Julius Randle makes All-Star statement in 44-point bonanza for Knicks


Julius Randle hurt Atlanta on Monday night and is paving his way to Atlanta on March 7, prospective date of the All-Star Game.

Randle posted his Knicks-high 44 points, setting a career-high with 7 3-pointers as the Knicks won their third straight Monday, 123-112, over the Hawks at the fanless Garden.

Randle racked up his third game of 30 or more points extending his All-Star campaign and finished one point shy of his career high (set with New Orleans).

Randle hit a driving runner with 3:30 left and then his seventh 3-pointer to drive the lead to 112-107 and repel the Hawks’ comeback effort. Randle made 7 of 13 from 3 and was 14 of 22 overall. He was a career 28 percent 3-point shooter entering the season.

Appearing on “The Michael Kay Show” on ESPN radio before the game, Randle said an All-Star berth would mean “a lot, man. It’s definitely a goal I put down for me to accomplish when I got to the Knicks. It would be an amazing honor and mean a lot to me and my family. But I’m trying to keep the team first.’’

The All-Star voting from fans ends Tuesday.

“The most important thing is his impact on winning,” Thibodeau said. “Hopefully it will be recognized.”

julius randle scores 444 as knicks top hawks
Julius Randle hit seven three-pointers vs. Atlanta.
Getty Images

The Knicks moved to 14-15 under their first-year coach Tom Thibodeau and have won five of seven games. After 29 games last season, the Knicks were 7-22.

“[Thibodeau’s] attention to detail is unbelievable,’’ said Randle, who had nine rebounds and five assists. “We go into games so prepared like every game is a playoff game. That’s how good he is. He’s a complete culture-changer for sure. He’s held everyone accountable. We’re all enjoying the process.”

One of the least productive 3-point shooting teams in the NBA, the Knicks banged in a season-high 17 3-pointers. RJ Barrett added 21 points and made two fourth-quarter 3-pointers.

The Knicks buried the Hawks in the first quarter, 39-28, but gave it all back — mostly from the free-throw line. They found themselves trailing by six in the third quarter.

Randle collected 17 points in the first quarter when he went 7 of 8 — 3 of 4 from 3-point range, continuing his outstanding season. In scoring 39 points in that opening quarter, the Knicks shot 68.2 percent — not too shabby for an offense ranked last in the league in points.

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Scott Friedman

Scott Friedman

Scott Friedman is the author of the Mobile & Technology section of Newzinto.


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