Knicks Takeaways from Saturday's 121-99 win over Rockets, including 58 points off the bench

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Alex Smith
·2 min read
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Derrick Rose, Immanuel Quickley and Taj Gibson
Derrick Rose, Immanuel Quickley and Taj Gibson

The Knicks had a very balanced attack in their first game without Mitchell Robinson, defeating the Houston Rockets 121-99 on Saturday night. >> Box Score

Five things to know from Saturday’s game

1. With Mitchell Robinson expected to be out four-to-six weeks due to a fractured right hand, how the Knicks handle the center spot without him will be worth watching. Nerlens Noel got the start on Saturday and played the first nine and half minutes before Taj Gibson entered the game.

Tom Thibodeau had mentioned that the Knicks have some flexibility to use smaller lineups, but either Noel or Gibson were on the floor as the Knicks’ center for the entire game.

2. Julius Randle carried the Knicks’ offense early. Before the game’s first timeout, Randle had hit a three, found an open Reggie Bullock for a three on a drive-and-kick, and hit Noel with a nice alley-oop pass. Randle and Bullock each finished with nine points in the first quarter, and the Knicks took a 30-25 lead into the second.

3. With the second unit on the floor for the Knicks to start the second quarter, Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley helped the Knicks get out on an 11-2 run, as Rose finished on a beautiful up-and-under move on a layup and later knocked down a wing three. The Knicks pushed their lead up to 14 points, but the offense got a bit out of sync, and the Rockets kept the lead around 10. But when the Knicks’ first unit checked back in, New York’s lead quickly jumped back up to 15 points.

The Knicks played an effective first half overall, as they went the first 23 minutes without a turnover, taking a 63-47 lead into halftime as Randle hit a fadeaway buzzer-beater from the right elbow. Randle had 13 points, three rebounds, and two assists in the first half.

4. In the third, Elfrid Payton scored seven points in the first half of the period, but John Wall and the Rockets starting chipping away at the New York lead, cutting it to seven points with just over five minutes to go in the period.

But as soon as Quickley checked back in, he knocked down a three to put the Knicks' lead back to double-digits. New York took a 12-point lead into the final quarter.

5. In the fourth, the Knicks were able to ride the hot hands of Quickley and Rose and hold on for the victory. The Knicks had a very balanced attack on the night, with the bench combining for 58 points. Quickley (22) and Rose (16) combined for 38 points, Randle went for 22, and Noel had 10 points, six rebounds, and two blocks in the win.

What's next

The Knicks stay home and host the Atlanta Hawks on Monday at 7:30 p.m..