New York Knicks: Grades and reactions from blowout win over Hawks

A blowout win over the Atlanta Hawks welcomed the New York Knicks back home in grand fashion.

The New York Knicks made a triumphant return home this evening, defeating the Atlanta Hawks in their best game of the season, 143-120. At one point in the third quarter, the Knicks were up by 31 points.

New York had its highest-scoring quarter of the season in the first quarter, totaling 41 points. They had the highest-scoring half of the season, scoring 77 points, in a shower of 3-pointers, including 21 straight points from the end of the first to 9:47 in the second quarter.

There were still problems with perimeter defense as Trae Young and Vince Carter scored from outside at will. Otherwise their defense was stellar, as they held the Hawks to 84 points through three-quarters.

This game was a no-brainer to grade. Six Knicks were in double figures, with Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle garnering double-doubles.

The one consistent for all players is the intensity with which they played this game.

RJ BARRETT

SG, New York Knicks

A

RJ Barrett had his best NBA game so far. In 28 minutes the rookie had 27 points on 77 percent shooting, including two 3-pointers and six rebounds.

JULIUS RANDLE

PF, New York Knicks

B+

In 22 minutes Randle had a double-double, which included 17 points and 11 rebounds. When Randle is in the paint, he has great confidence. He takes plenty of 3-pointers, but they have been off for him all season.

MITCHELL ROBINSON

C, New York Knicks

A

Mitchell Robinson attempted a steal, then went diving unsuccessfully to save the ball. As soon as he was back in the game, he did it again. This tim,e the steal was successful ending in his famous slam dunk.

In 29 minutes the Knicks’ center had a double-double, with 22 points on 69 percent shooting. The other half of the double was 13 rebounds. He rounded out the night with two blocks and that one successful steal.

MARCUS MORRIS, SR.

SF, New York Knicks

B+

In 21 minutes Morris had 22 points on 55 percent shooting and four rebounds.

DENNIS SMITH, JR.

PG, New York Knicks

B

After sitting out the last three games, Smith Jr. returned with a vengeance. Running the floor with the speed we’re used to seeing from him, the third-year guard contributed eight points, five rebounds, and five assists in 12 minutes. It was good to see him looking like his old self.

Other Takeaways

  • Elfrid Payton was again a great floor general who also attacked the rim. In 20 minutes he had five points and nine assists. It’s also of note that in the last three games, Payton did not have a turnover.
  • Kevin Knox contributed 17 points on 50 percent shooting to the blowout.
  • Bobby Portis, in 20 minutes, had 11 points and seven rebounds.
  • Trae Young had 42 points and eight assists.
  • Vince Carter, in his last game at the Garden, had 15 points including four of seven from three. The crowd gave the 43-year-old a standing ovation when he left the game with 45.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
  • With 143 points, the Knicks scored their most points in regulation since 1980.
Next: 25 greatest players in NYK history

The New York Knicks will head to Miami to face the Heat on Friday, Dec. 20.

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