Knicks Takeaways from Saturday's 106-102 win over the Pacers, including a nice bounce-back game for RJ Barrett

Alex Smith
·3 min read

The Knicks played a solid game on both ends of the floor, as they came away with a 106-102 win over the Indiana Pacers. >> Box score

Five things to know from Saturday's game

1. Elfrid Payton came out of the starting gates playing very aggressively. In the first six-plus minutes, Payton drove to the basket multiple times, scoring five points and freeing up Mitchell Robinson for putback attempts, as Robinson scored six points before the quarter’s midway point.

Payton’s strong play continued throughout the night as he orchestrated the offense. The veteran finished the game with 19 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. 

2. RJ Barrett broke out of an 0-for-21 three-point streak late in the first quarter, as he finally knocked one down. The next time down the court, Barret drilled another three. The Duke product led the Knicks with eight first-quarter points, but Indiana took a 28-26 lead into the second quarter.

Barrett seemed to put his shooting woes behind him, as he knocked down four of his first five three-point attempts, posting 20 points through the first three quarters. Barrett was quiet in the fourth, but he still finished with 25 points, five rebounds, and three assists.

3. Early in the second quarter, Austin Rivers drove to the basket and made a nice layup high off the glass, but Rivers appeared to hit his head on the stanchion on the way down. The Knicks called timeout to check on Rivers, but the point guard said he was okay and stayed in the game.

Rivers, who would come up clutch late in the game, ended his night with 15 points in 17 minutes.

Midway through the second quarter, the Pacers switched to a zone defense, which gave them fits against the Raptors earlier this week. But Immanuel Quickley, in his first game back from injury, didn’t seem to mind, as he scored seven points in his first eight minutes, including a three from the right wing.

At the half, Robinson led the Knicks with 12 points (already a season high for him) while Barrett joined him in double figures with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting. The Pacers led 51-50 at the break.

4. Julius Randle missed his first five field goal attempts, but he still finished the first half with six rebounds and four assists. Randle, Barrett, and Payton led an early third-quarter charge, as the Knicks began the second half on a 13-5 run to jump out to their biggest lead of the game.

Tom Thibodeau picked up his first technical foul as Knicks head coach in the third, but the Knicks continued to play hard, with Barrett drilling a corner three. The Pacers rallied, though, as Malcolm Brogdon simply couldn't miss. Brogdon made his seven of his first 10 shots, including his first four three-pointers. The Knicks led by as many as 10-points in the third, but a Justin Holiday buzzer-beater tired the game 82-82 after three.

5. The two teams traded blows in the fourth, as a Victor Oladipo three-pointer tied the game 92-all. With the Knicks down one approaching three minutes to go, Rivers drilled a wing three to give the Knicks a 98-96 lead. Then, with a minute and a half to go, Randle came up with a steal and dunk in transition to give the Knicks a four-point lead.

All of a sudden, the Knicks were on a 9-0 run that helped them close out the win. Randle ended up with 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists.

After the Knicks' putrid 3-for-36 three-point performance on New Year's Eve, they were much better on Saturday, shooting 12-of-27 (44 percent) from downtown.


What's next

The Knicks will take on the Hawks in Atlanta on Monday night, with tipoff set for 7:30 p.m..

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