Knicks takeaways from Wednesday’s 106-103 victory over the Nuggets, including Julius Randle’s dominant night

Julius Randle celebration close crop solo blue sweater

Julius Randle celebration close crop solo blue sweater

The Knicks pulled off a 106-103 victory over the Denver Nuggets to improve to 2-0 on their West Coast journey and 8-7 overall.

Here are the takeaways….

Julius Randle had his best game of the season, dominating front-to-back with 34 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and four steals on 11-of-21 shooting from the field.

– Randle and Jalen Brunsonwho finished with 21 points and seven assists led the offense late.

– A breakaway dunk and finish by Randle, followed by free throws by Brunson, gave the Knicks a 99-98 lead with just under three minutes to play. Randle’s crowding defense and dive on a loose ball gave Brunson an open dunk to go three.

Cam reddish attacked from a Randle find to cap off a 12-0 Knicks run to put them at five. Bones Hyland responded with an and-one and an extra finish on the rim to tie the game back at 103 with one minute to play.

– A Randle free throw gave the Knicks a one-run lead. Jericho Sims stopped Jamal Murray on a switch at the far end, and Brunson dropped two free throws to extend the lead to three with ten taps to go. Murray had another try that fell short, nicely defended by Immanuel Quickly.

– Despite the late misses, Murray looked like his vintage self with 21 points to lead Denver with Hyland. They were without a reigning two-time MVP Nikola Jokic and Aaron Gordon.

RJ Barrett struggled mightily, starting 0-6 from the field, finishing 0-9 from deep for just 11 points and riding the pine in crunch time. Thankfully, Reddish stepped up for another masterful two-way performance, recording 10 points, two steals and a block while holding Michael Porter Jr. to shoot 1-for-8 from the field.

– Denver started 9-2, with Barrett pressing early, forcing shots and being cooked at the other end by Murray. Randle responded with a hot start, scoring 12 points in the first quarter to tighten up the game.

— The Knicks bench came in later in the quarter and picked up where they left off on Tuesday night. Quickley scrambled defensively and onto the boards while Obie Toppin hit a three and scored on a leak to give the Knicks a 30–27 lead after one.

– Quarter two was a back-and-forth affair to begin with. Sims turned in another steady defensive performance from the bench, and Derrick Rose had some excellent moments on his way to 13 points. Hyland answered with some deep threes.

– The starters came back half way through. Barrett went missing en route to a 2-for-12 shooting half. Randle caught up and tacked another 12 in the quarter to bring his first half total to 24. The Knicks led 55–54 at halftime.

– The third quarter started out as more of the same. Brunson hit a pair of threes and found Barrett easy buckets. But Denver hit back with their own threes and ball moves.

– Quickley again controlled the game well as he checked in the third quarter. On the other hand, Bruce Brown made timely plays and finished with 12 points. Denver led going into the fourth, 84-80, on a buzzing hit from Hyland.

– Hyland opened the fourth with a four-run game, and the Nuggets ran out to a two-digit lead early in the period, the largest for either team to that point.

– Head coach Tom Thibodeau concluded with Randle-Toppin’s frontcourt, benching Barrett for Quickley. The Knicks fought back by single digits, fighting slowly to get the game close to closing it out.

– Thibodeau also stuck to his shortened rotation, with Evan Fournier and Quentin Grimes not playing despite Barrett’s struggles.

Highlights

What’s next

The Knicks continue their road trip when they take on the defending champion Golden State Warriors at 10 p.m. on Friday

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