The Knicks dropped their regular season opener to the San Antonio Spurs,120-111, on Wednesday night.>> Box Score
Five things to know from Wednesday's game...
1) Before the game, David Fizdale announced that RJ Barrett would be starting in the backcourt, the Knicks head coach said that RJ was ready for the moment, and the third overall pick proved that in the early going. Barrett looked more than ready for the moment in his NBA debut, showing off his ability to attack the basket and convert on the fastbreak. Barrett finished his NBA debut with 21 points, five rebounds and two assists. The rookie shot 9-of-13 from the floor and was 1-of-3 from three-point range.
2) Marcus Morris's Knicks tenure got off to a strong start. In the first half, he led the team in scoring with 17 points of 6-8 shooting. He was also 2-for-3 beyond the arc in the first 24 minutes. The second half was a much different story for Morris, who struggled to find his shot. Still Morris finished with a team-leading 26 points on 9-of-18 shooting.
3) Julius Randle was just as advertised in his Knicks' debut. The point-forward showed off his versatility as both a low-post threat and a facilitator. He finished the night with 25 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists, but late in the fourth quarter, Randle landed awkwardly and appeared to suffer a left knee injury. He eventually limped off the floor, though he would return to the game after a brief spell.
4) With Fizdale electing not to start a true point guard on Wednesday, it was interesting to see how the backcourt rotation played out. In the first half, Dennis Smith Jr. played 10 minutes off of the bench while Elfrid Payton played six. Frank Ntilikina did not get any first-half minutes. To start the second half, Payton was on the floor alongside Barrett. With 2:32 left in the third quarter, Ntilikina finally made his game debut. Neither Ntilikina nor Smith Jr. made the most of their playing time, and they didn't exactly inspire much confidence moving forward.
Payton, on the other hand, had a very strong overall performance off the bench. He finished the night with 11 points, eight assists and five steals in 26 minutes, and played most of the crunch-time minutes for the Knicks. Trier, meanwhile played just six minutes the entire game.
5) The Knicks trailed by 16 points in the second quarter, but they turned up the defense in the third quarter to take an 84-83 lead into the fourth. But the Knicks stumbled on both ends of the floor in the fourth. The Spurs outscored New York 37-27 in the final frame, pulling away late. The Knicks did manage to force 21 Spurs' turnovers, but the Spurs were still able to shoot 50.6% from the floor.
The Knicks' second game of the season will be on Friday night, when they take on the cross-town rival Nets at Barclays Center, with tipoff set for 7:30 PM.