NBA: Randle's late heroics lead Knicks over Magic

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jan 19 2021 05:39 AM

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (middle) shoots against Orlando Magic center Khem Birch (24) and forward Aaron Gordon (00) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Kathy Willens/Pool Photo/USA TODAY Sports

New York's Julius Randle scored seven of his 21 points in the final 93 seconds Monday and the Knicks held off Orlando 91-84 to open an NBA holiday slate.

Randle shot only 5-of-19 from the floor but added 17 rebounds while R.J. Barrett had 22 points and 10 rebounds as the Knicks, who ripped Boston on Sunday, won on consecutive days for the first time in 41 tries over more than three years.

"Back-to-back is always tough for us," Randle said. "We had the lead the whole game, played well. They made a run. Stayed together.

"I couldn't throw a rock in the ocean but we got it done. It's a great win for us."

Later games on the US holiday paying tribute to civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. include Milwaukee at Brooklyn, pitting NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks against former MVPs James Harden and Kevin Durant, and Golden State at the reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers.

"The NBA always has a couple games throughout the schedule that you want to be a part of and this is definitely one of them," Randle said. "So it was great to get a home win on this day and honor his legacy."

In a sloppy contest at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks led 19-13 after the first quarter, boosted the margin as high as 14 points early in the fourth quarter, only the squander the edge as the Magic made a late charge only to suffer a sixth straight loss.

Orlando made 12 3-pointers, half of them in the fourth quarter and the biggest coming when Terrence Ross sank a desperate 3-point heave with 1:41 remaining as the shot clock was expiring for an 81-80 Magic lead, their first since the middle of the opening quarter.

But the Knicks closed with an 11-3 run for the victory, Randle sinking five free throws in the decisive span.

"Down the stretch I'm always going to have confidence to make plays," Randle said. "And that's what I tried to do."

New York (7-8) sank just 31-of-87 shots (35.6%) from the floor while the Magic (6-8) only made 29-of-86 (33.7%).

Nikola Vucevic led Orlando with 24 points and 14 rebounds while Ross added 19 off the bench and Aaron Gordon had 18 points, 17 rebounds and nine assists.

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