Knicks takeaways from Wednesday’s 121-106 win against Hornets, including Evan Fournier’s record-setting night

Evan Fournier shoots a jumper in Charlotte, all white uniform

Evan Fournier shoots a jumper in Charlotte, all white uniform

With Julius Randle out for a second consecutive game (quad tendon) and Mitchell Robinson (lower back) also sidelined, the Knicks went with a starting five of Jericho Sims, Obi Toppin, Alec Burks, Evan Fournier and RJ Barrett in their matchup against the Charlotte Hornets.

Here are the takeaways…

– The only way to describe the first few minutes of this one was fast. “No defense” would also work. Both teams had hot starts to the game with the Knicks starting an impressive 7-of-9 from the field. But after a 15-14 start, with each team carving out the others’ defense, New York finished the quarter on a 25-10 run, highlighted by an unwillingness to miss from deep. Even Toppin and Taj Gibson were making it rain, with Gibson hitting a three to end the quarter and cap the run that gave the Knicks a 40-24 lead after 12 minutes.

– But the hot shooting didn’t stop there. Known more for grabbing boards and blocking shots and not splashing threes, Gibson hit another one from downtown, and Miles McBride and Immanuel Quickley quickly followed suit as the tempo mirrored that of a track meet rather than a basketball game.

Fittingly, on a day that the Knicks seemingly couldn’t miss from long range, Fournier, who was three threes away from tying John Starks’ Knicks single-season record for three-pointers made (217), hit a corner three (his favorite spot) while falling in front of the Knicks bench to tie the 27-year-long record. New York grew its lead to a game-high 20 points but a 7-0 Charlotte run in the final minute of the half brought the Hornets to within 13 as the Knicks head into the locker room with a 69-56 lead.

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– As hot as the Knicks were in the first half shooting the ball, the Hornets were just as cold, shooting just 5-of-21 from downtown compared to 14-of-26 for New York. That all changed in the third quarter when LaMelo Ball came alive. An 11-2 Hornets run, led by Ball, saw the Knicks’ lead shrivel to eight points.

But Barrett was determined to outshine the youngest Ball brother and hit a timely three to give New York some breathing room once again. Never one to shy away the limelight, Ball answered with a three of his own as the hot shooting continued. Not to be outdone, Fournier hit his fourth three-pointer of the night to give him 218 on the season and sole possession of the club’s single-season record. And after appearing in danger of squandering yet another big lead in the quarter, the Knicks steadied themselves and led after three, 99-87.

– After three quarters of high flying offenses, the fourth quarter saw a a bit of a stalemate. But despite a valiant effort from the Hornets, the Knicks held on to their lead and won 121-106.

But the story in this one really was the shooting. In fact, all eight players who attempted a three made at least one. Barrett led New York in points with 30 and Toppin, who played 40 minutes in his starting role, capped the game off with a couple of dunks to send the Knicks fans in Charlotte home happy.

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What’s next

The Knicks have a day off before heading to Miami to play the Heat on Friday night at 8 p.m.

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