Julius Randle has more or less carried the New York Knicks on his shoulders through their six-game win streak leading into this game. Against the Hornets, however, RJ Barrett was the difference as the Knicks won 109-97.
The Canadian caught fire in the third quarter, a period New York outscored Charlotte 31-16 with Barrett himself scoring 18 of his team-high 24.
RJ feeling it as we head to the final frame.- NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) April 21, 2021
18 points in the third. pic.twitter.com/EcBfnYNuVF
RJ starting to percolate. pic.twitter.com/C7su9gO6T1- NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) April 21, 2021
He was red-hot in the third quarter, knocking down six of seven field goals including a perfect 4-of-4 from beyond the arc.
While Barrett's averages haven't taken a huge leap this season, his shooting efficiencies have. He's improved to 44.9 percent from 40.2 on field-goal attempts while knocking down 39.1 percent of his long-range attempts this season, a huge leap from the 32.0 percent last season. From the free-throw line, he's leaped from 61.4 percent to 73.8 percent.
He was one of five Knicks to score in double figures as they held the Hornets to just 31 points in the second half after allowing 66 in the first half.
"I hate missing. I hate when things are not perfect, especially if I do everything right," Barrett said postgame, talking about being a perfectionist.
Randle and Barrett have often played like a 1-2 punch this season and when the 'Most Improved' award favourite didn't have it in this one with his shooting struggles (5-16 FGs), he knew Barrett was going to have a big second half.
Julius Randle told RJ Barrett he had a big second half coming. Then he hooked him up with two threes:- Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) April 21, 2021
"He got me a couple open looks, and it exploded from there" pic.twitter.com/WyiWdl9tMq
The victory helps the Knicks extend their league-best win streak to seven, the longest streak recorded by the team since the 2013-14 season.
New York have four more games on this homestand, three of which are very winnable against Atlanta, Chicago and Toronto, before they go on a huge six-game road trip facing all Western Conference teams.
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