New York Knicks win confidently in preseason opener against Wizards

New York Knicks (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)
New York Knicks (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The new-look New York Knicks showed promise in Monday’s preseason win against the Washington Wizards.

The New York Knicks opened the preseason on the road against the Washington Wizards, winning comfortably 104-99. With Dennis Smith Jr., Bobby Portis, and Damyean Dotson all sitting out with injuries, the Knicks fielded a smaller rotation that showcased glimpses of what fans were hoping the new-look team could bring to the table in this upcoming season.

The most exciting player on the floor was undoubtedly RJ Barrett, who started the game at the shooting guard position and ended up clocking the most minutes out of any player for the Knicks, finishing the game with 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 39 minutes of play.

Though he started off shooting poorly from the field, missing his first 4 three-point shots and struggling to get to the hoop, when the Knicks needed a player to step up in the third quarter in the face of a Wizards comeback, Barrett was the one to take control of the game.

Showing the ability to run the offense, the Duke product was effective in facilitating and getting out in transition, drawing in the defense and creating shots for himself and his teammates. Coach David Fizdale clearly saw that Barrett had the hot hand and rode his star to close out the tight contest, with the rookie playing the entirety of the third and fourth quarters.

Barrett may have shined the brightest, but he was far from the only impressive player for the Knicks. Marcus Morris was the best player on the court for the first half, putting up 17 points and 7 rebounds, before living up to his “Mook” nickname and being ejected from the game with a Flagrant 2 foul for bopping the Wizards’ Justin Anderson on the head with the ball.

Before Morris’ ejection to start the third quarter, the Knicks dominated the first half against the Wizards. The team as a whole played smothering defense, keeping the opposition to only 16 points in the first quarter as both the starting unit and bench fought through screens and played the passing lanes aggressively.

But defense was not the only shining grace for the Knicks. Coach Fizdale seems to have a team this season more than willing to exploit it’s youth and athleticism in the name of fast-paced position-less basketball, with every player looking to get out in transition and doing so effectively.

Though the offense stalled in the third quarter as the Wizards mounted a comeback, the Knicks were ultimately able to get back into an offensive groove and close out the game through the hot hand of Barrett and some impressive off-ball movement from the rest of the team.

Of note:

  • Kevin Knox impressed off the bench, finishing with 12 points and seven rebounds. It looked like he made some definite improvements on both ends of the floor this offseason
  • Allonzo Trier found himself the odd man out in the rotation, only clocking 8 minutes of play and ending with 0 points off the bench.
  • Julius Randle did not have the most impressive game, but watching him run the pick-and-roll showed off just how deadly he could be in the Knicks upcoming season. Though the game wasn’t his best, seven assists from power forward is something few players can do.

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The Knicks face the Washington Wizards again on Friday, October 11th at Madison Square Garden.