Coming off the heels of a disastrous Game 2 loss, the Knicks bounced back in a massive way at home, taking the Cavaliers down, 99-79. Considering the fashion in which the Knicks lost in their previous matchup, they needed this win.
It wasn’t a very pretty win, however, the Knicks got the job done and are ready to head into Game 4 at MSG with high hopes. This hope was sparked by a certain Knick who had a massive bounce-back performance.
That’s right, after two putrid offensive games, RJ Barrett stepped up big time and was arguably New York’s best player on the floor for the majority of the game.
Knicks’ forward RJ Barrett showed up in the biggest way possible in Game 3
In 31 minutes of play, Barrett scored 19 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished three assists, shooting 8-of-12 from the field and 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. While he was a bit quieter in the second half, Barrett couldn’t have been better in the first half, finishing with 14 points.
Between the first two games of the series, Barrett shot 6-of-25 from the field. There were many moments when he simply couldn’t do a thing right on the floor. Despite this, in the Knicks’ first home game of the series, Barrett played his heart out and provided New York with a massive offensive boost.
This boost was needed considering the game that Julius Randle had. He’s been rather disappointing in this series compared to how well he played throughout the regular season. Through the first three games, Randle’s shooting 32.7% from the field, which is somewhat similar to his splits from the 2021 Hawks series.
Despite this, the impact his poor play has on the Knicks has been minimized due to the incredible play of Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart, alongside the emergence of Barrett in Game 3.
Entering Game 4, the Knicks need a similar performance out of Barrett if they wish to come one game closer to clinching the series and making it to the second round for the first time since 2013.