New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett walks back to defense against the Orlando Magic during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in New York.
(AP Photo/Michael Owens)

The New York Knicks went for a third straight win versus the Oklahoma City Thunder. Let’s let the gifs tell the full story.

The Tom Thibodeau magic is working for the New York Knicks.

The team has not had this much of a winning record in eight years. Patrick Ewing was probably still playing the last time everyone exhibited this much confidence on the court. Julius Randle is the closest thing the Knicks have to a true star player, and he’s actually playing like one.

And after a stunning victory over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night, the Knicks geared up for a Friday barnburner. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander brought his young and tough Oklahoma City Thunder to Madison Square Garden as OKC sought to reach .500.

Could the New York Knicks’ momentum carry them to yet another victory? Well, let’s begin.

1st quarter: Cold open

Whomever bet the under for this game had to be feeling great after the first quarter. The New York Knicks straight outplayed the Thunder on both sides of the court, yet couldn’t get their own shooting groove going.

For example, the Knicks led 24-15 after the first quarter, but shot just 36% from the field as a team. By comparison, Oklahoma City shot an even worse 21.7%. Oh, and did I mention Julius Randle didn’t score once?

One way or another, I swear. This first quarter was colder than most New York City winters. Thankfully, RJ Barrett’s nine points proved a silver lining amongst what’s been an ice-cold shooting game thus far.


Halftime report: Seriously, where’s the game?

Cold streaks happen, but this first half was just ridiculous. No, seriously. At some point, a team’s poor performance just becomes laughable.

Unfortunately, for everyone involved, both the Oklahoma City Thunder and New York Knicks were responsible for this mess of basketball. Remember how it was 24-15 after one quarter? Well, it was tied 42-42 at halftime.

The Thunder are shooting just 35.6% on the night. The Knicks are no better at 34.7%. RJ Barrett’s nine points in the first were a tease, as he made just one basket in the second quarter.

Things would surely improve after halftime, right?


3rd quarter:  Swiss cheese defense

The New York Knicks scored 21 points in the third quarter, which is a problem in itself. The bigger problem is that Julius Randle had 11 of them. The team’s early-season MVP finally got his shot going, yet the rest of the team ran cold.

The Thunder, meanwhile, found a groove. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander put Oklahoma City on his back and scored 12 of his 25 points in the third. They flourished while the Knicks failed, and New York entered the fourth quarter down 69-63.

The good news is Austin Rivers drilled a three at the buzzer to end the third, so maybe the Knicks could finally end this frustrating run?


4th quarter: Just plain unacceptable

It’s easy for every team to have a bad night. It’s part of professional sports. It happens.

But it’s hard to have a night this bad, especially for the New York Knicks. My God, I don’t expect much from this team to begin with, but tonight’s performance was exceptionally bad.

Forget the bad officiating. Forget the missed free throws. There is absolutely no excuse for shooting 36.2% on the night. As a team! Was the Snow Miser in the building? Did Swackhammer send his minions to capture everyone’s talent again?

One way or another, tonight was awful for the Knicks as they lost 101-89. Hopefully, they bounce back before Sunday’s game against the Denver Nuggets.


Player of the game: Julius Randle

The silver lining among it all, Julius Randle had 18 points and 12 rebounds on the night.



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.