Knicks extend win streak in tight game against Raptors

Coming off of a down to the wire victory against the Spurs on Wednesday, the Knicks found themselves in another close one in Toronto. Once again, New York was able to find a route to victory as big performances from Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson carried the Knicks to a 112-108 win.

Knicks Duo Opens And Closes

With RJ Barrett remaining out due to a finger injury, the responsibility for Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson offensively has heightened. So far, both players have stepped up in big ways in the past few games and that trend continued against the Raptors.

Julius Randle came out of the gates firing from the three point line. Randle scored 19 points in the first quarter on 5-of-7 from the three-point line. He made one other field goal in the quarter which was originally called a three-pointer but changed to a two when reviewed. For the game, Randle scored 32 points on 10-of-22 from the field, 6-of-11 from three, and 6-of-9 from the free throw line. He also chipped in 11 rebounds giving him his sixth straight game with a double-double.

On the other hand, Jalen Brunson saved his best work for the fourth quarter. In the final frame, Brunson scored 10 points on 3-of-4 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free throw line. His most important moment came when the Knicks led 108-106, and Brunson made this play to practically seal the game.

Brunson went on to make another free throw to make the game 112-108 which was the final score. For the game Brunson scored 26 points on 9-of-19 from the field, 3-of-6 from three, and 5-of-7 from the free throw line. He also contributed eight assists and five rebounds. Brunson has truly not skipped a beat since returning from a hip injury, as in his first three games back he is averaging 29.3 points, 6.7 assists, and 5.3 rebounds.

It was not just the star duo of the Knicks that played a big part in the offense, as there were some impressive performances from the role players. Quentin Grimes continues to play his role of a 3 and D player incredibly well as he had 16 points on 6-of-13 from the field and 4-of-10 from three. Immanuel Quickley is still in the starting lineup with RJ Barrett injured and he continues to contribute finishing 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting, five rebounds, and four assists.

Miles McBride has carved out a meaningful role of the bench due to his defense, but against the Raptors he made two big three-pointers in a row in the fourth quarter to help maintain the Knicks lead. For the game McBride had nine points on 3-of-5 from the three-point line. Mitchell Robinson also had an impressive performance with ten points and a staggering 18 rebounds, with eight of those rebounds on the offensive end.

Defense Adjusts From Previous Matchup

The last time the Knicks faced off against the Raptors, Pascal Siakam scored a career high 52 points on 17-of-25 shooting from the field and 16-of-18 from the free throw line in a 113-106 win for the Raptors. Friday night proved to be a far different story. Siakam was held to a mere 18 points on just 4-of-14 from the field and 9-of-11 from the free throw line. Although Siakam had success at the free throw line, the Knicks did a far better job of making his shot attempts difficult, which was a big reason for the win this time around.

On a broader note, Tom Thibodeau recorded his 100th career victory as the Knicks coach. Thibodeau and the Knicks will look to make that number 101 Monday night against the Milwaukee Bucks.

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