New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) shoots next to Washington Wizards center Ian Mahinmi (28) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, in Washington.
(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Let’s take a stroll down gif lane to see how the New York Knicks handled their business against Atlanta on Monday. 

The New York Knicks are 4-3 and looking better than ever.

No, that is not a misprint. No, you are not crazy and living in Bizarro World. After a stunning upset win against the athletic Indiana Pacers over the weekend, the Knicks were set to face Trae Young and the hot-shooting Atlanta Hawks.

Even though the season is still early, tonight’s game had loads of storylines. Will RJ Barrett continue to step up? Will the Hawks struggle to find a groove after a tough loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday?

Just another Manic Monday in the NBA, so let’s strap in for what could be a solid high-scoring affair!



1st quarter: Back and forth

The New York Knicks led 31-29 and played well, but make no mistake – this had the makings of a chippy game. For context, the Knicks led 24-14 at one point, then the Hawks went on a 13-2 run. They’re faster than the Knicks, and they know it.

Even so, the Knicks’ play was encouraging. Barrett had six points and four boards, and Julius Randle lead the way with 12! New York was also shooting 56% from the floor and continues to defend the three well.

Buckle up, kiddies. This game could be tighter than we thought.



Halftime report: Randle On

Pardon the Led Zepplin almost-reference but Julius Randle is almost singlehandedly keeping the New York Knicks in this game.

No, I’m dead serious. Even though Atlanta only lead 58-54 at halftime, their speed outpaced the Knicks’ on more than one occasion. It’s a strange development since neither team is shooting particularly well from three. The Hawks made only a third of their shots from long range, while the Knicks are a paltry 1 for 8.

Randle, however, was spectacular once again. He had 18 points and eight rebounds while shooting a respectable 8 of 12 from the field.

The low post is the Roxbury, he’s the bouncer, and Atlanta is just a weird mesh of both Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell. They’re not getting in without his say so.



Third quarter: Riding The Cyclone

Every New Yorker knows the legendary Coney Island roller coaster that is The Cyclone. You make the long trek from the city, pay however much it is to take a ride, and strap in. Maybe a minute later, your body aching from the rickety wooden coaster, you groan, “Not worth it!” as you stumble towards the boardwalk.

And yet, you can’t help but want to go back for more soon after.

Such was the third quarter of this game. The New York Knicks were the Cyclone in every way. They were down by 14 at one point after coming out of halftime down by four.

Fast forward to the end of the third quarter, and Kevin Knox’s buzzer-beating three made it 88-84. Knicks fans weren’t made for this. Onto the fourth!



Fourth quarter: GO NEW YORK GO NEW YORK GO


It’s finally happened, ladies and gentlemen. The New York Knicks are above .500 for the first time since 2012!

Julius Randle did not need another triple-double, though he came only one assist shy. RJ Barrett did not need one extra basket to set a new career high in points. No, the Knicks focused on good, old-fashioned team basketball and tough defense. Whatever Tom Thibodeau is feeding these guys, I’ll need a lifetime supply of it.

Wherever the Knicks’ groove was, it gave the rest of us fans a heart attack when it showed up. The Hawks tried, but losing a key challenge with just under four minutes to play cost them their last timeout. New York took the momentum and ran, and won 113-108.



Player of the Game: Immanuel Quickley

Julius Randle finished with 28 points, 17 rebounds, and nine assists. RJ Barrett had 26 points with 11 boards of his own.

However, neither man meant as much to the game as Quickley. The rookie, appearing in just his third career NBA game, chipped in 16 points off the bench and just upped the team’s energy when he was on the floor. Be it clutch free throws or hyperfocused effort, he was no doubt the impact guy tonight.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.