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Knicks survive in another thriller ending as RJ Barrett scores career-high (123-117)

RJ Barrett scored a career high 35 points last night at the Smoothie King and the New York Knicks marked their 5th win of the season, defeating the New Orleans Pelicans 123-117 in another breathtaking finale.

The Knicks, who led from the start to the final buzzer, took a 16 point lead in the second quarter. They were usually up in double digits with a few exceptions at the margins of the third quarter when the Pelicans cut the lead to three and then again at the end of the fourth when things started to look familiar to the ending in Chicago.

With 3:34 on the clock and the Knicks leading 111-100, the Pelicans went on a 9-0 run in a span of about 100 seconds that seemed to push the game in extra time. But it was then when the cold blooded Barrett scored a couple of threes and went 3-4 from the free point line to seal another victory for his team. RJ also collected 8 rebounds, dished 6 assists and went 6-8 from behind the arc.

“It was fun of course, especially the type of game that that was. They really made a push; it came down to the end of the game. So, it was definitely cool to have a career high. But, you know, I’m really happy we got the win.”

RJ Barrett

Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker finished with 19 points each. Both of them shot the three ball well; Fournier drained five long jump shots and Walker nailed four of them, including the opening one.

The difference was made, once again, from the long distance shots. The Knicks shot an unbelievable 19-33 (57.6%) from the three point line, almost half of their points coming in such a manner. The Pelicans on the other hand struggled and shot just 33.3% on this chapter.

Taj Gibson led the bench with 13 points, Julius Randle had 10, same as Alec Burks. No Knick finished in double-double.

The Pelicans were led by Jonas Valanciunas’ 27 points and 14 rebounds. The Lithuanian big man was the key factor for the Pelicans in their comebacks from the third quarter but wasn’t able to help much during the final minutes. Devonte Graham followed with 17 points and Josh Hart finished with 16.

Graham made an impossible 2 pointer and got an extra free throw with 1:28 on the clock, following a three pointer made by Barrett. The Pelicans were trailing 114-112 at the time and seemed determined for the final push, cheered by an empty but loud crowd, but their hopes didn’t last for too long.

Barrett’s assist for Gibson’s dunk increased the lead 116-112 and then came another three from RJ that forced the Pelicans to call timeout with 43 seconds left to play. They were unable to respond.

The Pelicans, who are still expecting for Zion Williamson’s return got another blow before the game when they announced that Brandon Ingram will also be unavailable due to a right hip contusion.

The Knicks are now 3-0 on the road and improved overall 5-1. They continue to be the top team in the east alongside Washington Wizards, Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat, all of them sharing the same record.

Up-next: The Knicks (5-1) will host the 75th anniversary of the first NBA game played when they will face the Toronto Raptors (4-3) on Tuesday from 7:30pm.

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