Knicks Bench Entire $200M Backcourt In 2nd Half Of Brutal Loss

This is not what the New York Knicks had in mind when they handed out $100M+ contracts to both RJ Barrett (extension) and Jalen Brunson (free agent) this offseason. The two were benched for most of the second half and the entire 4th quarter in the Knicks' 145-135 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday.

The 145 points allowed was the most the Knicks have surrendered in 16 years. 

After picking up his 4th foul trying to contain the seemingly unguardable Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Barrett was benched just two minutes into the second half and never returned. “It falls on me for sure because I was guarding Shai, and he got me into some foul trouble," said Barrett afterwards. "And that’s not good. I got to do a better job of not fouling.” 

Brunson was also not questioning coach Tom Thibodeau's decision to sub him out midway through the 3rd quarter—also to never return. “I mean, I wouldn’t have played myself either, the way I was playing defensively,” said Brunson. 

“We were looking for life," said Thibs, "and that group that was in there gave us a little bit of a spark, and so that’s what we went with.” That group featured a backup backcourt of Immanuel Quickley and Cam Reddish, who really did spark some life for the Knicks, with 24 and 26 points respectively. 

The Knicks are now 6-7 on the season, while the surprising Thunder are also 6-7. Not so surprising, however, is the scintillating MVP-like play of Gilgeous-Alexander who put up another 37 points and is now averaging 31 points a game with 5.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds. 

Photo: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports