“At the moment, New York is as good as any team in the NBA.”
There may be losers in Indiana, but at least they know when to acknowledge greatness. Enter coach Rick Carlisle speaking at his post-game press conference yesterday.
The New York Knicks extended their winning streak to seven straight victories, after defeating the Indiana Pacers 109-102 on the road, coming from behind.
The Knicks found themselves six points ahead with less than two minutes on the clock, but when you’re rooting for the hottest team in the NBA, you can put your mind at ease. New York won, as it does these days, and is now riding the franchise’s longest winning streak since April 2021.
Jalen Bronson made another 30 (his fifth of the year), Julius Randle had 25 pops, RJ Barrett scored 24, and Mitchell Robinson felt like entering the double-digit realm and went on to knock down 10 of his own.
The Knicks scored 8 of 26 points from beyond the arc as the Pacers scored 13 of 38 from 3-point range, creating just 15 different points on those shots alone.
It didn’t matter at the end of the day, though, as Randle put up Indy honcho Tyrese Haliburton catches as the game ended to help New York go to an 8-2 record in the past 10 games while sitting sixth in the East (17-13) and four Games over .500.
“The challenger in me just says, ‘Whoa,’” Randle said when discussing his defensive effort to stop Haliburton. “It’s a challenge, but you just want to get him to hit you hard.”
The Knicks decided to switch on purpose when Haley got the ball and read 0:18, leaving JR on Tyrese Island. It paid off. Disputed and forced shot, edge, Grimes to glass, bounce safe, ball to Randle, free kicks, game won.
Another person fought sand.
“It was tough to win on the road and like that,” Randle added. “It was a tough game, but we got it done.”
The continuing streak of victories ultimately comes down to “trusting each other, helping each other,” Randle said. He added that the team is “in the right position” and that the Knicks are “the aggressor, not them, and it works”.
When asked about this specifically and his fine form of play coming off his bruised foot, Bronson said he was “not surprised” but also felt he had “a great group of teammates who keep me confident and level-headed.” Bronson has dropped 82 points in the last three games, all on the road and that injury has fueled.
“This is a credit to them,” Bronson said.
Barrett scored more than 20 points for the fifth straight game to come back on December 9 but fell short of his 3-point shots after doing so in 14 straight games. “We’re playing really good basketball right now, and we’re sticking together on both ends,” Barrett said.
RJ didn’t assist a basket nor steal a possession on Sunday while turning the ball around five times, though he did block one shot and pull down four rebounds.
“Everyone contributes. It’s fun to watch. It’s amazing to see,” Barrett continued. “We just have to keep it going as long as we can.”
Tom Thibodeau, who warned his students before Sunday’s game against the Pacers, repeated after yesterday’s game: “Winning streaks don’t mean anything” and that this latest win “will mean nothing” when the Knicks return to the field. Tuesday at home.
“You have to start over, get the work ready, and when the ball is up, be ready to go.”
Thibodeau continued, “It is always better to win” and that “I don’t want us to be knocked down. I want us to be ready for the next game.” He continues to throw warnings at his players not to rest on their laurels. As the coach sees it:[If you think] You’re going to win the next game because you have a winning streak, if you start skipping steps to get ready for the game, there’s going to be a slip.”
The Knicks went to bed Sunday as one of only three teams with at least 10 road wins this season, along with Portland and Boston. New York is 10-6 at home and 7-7 at MSG.
The New York Knicks host the Golden State Warriors (3-14 on the road) tomorrow in New York City.