Knicks keep streak going with 109-106 win over Pacers – The Denver Post


The Knicks are still the hottest team in the NBA.

On the back of Julius Randle’s clutch free throws and Jalen Brunson’s continued brilliance, the Knicks completed their late comeback Sunday and toppled the Pacers, 109-106, for their seventh straight victory.

It’s the league’s longest winning streak, leaving the Knicks (17-13) alone at sixth in the Eastern Conference. But Sunday’s victory was very much in doubt with the Pacers holding a six-point advantage with under two minutes remaining.

That’s when Brunson scored five consecutive points — including a breakaway lay-up after his steal — and Randle nailed six straight foul shots in the final 46 seconds.

“We stayed poised and controlled,” Brunson told MSG Network. “We stayed together.”

Brunson finished with a game-high 30 points on 11-of-22 shooting in 34 minutes. Randle added 24 points and 14 rebounds.

The Knicks finished 3-0 on their Midwest trip and have won six straight on the road. They next play four straight at MSG, where the Knicks have struggled compared to their road prowess.

“It was a good trip,” coach Tom Thibodeau said.

Sunday was a one-point game at the end of the first three quarters, underscoring the closeness of the contest. There were 19 lead changes.

The Pacers (15-15) got 23 points apiece from Buddy Hield and Aaron Nesmith, but they collapsed down the stretch with zero field goals in the final 1:55.

Tyrese Haliburton’s half-court heave at the final buzzer — which would’ve tied the score — bounced off the rim.

RJ Barrett continued his rejuvenated shooting for the Knicks while burying 10 of his 19 shots for 21 points, which is about his average for the winning streak. Not too long ago, Barrett was the least efficient player in the NBA.  Or among the least efficient, depending on the statistical metric.

At the time, Barrett’s only response was that he remained ultra confident and wouldn’t stop shooting. But on Friday, the 22-year-old acknowledged that his hectic offseason — which included contract negotiations and trade rumors — might’ve played a role.

Since Barrett didn’t agree to an extension until September, he was unwilling to risk injury and avoided competitive basketball. He reneged on plans to play for the Canadian national team, for instance.

“Glad you said it,” Barrett said of the lack of competitive basketball in the summer affecting his poor start to the season. “It was weird, not really getting to even play runs like I normally do. Really Just going the whole time without basketball. It was a little weird. Got it done, trying to figure it out a little bit. Have a long way to go. Have to keep working.

“At the end of the day you’ve got to play basketball, man,” he added. “I was still working out.  But there’s no shape like game shape. Playing the games, getting used to that again, is the best thing.”

Now things have changed for Barrett and the Knicks — the hottest team in the NBA.



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