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Knicks go wire-to-wire, beat Clippers

RJ Barrett Knicks Clippers
Jan 23, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett (9) brings the ball up court against Los Angeles Clippers guard Reggie Jackson (1) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Good things generally happen to the New York Knicks this season when RJ Barrett and Julius Randle record over 20 points. That’s exactly what happened Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden as they went wire-to-wire to defeat a shorthanded Los Angeles Clippers team 110-102.

Barrett led the way once again with 28 points, 12 rebounds, and six assists while Randle put together an efficient 24 points on 8-of-15 shooting (3-of-7 from three-point range) with nine rebounds and five helpers.

The Knicks (23-24) are now 4-1 this season when both stars eclipse the 20-point mark.

Their big days helped end a three-game losing streak, taking advantage of a Clippers team that was down both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Reggie Jackson had 26 to lead the visitors.

Within the first five minutes, all five Knicks starters had scored, paving the way for a red-hot start from deep.

Randle and Barrett accounted for 10 points apiece in the first quarter while the Knicks sank 8-of-11 three-pointers to hold an eight-point lead at 39-31. The 39 points were their second-largest output in a first quarter this season.

[MORE KNICKS READING: Ready or not, here comes RJ Barrett]

It would have been an even larger advantage had the Clippers not been just as impressive out of the gates — hitting 66.7% from the field while nailing 6-of-10 three’s. 

Cam Reddish, who was acquired last week from the Atlanta Hawks, checked in with six seconds to go in the first to make his Knicks debut. He got his first points as a Knick and only points of the day with a reverse layup after driving baseline just 1:37 into the second quarter. The 22-year-old played just five minutes.

The Knicks cooled, going just 2-for-7 from three to open the door for an 11-0 Clippers run to get them within a deuce with 2:48 to go before the half. Reggie Jackson scored 12 of his 14 first-half points in the frame.

But five-straight points from Barrett in the final minute — including a right-wing three-pointer — ensured the Knicks held a 66-61 lead at the half. Barrett himself entered the break with 17.

During a 7-0 run to start the third quarter, building their lead as large as 12, the Knicks lost Robinson two minutes into the third quarter when he stepped on Luke Kennard’s foot and rolled his ankle while pursuing a loose rebound. It was labeled a sprained ankle and he did not return. 

While the Knicks held on to their advantage, Barrett was hit with his first technical foul of the season when he went after the officials following a driving layup attempt that featured plenty of contact from Ivica Zubac. The young star quickly fouled Zubac out of frustration before a verbal tirade toward crew chief Josh Tiven.

He took out those displeasures to start the fourth to help keep the Knicks in control, scoring the team’s first seven points of the final frame.

The Clippers, however, would not go away. 

A Brandon Boston reverse layup brought Los Angeles back within seven with three minutes to go and got to within six in the final minute after a sloppy turnover from Barrett. But the Knicks managed to close it out at the free-throw line to end the snide.

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