Knicks Spoil James Harden’s Clippers Debut In Victory

Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Knicks, Clippers, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

The New York Knicks were the first NBA team to face off against the new-look Los Angeles Clippers with James Harden in the lineup. The former MVP was making his debut at Madison Square Garden against a Knicks team that he has found a ton of success when facing in his career. But, on Monday, his debut was spoiled

The Knicks won the game 111-97, as a tie game heading into the fourth quarter was blown open by New York’s second unit. That is something Clippers’ head coach Tyronn Lue is going to have to figure out in the coming weeks as the team’s strength, its depth, was depleted to acquire Harden.

Immanuel Quickley, Josh Hart, Isaiah Hartenstein and Donte DiVincenzo were a driving force in the dominant fourth quarter. The Knicks outscored the Clippers 35-21 in the final stanza to pick up their third win of the season. All four players finished with plus/minus ratios of at least +10.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: James Harden, Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers Updates

It was great to see the bench play well, helping overcome the struggles of point guard Jalen Brunson. After scoring 45 points against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night, Brunson just didn’t have it Monday night as he scored only seven against the Clippers, shooting 2-of-12 from the field.

Luckily for the Knicks, Julius Randle was able to get things on track. He scored a season-high 27 points, shooting 9-of-21 from the field, 3-of-8 on 3-pointers and 6-of-6 on free throws. Randle added 10 rebounds and three assists for the best game of the 2023-24 NBA campaign thus far.

Helping carry the load in the starting lineup was RJ Barrett. After missing the last two games because of knee soreness, he picked up right where he left off, scoring an efficient 26 points. He added six rebounds and four assists.

Mitchell Robinson also deserves some praise for his level of performance. He scored a season-high 13 points to go along with 15 rebounds as he continues to be dominant in the paint for New York. His work on the offensive glass is truly astounding, as he pulled down nine more against the Clippers. On the season, he has more offensive rebounds than some teams.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: James Harden, Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers Updates

Harden found some success in his debut, scoring 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field, going 2-of-4 on 3-pointers and making all three of his free throws. He added six assists, three rebounds and one steal in the loss.

There is a lot of work to do when it comes to the starting five, as Harden, Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Ivica Zubac will need time to build up chemistry and cohesion. Against the Knicks, the continuity was just not there as every starter finished the game with a negative plus/minus ratio.

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About Kenneth Teape 3858 Articles
Kenneth Teape is an NBA Reporter for NBA Analysis Network. He covers all things across the league, including both news and editorial work. Make sure to follow Kenneth on Twitter at @teapester725.