Knicks Down Pistons
AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK — The All-Star Game is up next for Julius Randle. The playoffs might be there later for his team.
Randle capped his breakout first half with 27 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists, sending the New York Knicks into the break with a winning record after a 114-104 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night.
RJ Barrett added 21 points to help the Knicks improve to 19-18 in their first season under Tom Thibodeau. They have missed the playoffs for seven straight years but finished the first half in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
“As a group we’re not satisfied,” Randle said. “We haven’t accomplished what we want to accomplish.”
It’s been an unexpected rise for the longtime losers fueled by Randle, the workhorse power forward who was rewarded with his first All-Star selection.
“He’s a great worker and sets a great example for the team,” Thibodeau said. “So he’s been terrific and the impact on winning has been huge.”
So has Thibodeau’s, the former Coach of the Year whose players have taken to his style of outworking the competition.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Bradley Beal scored 33 points and Washington beat Los Angeles after Clippers’ All-Star Paul George was a late scratch.
Russell Westbrook had 27 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds for the Wizards. They won eight of 11 heading into the All-Star break.
Kawhi Leonard scored 22 points for the Clippers. George was listed as a starter but was replaced moments before tipoff due to dizziness.
BOSTON (AP) — Jayson Tatum had 27 points and 12 rebounds and Boston won its fourth straight game, outlasting short-handed Toronto.
Jaylen Brown added 21 points and seven rebounds, and Kemba Walker finished with 15 points.
Toronto, which played without starters Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby, along with Malachi Flynn and Patrick McCaw as they remained in the health and safety protocols, has lost four of five. Coach Nick Nurse and several members of his staff were also in the protocols, leaving the coaching duties to assistant Sergio Scariolo.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Jrue Holiday hit a baseline jumper with two seconds remaining and Milwaukee escaped with the victory over Memphis.
Rookie Desmond Bane had a final chance for the Grizzlies, but his 3-pointer hit the front of the rim, giving the Bucks their sixth victory in seven games.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 26 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, and Khris Middleton added 22 points and 10 rebounds.
Holiday and Pat Connaughton finished with 15 points each.
Ja Morant led Memphis with 35 points, 28 of them in the second half.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Jimmy Butler had 29 points and nine assists and Miami took advantage of Zion Williamson’s absence to beat New Orleans.
Butler made 10 of 14 shots and eight of nine free throws to help the Heat keep the Pelicans at bay. He added a late step-back 3 to give him 10 points during an 11-2 run that put Miami up 98-87 with 2:50 to go.
Brandon Ingram scored 17 points for New Orleans. Williamson was scratched because of a toe injury.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Nikola Jokic had 24 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, Michael Porter Jr. also scored 24 points and Denver beat Indiana.
Denver closed out the first half of the season with four straight road wins.
Myles Turner had 22 points and a season-high tying 12 rebounds for Indiana.
THUNDER 107 SPURS 102
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 33 points and Oklahoma City rallied in the second half to beat San Antonio.
Mike Muscala added 18 points, and Luguentz Dort had 15 for Oklahoma City.
San Antonio veteran DeMar DeRozan had 20 points, Trey Lyles added 15 points and 10 rebounds and Dejounte Murray had 14 points.