Knicks drop 121-107 to Pacers in season opener
- Updated: December 25, 2020
The New York Knicks have put on a great fight for the first three quarters of the season opener but in the final act, in usual fashion, they were unable to stop the Pacers and fell 121-107.
However, there are some positives and some circumstances that need to be addressed before looking at the scoreboard. So let’s start with the good things:
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RJ Barrett is the go-to guy and hopefully he will become the face of the franchise. Barrett scored 26 points while shooting 11-15 from the field, including -3 from beyond the arc, grabbed 8 rebounds and dished 5 assists. But he started the night shooting 8-8 and by halftime he had already scored 20! In the second part of the game, the Pacers focused more on RJ and limited him to just 6 points.
“I think we had a good first half overall and they came out even more aggressive in the second. I think they did something different defensively with all of our actions. ”
– RJ Barrett
Now on to the circumstances. Immanuel Quickley, who made a strong case for himself in preseason, led the offense in the first half but had to be taken out with a hip pointer early in the second quarter. With him, down went the hype.
The two big men, Nerlens Noel and Mitchell Robinson got into foul trouble early in the game, dominated by all star Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner who combined 42 points and 21 rebounds for the Pacers.
Frank Ntilikina was sent in at the start of the fourth quarter but his presence was shy and coach Thibodeau played him for less than 5 minutes. Dennis Smith Jr. didn’t even get to taste the game as he was benched throughout the entire contest. And since neither Frank nor DSJ got the rookie extensions at Monday’s deadline, their role in the rotation is still uncertain.
Obi Toppin did not impress in his debut. He finished the night with 9 points and shot an awful 3-12. All of his points were made from long distance. Kevin Knox was also quiet with just 4 points and 3 boards.
Finally, Alec Burks and Julius Randle combined 39 points supporting Barrett’s performance as well as they could. In fact, Randle was close to finish with a triple-double after scoring 17 points, grabbing 9 rebounds and dishing 9 assists.
Next-up: The Knicks (0-1) will host the Sixers (1-0) – who won their opener 113-107 against the Wizards – on Saturday.