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Julius Randle, Knicks Beat Raptors to Extend Winning Streak to 9 Games

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 24, 2021

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) reacts with center Nerlens Noel (3) late during overtime of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, April 18, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger, Pool)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

For the first time since the 2012-13 season, the New York Knicks have won nine straight games. They reached the mark with a 120-103 victory over the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden on Saturday afternoon.

New York (34-27) is fourth in the Eastern Conference thanks to its winning streak. This is the first time it has been seven games over .500 since it won the Atlantic Division with a 54-28 record in 2012-13.

NEW YORK KNICKS @nyknicks

NINE STRAIGHT KNICKS WINS! https://t.co/TT7KjXH6j8

That season, the Knicks won 13 consecutive games from March 18 to April 9.

The Raptors kept the game close through the first three quarters. The Knicks led 88-83 heading into the fourth, but they used a 14-3 run to open things up.

Coming off a 40-point, 11-rebound, six-assist game against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, Julius Randle continued his red-hot play. He scored 20 of his 31 points in the first half and finished 5-of-7 from three-point range.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

20 PTS and four 3PM in the first half ๐Ÿ”ฅ Julius Randle is cooking at MSG again (via @nyknicks) https://t.co/w3rqGBah9j

The crowd at MSG was appreciative of Randle's efforts, as he received MVP chants:

ESPN @espn

๐Ÿ—ฃ M-V-P Julius Randle started receiving MVP chants from the home crowd in MSG ๐Ÿ‘ https://t.co/KmlEK8h8hT

Even though he's been overshadowed by Randle, Derrick Rose has thrived lately. The 2010-11 NBA MVP had 19 points and seven assists off the bench for head coach Tom Thibodeau. He is shooting 60.9 percent from the field over the past five games.

NBA @NBA

Derrick Rose goes to work again... it's a 14-3 @nyknicks run to open the 4th on ESPN! ๐Ÿ”ฅ https://t.co/m9wiPa8JO4

RJ Barrett rebounded from a rough game against the Hawks (6-of-18) with 25 points on 8-of-16 shooting and 12 rebounds.

Beyond that trio, the Knicks feature impressive depth. Immanuel Quickley scored 20 points off the bench against the Hawks on Wednesday. On Saturday, Obi Toppin and Taj Gibson scored nine points apiece in just 27 minutes combined.

Thibodeau's defense held the Raptors to 43.4 percent shooting. Kyle Lowry tied his season-low with four points on 1-of-10 shooting (0-of-8 from three) in 36 minutes.

New York is closing in on its first playoff berth since 2012-13, when it advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The way the team is playing on both ends of the court could make it a dangerous opponent for anyone.

The Knicks' most difficult test during their winning streak is next, when they host the Phoenix Suns (42-17) at 7:30 p.m. ET Monday.