Skip to content

Randle scores 31 points to help the Knicks beat the Rockets

Nathaniel S. Butler / National Basketball Association / Getty

NEW YORK (AP) — Julius Randle scored 31 points, Jalen Brunson added 30 in his return from a two-game absence and the New York Knicks beat the Houston Rockets 109-94 on Wednesday night.

Brunson missed two games because of bruised left calf and Randle struggled without his point guard in a loss to Orlando on Monday, shooting 5 for 18 for 15 points. But the offense was flowing nicely again in the second half Wednesday, when the Knicks pulled away after leading by two at halftime.

OG Anunoby had 15 points for the Knicks, who with the victory on coach Tom Thibodeau's 66th birthday reached the halfway point of their schedule at 24-17. Josh Hart finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Fred VanVleet had 24 points and 12 assists for the Rockets. They went 1-5 on a six-game trip. The lone victory came against NBA-worst Detroit and was followed by losses in Boston, Philadelphia and New York.

Alperen Sengun added 18 points and 10 rebounds in Houston's eighth straight loss to New York.

VanVleet, who had been held in single digits in the previous two games, scored five straight points to cut New York’s lead to 54-53 early in the third quarter. Anunoby then made consecutive 3-pointers and the Knicks outscored the Rockets 20-9 over the next 7 1/2 minutes to open a 74-62 lead.

New York eventually blew it open when Brunson scored, Anunoby was converted a three-point play after a nice feed from Randle and Hart maybe a layup in a 7-0 spurt that gave the Knicks a 98-81 with 4:48 remaining.

The Knicks are 1-1 on a four-game homestand this week. They host Washington on Thursday before a visit Saturday from the Raptors, the first between the teams since their trade last month that brought Anunoby to New York and sent RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to Toronto.

Though the Knicks are 7-2 with Anunoby, the trade left them vulnerable to scoring slumps whenever both Brunson and Randle don't have good nights. When they both play well like Wednesday, there is more than enough offense for a team that has improved defensively since the deal.

The Knicks led 48-46 at halftime. Brunson scored 20 points in the second half and Randle had 17.


Rockets: Host Utah on Saturday night.

Knicks: Host Washington on Thursday night.