Duke basketball star is behind recent turnaround of New York Knicks

Duke basketball star RJ Barrett (Frank Franklin II/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball star RJ Barrett (Frank Franklin II/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports) /

A former Duke basketball star has been the reason for recent New York Knick victories. 

The biggest surprise in the NBA continues to be the strong play of the New York Knicks, and the franchise can thank former Duke basketball star RJ Barrett for its recent success.

After a blowout victory over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night, where Barrett added 21 points, five rebounds, five assists, and two blocks, the two teams met at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.

New York looked slow and uninterested as the Wizards held a double-digit lead in the second half, but it was the former Blue Devil who jumpstarted the Knicks as the fourth quarter approached.

Barrett shook off a rough first half to bring his team with three points, 91-88, after a three-pointer with five minutes to play in the fourth quarter and a three-point play on the ensuing possession after a steal tied things at 91 as the Knicks never looked back, winning 106-102.

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RJ Barrett logged 42 minutes in the victory and ended with 24 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and three steals.

The Knicks then traveled to play Milwaukee, in which New York did not play All-Star Julius Randle and the Bucks sat stars Giannis Anntenkoumpo and Kris Middleton, and it was up to RJ Barrett to shoulder the scoring load. And he did just that.

Barrett was tied for the team-high with 21 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists in a 102-96 victory.

Duke basketball star at the center of Knicks return to relevancy

The Knicks have won three games in a row, but its two losses in its last five games have come against the same team, the Philadelphia 76ers, by a combined four points.

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New York will take the floor again on Monday, March 29 against the Miami Heat at 7:00pm EST in Madison Square Garden.

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