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Julius Randle drives Knicks past Rockets

Dec 31, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets forward Bruno Fernando (20) is fouled by New York Knicks guard Quentin Grimes (6) as center Mitchell Robinson (23) tries to block the shot also in the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Julius Randle scored 35 points, Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes combined for 46, and the New York Knicks snapped a five-game losing skid with a 108-88 victory over the Houston Rockets on Saturday.

Randle added 12 rebounds and six assists to his ledger and was an assertive force for the short-handed Knicks, who were without starters Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett. Randle shot 9 of 20 overall and made five 3-pointers to pace what was a three-pronged offensive attack.

Quickley wasn’t the picture of efficiency. He missed 16 of 25 shots en route to 27 points but produced five boards, seven assists and three steals. Grimes added 19 points on 8-for-15 shooting. The Knicks secured their first double-digit lead in the third quarter, a period in which they shot 6 of 12 from deep. Randle, Quickly and Miles McBride hit successive 3s as the Knicks took a 69-59 lead.

The Rockets, who’ve dropped eight of nine, cooled considerably following a hot shooting start. Houston shot 37.7% and committed 25 turnovers that the Knicks flipped into 37 points. Kevin Porter Jr. posted 23 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Rockets while Jalen Green added 16 points but missed 8 of 12 shots. Both recorded five turnovers.

The first quarter offered ample promise for the Rockets, whose first seven field goals were 3-pointers. It wasn’t until Green sank a 17-footer at the 1:27 mark that Houston scored inside of the arc, that basket providing the Rockets a 28-22 lead. Houston hit 8 of 12 3-pointers in the first, with Green scoring 10 points and the Houston bench matching his individual production.

The second period was an altogether different story for the Rockets. They missed 11 of 12 threes, shot 27.3% overall, and committed five turnovers during a decisive Knicks run that closed the half. The Knicks carried a 19-5 run into the intermission, reclaiming the lead at 51-49 on a Randle corner 3 with 1:18 remaining and extending that advantage to four points by the break.

The Knicks concluded the first half 17 of 21 on free throws and converted 12 Houston turnovers into 15 points. Randle had 21 points prior to the intermission, converting 10 of 12 from the line.

–Field Level Media