NBA

Randle’s 35 takes the Knicks to Rockets to skate

Randle’s 35 takes the Knicks to Rockets to skate

HOUSTON — Julius Randle scored 35 points and Immanuel Quickley added 27 as a New York Knicks snapped a five-game skid with a 108-88 win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.

“It’s the nature of the league,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “You win eight in a row and then you have some tough losses … that’s part of it. How do you respond? We took a haystack … and we bounced back.”

The Rockets led for most of the first half, but the Knicks pulled ahead just before halftime and led by double digits for most of the second half.

Houston cut the lead to eight points on a Tari Eason basket with about nine minutes left before the Knicks scored the next seven points, capped by an Evan Fournier 3 that made it 91-76.

The Rockets scored the next four points, but New York responded with an 8-0 run, capped by 3s from Quickley and Quentin Grimes, to extend the lead to 99-80 with about four minutes left.

Thibodeau was asked how his team bounced back after falling behind early.

“I thought our ball pressure was a lot better, which led to turnovers that got us into the open floor,” he said. “The boys played very hard and very unselfishly.”

Kevin Porter Jr. had 23 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Rockets, who have dropped three straight. Houston opened the game strong, scoring 35 points in the first quarter, but had a terrible second, scoring just 14 points to allow the Knicks to close the gap.

The Rockets committed 24 turnovers and made just 6 of 34 3-pointers after hitting 8 of their first 12.

“It’s hard to win with (24) turnovers as a team,” Porter said.

Houston veteran Eric Gordon was asked if he has seen an improvement in the team since the start of the season.

“There is no improvement,” he said.

Randle had 12 rebounds and six assists and Quickley had seven assists and five rebounds before both sat for good with about two minutes left.

Quickley has been a great replacement for injured star Jalen Brunson. He had a game-high 15 assists in his first start for Brunson and scored a career-high 36 points in his second start Thursday before putting on another strong performance Saturday.

“It wasn’t what he did for himself, it was what he did for our team,” Thibodeau said. “That was very valuable to us.”

A 7-1 run by the Knicks extended the lead to 76-62 late in the third quarter. Porter and Jalen Green then hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start an 8-1 run that put Houston up 7. But New York scored the final five points of the third, capped by a 3 by Grimes, to take an 82- 70 on the scoreboard. fourth

MONTH OF RANDLE

Randle’s performance on Saturday capped off a fabulous month in which he had seven games with at least 30 points.

“I just had a monster month,” Thibodeau said. “We also ask him to do a lot. He’s scoring, passing, rebounding.”

ADVICES

Knicks: Brunson missed his third straight game with a hip injury. … RJ Barrett missed a second straight game with a broken right index finger. … Grimes had 19 points. … Mitchell Robinson had 12 rebounds.

Rockets: Alperen Sengun was a late scratch with back pain. … Green added 16 points. … Gordon had 12. … Rookie Jabari Smith Jr. scored 10. … Eason had nine points and 13 rebounds off the bench.

UNTIL THE NEXT

Knicks: Host Phoenix on Monday night.

Rockets: Host the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night.



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