The New York Knicks end the day in the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference after picking up a big road win over the Golden State Warriors.
The 119-104 win was ignited by a 40-point first quarter, while a career-night for RJ Barrett provided the juice to carry them home in the second half.
The Knicks are now 8-8 on the season, while Golden State drop back to 8-7, on a frustrating night for Steve Kerr's squad.
Barrett barrage leads the way
Pouring it in from all angles, RJ Barrett topped his previous career-high of 27 points with a floater to give the Knicks a 106-89 lead with 4:41 remaining.
It was an incredibly efficient night for the second-year pro, who finished 10-for-17 from the field, 2-for-3 from three and 6-for-8 from the free-throw line.
Just 20 years old, the Canadian was averaging 17.1 points per game coming in on 39 percent from the field and 20 percent from three, making the hot shooting all the more impressive.
🗣 Let's keep it going, RJ! pic.twitter.com/tTX1vaNP1L- NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) January 22, 2021
Draymond Green ejected
Late in the second quarter with the Warriors trailing by just five points, a confused Draymond Green was ejected from the game.
The official pool report stated that Green was tossed for using "profanity that was deemed to be directed at an official."
Green and the Warriors claim those words were actually meant for rookie teammate, James Wiseman. The officials admitted they were told of that explanation but did not consider rescinding the second technical.
James Wiseman on Draymond Green getting ejected. "I don't know why (the referee) did that though, he thought that (Green) was probably talking to him when he was talking to me. But, I don't know, I was confused myself. That was kind of weird."- Wes Goldberg (@wcgoldberg) January 22, 2021
"He was talking to me," Wiseman said postgame. "But, I don't know, I was confused myself. That was kind of weird."
Green finished with three points and eight assists in 17 minutes of court time.
Hot stretch continues for Curry
The loss for Golden State came despite another big night for Steph Curry, with the superstar guard tallying 30 points and four assists including five made triples.
While Andrew Wiggins (17 points) and James Wiseman (15 points) chipped in, it was another case of Curry seemingly having to do all the scoring in the important moments.
It was the seventh 30+ point game for Curry in 15 appearances this season, with the Warriors currently holding the seven seed in the Western Conference.
Randle falls just short of triple-double
As far as Most Improved Player candidates are concerned, Knicks forward Julius Randle must be in consideration.
Scoring, rebounding and facilitating, it was another monster night for Randle, who posted 16 points, 17 rebounds and nine assists in 36 minutes.
TOUGH 💪 pic.twitter.com/iIFWYZUKtM- NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) January 22, 2021
Averaging 22.4 points, 11.4 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game on the season, the 26-year-old joins Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic and Domantas Sabonis as the only players in the league to average 20-10-5 thus far.
Time will tell if he can keep up this pace, but so far, Randle is turning heads.
The Knicks head to Sacramento for the second game in a back-to-back against the Kings, while Golden State will have one night off before heading on the road to face the Utah Jazz.
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