Here are the takeaways...
- The Knicks, with the normal starting five on the floor, were looking to take advantage of a Charlotte side with the NBA’s third most porous defense which is allowing 112.4 points per game through eight contests. A chance for New York – the second-lowest scoring offense in the league in terms of raw points per contest – Sunday’s matinee was the chance to gain confidence before a five-game road trip.
Looking to shake off some early season struggles, Julius Randle opened the game by knocking down a free-throw line jumper before grabbing a steal and hitting a side-step from his three on the right side of the floor elbow extended. Jalen Brunson made his first four baskets of the game and added 10 first-quarter points, on his way to 15 in the half.
- The first rotation of the game saw Isaiah Hartenstein, Immanuel Quickley, Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo enter and power an 11-3 run over the final three minutes of the quarter capped by a Quickley three just ahead of the buzzer for a 32-25 lead. New York shot 13-for-25 (52 percent) from the floor and made 4-of-7 from beyond the arc in the opening 12 minutes. They also committed just one turnover.
- Early in the second RJ Barrett and Quickley combined for 13 points to push the lead to 48-39 and for a Charlotte timeout. The visitors were kept in the game by the scoring and playmaking of LaMelo Ball’s 17 points knocking down seven of his first 10 shots. But with Ball on the bench, the Knicks pushed their lead to 13 and forced yet another Steve Clifford timeout with 4:26 to play in the half.
The Hornets’ Mark Williams had 24 rebounds on Friday, but he had just one in the first half. Meanwhile, Mitchell Robinson had eight rebounds (five offensive) in the first half to go with his 10 points.
Charlotte closed the second on a 6-0 run to cut New York’s advantage to 64-54 at the halftime interval. The Knicks shot 52 percent from the floor (44.4 percent from three) in the opening 24 minutes and committed only two turnovers
- That late burst from the visitors was a distant memory four minutes into the second half as the Knicks sliced through Charlotte's Swiss cheese defense for a relatively easy 16-4 run with Quentin Grimes knocking down a pair of threes.
Barrett continued his good run of form to start the year knocking down a three on a bullet pass from Randle to give him 18 on the afternoon and opus the lead to 23, but the Hornets answered with an 8-0 stretch and forced a timeout with just under four to play in the third.
The Knicks pushed the lead to 20 at the end of the quarter, and nearly hit their season average in points (107.1), through just 36 minutes of play, with a 99-79 lead.
- It was more of the same in the fourth quarter and after two Barrett three-pointers sandwiched a Quickley four-point play pushed the lead to 116-88, the Hornets waved the white flag and emptied their bench with 7:44 to play.
Barrett was the Knicks' leading score with 24 points, continuing his great start to the season with a 9 of 16 day (4 of 6 from three) with four rebounds and a pair of assists in 31 minutes. Quikcley added 17 points on nine shots (with four made threes) and nine assists and five rebounds in 25 minutes.
Randle finished with 23 points (on 8-for-16 shooting) with five rebounds and five assists and Brunson added 20 (on 7-for-12) with a rebound and assist. Both had the final period off after playing 27 minutes.
The Knicks finished the day shooting 54 percent from the floor (47-for-87) and 41.7 percent from three (15-for-36) and dished out 25 assists to nine turnovers.
- The one low point for the Knicks was Hartenstein fouling out after just 17 minutes of action off the bench, becoming the first Knick to foul out on the year.
- Charlotte rookie Brandon Miller, the second overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, had 11 in the first quarter before twisting his ankle late in the quarter. Miller returned briefly in the second but after limping around for a brief bit was removed. His exit killed much of the Hornets’ impetus.
The Knicks hit the road for five games that will see them visit Atlanta, Washington, Charlotte and Minnesota after starting things off Monday night in Boston with a 7:30 p.m. tip against the Celtics.