Skip to content

Knicks spoil Harden's Clippers debut at MSG in commanding win

Stephen Gosling / National Basketball Association / Getty

NEW YORK (AP) — Julius Randle scored 27 points, RJ Barrett had 26 in his return to the lineup and the New York Knicks spoiled James Harden’s debut with the Los Angeles Clippers with a 111-97 victory on Monday night.

Barrett had missed the previous two games with a sore left knee.

“The knee is still a little sore, but I’m just happy we got the win,” Barrett said. “You always want to be out there. It sucked that I couldn’t play, but I’m happy I wasn’t out too long.”

Harden played 31 minutes and had 17 points and six assists in his first game since being traded from the Philadelphia 76ers.

“Felt kind of weird out there, not really having a preseason game or an opportunity to participate in a full training camp, none of that,” Harden said. “I was out there just basically winging it, but I tried to go with my basketball instincts and what I’ve been doing for the last few years and whatnot, and just going out there and playing and thinking the game and trying to make the game easier for everybody else.”

Mitchell Robinson added 13 points and 14 rebounds as the Knicks snapped their two-game losing streak and recorded their first home victory of the season.

Donte DiVincenzo scored 12 points and Josh Hart had 10 for New York.

Kawhi Leonard led the Clippers with 18 points and Russell Westbrook scored 17.

The game was tied 76-76 after the third quarter, but a 7-0 run put the Knicks up for good.

New York’s lead grew to a game-high 17 points at 111-94 on Barrett’s 3-pointer with 2:07 left.

“It was terrific to have RJ back,” said Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau. “He’s grown. He’s a gifted scorer. He’s making plays. He’s getting downhill. Just having another wing with his size is critical.”

Westbrook had nine points as the Clippers took a 21-19 lead after the first quarter.

The Knicks took their biggest lead of the first half at 36-32 on Randle’s 3-pointer with 4:45 left in the second quarter.

“I’m not worried about him scoring the ball. We know how gifted a scorer he is,” Thibodeau said of Randle.

The Clippers scored the next six points and went on to lead 46-42 at halftime.

Leonard’s emphatic dunk gave Los Angeles its biggest lead of the game to open the second half, but the Knicks used a 12-4 run to go ahead 54-52.

The Clippers reclaimed a four-point lead on another dunk by Leonard with 4:20 remaining in the third quarter, but the Knicks followed with an 8-0 streak. Los Angeles came back to tie the game, and when Harden’s 3-pointer was countered by Immanuel Quickley’s with just seconds remaining, the third quarter ended in a deadlock.

Norman Powell added 14 points and Paul George finished with 10 for the Clippers, who lost backup center Mason Plumlee to a knee injury when Randle crashed into his leg going for a loose ball.


Los Angeles visits Brooklyn on Wednesday

New York hosts San Antonio on Wednesday