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Randle, Barret, lift Knicks past Hawks and past .500

What a road trip this has been! Latest kill: – the Atlanta Hawks. It’s not a common thing for the Knicks to collect Ws on the road or in general, and to be above .500.

So let’s keep the streak and the appreciation going. Last night, the Knicks overcame a 15 point deficit in the third quarter to put the Hawks down 113-108 and improved to 4-3. They haven’t had a positive record so early in the season since 2012.

With big men such as Nerlens Noel, Obi Toppin and Omari Spellman still on the injury list, the frontcourt needed to be sustained solely by Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson. And once again, Randle has done it all. 28 points, 17 rebounds and 9 assists, another strong performance from the point forward who, so far, has played at All Star level.

“It’s fun I guess. But the bigger thing is I’m staying on top of what I need to do to take care of my body. It’s a day-in, day-out process but I just try to stay in the moment”

Julius Randle

RJ Barrett has been deadly too, with 26 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists. But the story comes from the bench guys. Down by 15 points late in the third quarter, coach Tom Thibodeau throws in Austin Rivers and Kevin Knox. Shortly after, Immanuel Quickley too. And that’s when Hawks’ lead began to shiver.

Knox’s first three pointer came with 1:34 remaining in the third and the second one at the buzzer to cut the lead to just four points going into the final act. Then, the Rivers & Quickley duo carried the Knicks back on top.

Quickley scored 16 points in 19 minutes shooting 4-7 from the field while Rivers finished with 8 points.  Rivers’ three pointer with under two minutes to play was crucial as it gave the Knicks a four point lead and was followed by a charge on Trae Young. It was the play that pretty much sealed the game. All three bench players shot 2-3 from behind the arc.

The Hawks were lead by Young’s 31 points and 14 assists. De’Andre Hunter scored 23 and John Collins added 18 points for the home team.

Next up: Knicks (4-3) return to Madison Square Garden to host the Utah Jazz (4-2) on Wednesday.

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