Knicks takeaways from Saturday’s 123-117 win over Pelicans, including RJ Barrett's career night

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RJ Barrett drives against Pelicans
RJ Barrett drives against Pelicans

After holding on to defeat the then-undefeated Chicago Bulls on Thursday, the Knicks beat the New Orleans Pelicans, 123-117, on Saturday.

Here are the takeaways….

- The Knicks started the night making their first five shots with Kemba Walker, Evan Fournier, RJ Barrett and Julius Randle hitting their first three-pointers. Despite the hot shooting start from the Knicks, the Zion Williamson-less Pelicans stuck around, never falling too far behind. Barrett led the Knicks with seven points as the team went 6-for-11 from downtown in the first quarter to take a 34-28 lead.

- The Knicks opened the second quarter on a 10-0 run, anchored by the defense causing the Pelicans to take bad shots. New Orleans then had a 6-0 run before the Knicks settled down thanks to Barrett’s scoring and dishes to Mitchell Robinson to give his team a 16-point lead, the largest of the game to this point. Out of a Pelicans timeout, the home team went on a 11-2 run. Careless turnovers and defensive lapses from the Knicks helped the Pelicans cut the lead to four. The Knicks entered halftime nursing a 63-59 lead.

- Both teams came out cold for the third quarter, not scoring for the first two minutes. As the Pelicans cut into the Knicks' lead, Barrett took over and scored nine-straight points for his team. Some timely three-pointers from Fournier and Walker helped the Knicks extend their lead, but the Pelicans didn't go away, always cutting the deficit after New York got a comfortable lead. The Knicks shot 50 percent in the third quarter as they led 88-83 heading into the final quarter.

- The Knicks started the fourth quarter with tight defense, holding the Pelicans to just two points in the first three minutes. With the Knicks getting cold from the three-point line, the team started to drive to the basket and get to the free-throw line. Despite that, the Pelicans continued to stick around and not letting the Knicks put the game away. At the seven-minute mark, the Knicks went on a 8-2 run to extend the lead to double-digits. The Pelicans went on a 9-0 run of their own, but Barrett hit two three-pointers and had an easy dish to Taj Gibson to stop the bleeding. The Knicks won the free-throw battle to close it out.

- Barrett scored a career-high 35 points along with eight rebounds and six assists. Fournier and Walker contributed 19 points each.

Highlights

What’s next

The Knicks return home to take on the Toronto Raptors on Monday at 7:30 p.m.