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Knicks hold off Pacers in RJ Barrett’s return

Jan 11, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett (9) shields the ball from Indiana Pacers guard Buddy Hield (24) during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Brunson scored 34 points and RJ Barrett added 27 in his return from injury, lifting the host New York Knicks to a 119-113 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

Brunson made 11 of 20 shots from the floor and all nine of his attempts from the foul line on the heels of scoring a career-high 44 points in New York’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.

Barrett joined Quentin Grimes in sinking four 3-pointers and added eight rebounds after sitting out six games due to a finger injury.

Grimes finished with 18 points and Julius Randle collected 14 points and 16 rebounds. Immanuel Quickley scored 11 points off the bench for the Knicks, who have won five of their last six games overall.

New York defeated Indiana for the second time this season after posting a 109-106 victory on Dec. 18 in Indianapolis.

Indiana’s Buddy Hield drained seven 3-pointers to highlight his 31-point performance.

Rookie Bennedict Mathurin scored 20 points off the bench and Tyrese Haliburton added 15 before exiting with a sore knee for the Pacers, who played without Myles Turner (back spasms).

Indiana whittled a 25-point deficit down to two after Hield sank a 3-pointer with 3:10 remaining in the fourth quarter. Brunson answered with a driving layup and a 3-pointer on the next two possessions to push New York’s lead to 110-103.

Hield countered by sandwiching a layup and a four-point play around Brunson’s layup to cut the deficit to three points with 1:22 left. Grimes answered with a 3-pointer with 25.1 seconds to play, and his emphatic dunk with 6.1 second left sealed the win.

Barrett made his presence felt right out of the chute, draining two quick 3-pointers and setting up Mitchell Robinson for an alley-oop to stake New York to a 12-9 lead.

Brunson took over from there by scoring 13 straight points for the Knicks before Barrett’s left-handed layup gave his team a 27-15 advantage with 4:23 remaining in the first quarter.

Randle drained a 3-pointer to push New York’s lead to 62-39 late in the second quarter and Barrett converted from beyond the arc in the third to give the Knicks a 73-49 advantage.

–Field Level Media