished in triple-double with 26 points, 12 boards and 12 assists as the Knicks defeated the Thunder 119-97 in Oklahoma City for their 20th season victory and moved once again above .500.

The Knicks trailed by as many as 11 points early in the second quarter but managed to get a 2 points lead at halftime following a 10-0 run earlier.

“Obviously, we started the game slowly. That was a big concern, particularly with the early start. But we responded well after that, and I thought we played strong in the second half. I thought our willingness to share the ball, once we got our defense going, it got us into the open floor and we were able to get some good scoring opportunities.”

Tom Thibodeau

Since the all star break, the Knicks played a very rough game in Milwaukee where they suffered a devastating 33 points defeat to the Bucks a couple of nights ago and they needed to pull a win at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in order to maintain their playoff hopes alive in the light of the extremely uncomfortable upcoming schedule.

With Derrick Rose still out due to Covid-19 exposure, Thibodeau started Frank Ntilikina once again but only played him 5:21 minutes in the first quarter and gave him another 1:45 in the fourth. The french guard picked quickly a couple of fouls and finished the game scoreless, with one steal and one assist.

Immanuel Quickley, who got the better part of the playtime and was kept in for over 33 minutes, led the bench with 21 points on a 9-16 shooting and a plus- of 16. Alec Burks had 15 points that included an impossible jumpshot in the paint while collapsing that also earned him a free throw.

Overall, the Knicks shot slightly worse (48,4%) than the Thunder (48.7%) but had more attempts. They outrebounded OKC 45-40 but the difference was made on the turnover chapter where the Knicks forced 18 while committing just 10 of their own.

The Thunder were led by Al Horford with 16 points followed by Luguent Dort with 14. Kenrich Williams added 13 off the bench.

Up-next: The Knicks (20-19) will play the Brooklyn Nets (26-13) on Monday at the Barclays Center, starting at 7:00 pm EST.

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