Julius Randle Drops 33 as Knicks Hold Off Zion Williamson, Pelicans for OT Win

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2021

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) shoots in front of New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Bledsoe (5) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 18, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger, Pool)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

The New York Knicks extended their winning streak to six with a 122-112 overtime victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.  

Julius Randle followed up his 44-point effort from Friday with 33 more Sunday at Madison Square Garden, while Derrick Rose (23 points) had one of his best games of the season.

It was still Reggie Bullock who had the biggest shot of the game while forcing overtime with a clutch three-pointer with 2.3 seconds remaining:

Randle and Rose took over from there to secure the hard-fought win.

The Knicks appeared ready for an easy win after a dominant second quarter put them up 13 points at halftime. The Pelicans returned the favor in the third to even the score at 79, while a back-and-forth fourth quarter kept things tied.

New York pulled away in the extra session for the squad's sixth win in a row, the franchise's longest streak since 2013-14. The 31-27 squad is also one step closer to clinching a playoff spot for the first time since 2013.

The Pelicans' playoff hopes are now in serious trouble after a third straight loss dropped them to 25-32, putting them 11th-best in the Western Conference. Zion Williamson scored 34 in his first NBA game at MSG but wasn't able to avoid another disappointing loss from the team.

      

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Notable Performances

Julius Randle, PF, NYK: 33 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds, 5 steals

RJ Barrett, SG, NYK: 18 points, 4 rebounds

Derrick Rose, PG, NYK: 23 points, 5 assists

Zion Williamson, PF, NOP: 34 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists

Eric Bledsoe, SG, NOP: 22 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds

Brandon Ingram, SF, NOP: 19 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds

     

Julius Randle Lifts Knicks to Another Victory

This game was an opportunity for Julius Randle to show his impact on a national stage, and he did his part.

Randle showed his savvy against a younger team, excelling on mid-range shots throughout the game:

He also attacked the rim when he found openings:

When he wasn't scoring, Randle was helping on both ends with 10 assists and five steals. He finished plus-14 in 47 minutes as the only starter on his team with a positive plus/minus.

The efficiency wasn't his best (11-of-28 from the field), but the All-Star was easily the best player on the floor for the Knicks and spent very little time on the bench. 

RJ Barrett provided plenty of help early in the game, scoring 10 points in the first on his way to an 18-point game. 

The guard also ended his night with six turnovers and fouled out with more than four minutes remaining in regulation.

New York also got plenty of production from Rose off the bench, providing his highest-scoring output since joining the team in February. His clutch plays down the stretch both as a scorer and passer helped the Knicks force overtime. 

Nerlens Noel deserves credit for his defensive impact after suffering a hand injury earlier in the day:

Randle still remained the star of the day with his complete effort in an important game.

     

Zion Williamson Adds to His Highlight Reel in Loss

Williamson has been red-hot since the All-Star break and came through with another big effort, topping 20 points for the 17th time in the last 18 games.

The forward showcased his ability to get to the basket in a number of ways throughout the game:

Even while missing all three three-point attempts, Williamson remained efficient with his 13-of-23 from the field.

Without a rim protector on the floor for much of the game for the Knicks, there wasn't much the opponent could do to slow Zion down. It continues an incredible start to the career for the 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick.

The Pelicans' supporting cast had some big moments as well to keep the game competitive, none bigger than Eric Bledsoe. The guard scored just two in the first half but finished with 22, coming up huge in the third to overcome an early deficit. 

It still wasn't enough to overcome the usual problems defensively as well as 6-of-27 shooting as a team from three-point range.

The quality effort from multiple players still resulted in a third straight loss for the Pelicans.

     

What's Next?

The schedule remains difficult for the Pelicans, which will return home to face the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday. The Knicks will host the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday to continue the six-game homestand.