NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Knicks were already making plans for a trip to Las Vegas after learning they had advanced to the quarterfinals of the NBA Season Tournament.
In reality, their destination is Milwaukee, where they would need a victory over the Bucks to reach the Final Four in Las Vegas.
Even players are still learning how the new NBA event works.
Julius Randle scored 25 points and 20 rebounds, RJ Barrett scored 16 points and the Knicks advanced to the knockout stage with a 115-91 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday night.
“We all thought we were going to Vegas, I can’t lie,” reserve guard Immanuel Quickley said. “When we first won, we all said we were going to Las Vegas like we were going to Disney World when you go to the Super Bowl.”
The Knicks lost their chance to win Group B when the Bucks beat the Miami Heat to go undefeated in pool play. But the Knicks won the Eastern Conference wild card by tiebreaker due to their point difference in the preliminary round.
New York will visit the first place in the East next Tuesday.
The Knicks and Bucks were already scheduled to meet four times this season. Now there’s an extra game on the schedule against an NBA Finals favorite with a chance to actually go to Las Vegas.
“If they tell us we have to play this team five times, we’ll play them five times and we’ll be ready,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Whatever the schedule says, that’s what you get. Sometimes it’s in your favor, sometimes it’s not. “Just get ready to play.”
Quickley scored 23 points and Josh Hart added 17 as New York’s bench outscored Charlotte’s bench 50-35.
Hart didn’t really like the idea that, to get out of pool play, the Knicks would have to overtake their opponent.
“It was interesting. I don’t really like it,” she said. “At first we were just focused on winning. The last few minutes feel weird. At a certain point you start chasing points, doing all that. So it affects the integrity of the game a little bit.”
Brandon Miller, the second pick in the draft, scored 18 points and fellow first-round pick Mark Williams had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Hornets, who were without star point guard LaMelo Ball, who was out with a right ankle injury. which could leave him out of action for several games.
The 91 points scored by Charlotte were a season low.
“Our effort was really good tonight. Our purpose of the game was not,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “That’s what we have to learn from.”
New York led by as many as 16 points late in the second quarter and their lead was cut to 56-55 with 8:12 left in the third quarter after the Hornets went on an 11-2 run, capped by five points. . Bridges of miles.
It was the closest the Hornets would come, as they shot just 4 of 11 from the field and committed five turnovers en route to being outscored by the Knicks 24-11 the rest of the period to enter the fourth quarter with New York leading 80. -66.
Randle and Barrett combined to score 28 points to lead the Knicks to a 53-44 halftime lead.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Hornets: Remain in New York to play the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night.
Knicks: Host the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night.