Clear the agenda, we’re talking some New York Knicks basketball.
Last night, Julius Randle scored 40 points, Immanuel Quickley added 20 and the Kentucky Knicks have now won eight consecutive games. Their comeback win over Atlanta was the latest achievement on this recent run of success for New York and it was spearheaded by UK alumnus.
The Hawks, a primary Knick foe for mid-level East Playoff spots, led for most of last night’s game in the Garden before some good ole Kentucky boys found some urgency and closed the game out in overtime.
A few minutes into the fourth quarter, Atlanta hit a 3-pointer to extend their lead to eight with nine to play. Then, as Clyde Frazier refers to him, the neophyte, Immanuel Quickley, went on a personal spurt, dishing an alley-oop to Nerlens Noel and hitting a pair of triples on New York’s ensuing possessions to cut the lead to two.
Over the next few minutes, Julius Randle got to the line and hit four straight free throws to give the Knicks the lead. Atlanta battled back to tie the game on a contested three with six seconds to play and Randle missed the potential game-winner.
In overtime, Quickley and Randle re-took control of the game. In consecutive Knick possessions to open OT, Quickley hit a floater, dished it out to Randle for a three the next time down, and then Randle found Reggie Bullock and Nerlens Noel for back-to-back scores for a 10-0 run to bust the game wide open.
With 45 seconds to play in overtime, Quickley drained another three to officially shut the door on the Knicks’ eighth straight win. Check out all the ‘Cats acrobatics in the closing minutes of this one:
This eight-game winning streak has come over the course of just 13 days (not even two weeks!) and it’s powered by Kentucky guys. Randle looks like an alien force of nature on the basketball court compared to what he was at UK. He’s morphed into a lethal volume jump-shooter as well as a high-IQ passer that turned his body into a mid-air corkscrew to complete some of his dishes last night.
NBA folk are starting to seriously consider him on the fringe of the MVP discussion. Just insane how much he’s improved not only over this year, but since he entered the league in 2014.
New York is now 33-27, six games over .500 and firmly in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference Playoff picture, currently sitting as the no. 4 seed. If they can hold on to their slight lead over teams like Miami, Boston and Atlanta and not drop to seventh, they’ll have a guaranteed playoff spot. Heck, if the standings hold, they’ll host a first-round series. They’re the story of the season.
Fox and KAT battle it out in Sacramento
Two of the NBA’s crummiest organizations met last night in a game nobody east of the Mississippi could have possibly watched. While each franchise has been impressively terrible for most of the century, Minnesota and Sacramento each have young Kentucky-alum stars.
De’Aaron Fox came out on top last night as his Kings avenged Tuesday’s loss to Minnesota in a 128-125 showdown. Fox scored 30 points, his fifth time doing so in the last seven games, although just two came with wins, while Karl-Anthony Towns added 26 in another losing effort.
Jarred Vanderbilt even saw a good chunk of minutes and recorded 4 points and 6 rebounds during his stint.
Bam and Tyler lead Miami past San Antonio
In his follow-up to the game-winner he hit on Sunday (Bam sat out vs. Houston on Monday), Bam Adebayo led the Heat in scoring in a blowout victory over the Spurs. The fourth-year big dropped 23 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists while Tyler Herro came off the bench to score 22 of his own (second on the team) with 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
Miami has seen a lot of moving parts in 2021 on the periphery, due to trades, cuts and COVID, but has had Adebayo and Herro in the lineup most of the season. They’ve leaned on Bam as an anchor on both sides of the ball. He’s been terrific and is in the midst of an underrated career year, while Herro — not as consistent — has still provided a regular scoring threat off the bench in year two.
|Julius Randle (NYK)||137-127 W vs. ATL||40||11-21
|De’Aaron Fox (SAC)||128-125 W vs. MIN||30||8-20
|Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)||128-125 L @ SAC||26||7-17
|Bam Adebayo (MIA)||107-87 W @ SAS||23||8-12
|Tyler Herro (MIA)||107-87 W @ SAS||22||8-13
|John Wall (HOU)||112-89 L vs. UTA||21||8-19
|Immanuel Quickley (NYK)||137-127 W vs. ATL||20||7-11
|Devin Booker (PHO)||116-113 W @ PHI||19||6-14
|Tyrese Maxey (PHI)||116-113 L vs. PHO||14||5-11
|Enes Kanter (POR)||106-105 L vs. DEN||11||5-6
|Keldon Johnson (SAS)||107-87 L vs. MIA||9||3-8
|Nerlens Noel (NYK)||137-127 W vs. ATL||9||4-5
|Willie Cauley-Stein (DAL)||127-117 W vs. DET||8||3-4
|DeMarcus Cousins (LAC)||117-105 W vs. MEM||6||2-6
|Jarred Vanderbilt (MIN)||128-125 L @ SAC||4||2-3
|Patrick Patterson (LAC)||117-105 W vs. MEM||3||1-2
|Mychal Mulder (GSW)||118-114 L @ WAS||3||1-2
|Hamidou Diallo (DET)||127-117 L @ DAL||2||0-6
|Kevin Knox (NYK)||137-127 W vs. ATL||0||0-0
TODAY IN THE NBA
7:00: Suns (Booker) @ Celtics
7:00: Pelicans (Bledsoe) @ Magic
7:00: 76ers (Maxey) @ Bucks
8:30: Pistons (Diallo) @ Spurs (Johnson)
9:00: Hornets (Washington, Monk, Richards) @ Bulls
9:30: Lakers (AD IS BACK!!) @ Mavericks (Cauley-Stein)