The Knicks’ turn to a lethal force continued from a 3-point range Saturday night in New Orleans.
RJ Barrett, Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker combined in 15 of 19 Knicks out-of-the-arc contacts, firing 57.6 percent as a team from long distance to fend off the Pelicans in a 123-117 win at Smoothie King Center.
“I don’t want to be reckless [shots] And raced…just to raise the 3s. “It’s not what we’re trying to do,” said coach Tom Tibodo. “I think it takes the right shots and being disciplined about it and doing it together.
“The thing I love about our team is a lot of the time we like three or four hits and kicks in the same play. That’s when you play for each other and when you really are a team. Those are the hardest things to protect because you really can’t write it. These are just readings, so [if] We’re playing like this, we’re going to get a lot of points.”
The Knicks (5-1) entered the game first in the NBA with 16.2 3-pointers per game, including a franchise record of 24 in the October 22 win in Orlando. They made 11.8 3-pointers per game last year, and are 21st in the league.
They also finished third in the league with a shot percentage (39.2) from distance – behind the Clippers and Nets – but their 30.0 attempts per game ranked them 27th in the league.
With the outside additions of Locker and Fournier, Tibodou has confirmed a 3-point attempt increase this season. The immediate consequence is that the Knicks now average 117 points per game, a full 10 points higher than last year’s 26th in scoring.
“We have a goal, right,” Tibodo said, “but I want us to take the right goals.” “So if we’re 19 versus 33, that’s a percentage. Just take the right.”
“Sometimes if you focus on the number and start throwing it off recklessly, that hurts in your defensive shift. So we have to know when everyone is shooting at them and we have to make sure that we can get the right floor balance and that you have a chance to rebound offensively. Every That, that’s what winning basketball means. Choosing a shot is a big part of winning.”
In the first three minutes of the game, four different Knicks—Walker, Fournier, Barrett, and Randle—exhausted three throws to advance quickly 14-3.
Walker has sunk four of his seven attempts from outside the arc and has made 57.9 percent (22-for-38) of his 3-point attempts this season. Fournier turned five more games Saturday night to take the top 23 teams from six games.
Barrett, who has scored 35 career points, went 6-8 from deep and buried two 3-pointers in the last two minutes after the Pelicans played without injured superstars Zion Williams and Brandon Ingram twice. Knicks’ leads to two.
“I think we just play with good flow and go with what’s in front of us,” said Fournier. “I think that’s what happens when you share the ball, when you have players who are willing to pass the ball to each other and are happy to do that. It was a really good start to the season honestly. And we just have to keep improving.”