Julius Randle notched his sixth triple-double of the season to lead the Knicks past the Hornets in overtime, with their eyes still set on the fourth seed.

The New York Knicks (40-31) beat the Charlotte Hornets (33-38) by a final score of 118-109. Julius Randle finished with his sixth triple-double of the season: 33 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists, while Reggie Bullock backed him up with 17 points and six rebounds for New York. For the Hornets, Devonte’ Graham finished with 25 points off the bench while Miles Bridges had a team-high 30 points and four assists. With the victory, the Knicks remain alive for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.

A hint of everything in this game for the Knicks. We saw the good Knicks, pushing their lead to as high as 18 points on Charlotte was crisp ball movement and excellent shot selection. The Randle and Bullock show showed that both players carried New York to a hot start before Immanuel Quickley got into the action with a few outside jumpers. What felt like a bit of an afternoon trap game against a pesky Charlotte squad quickly became a blowout.

But then we saw the bad Knicks.

As New York was drifting into halftime with a double-digit lead, the Hornets fought back. Graham knocked down four threes in the span of four minutes, and that same three-ball that helped New York extend the lead came back to bite them. New York still had a nine-point lead heading into the half, but Charlotte began to see the ball go into the basket, and Hornets rookie Jalen McDaniels made some nice drives to the basket, preluding what Charlotte would get in the second half.

Charlotte’s offense came out well in the third quarter, turning this game from a Knicks blowout to a back-and-forth affair. While Charlotte seemingly got any and every finish at the basket, courtesy of Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington dunks, New York’s offense was sputtering. After a brief Quickley flurry in the third, the rookie was subbed out in favor of a veteran-led lineup. That lineup couldn’t find much going offensively, which only sunk New York’s offense even further.

But just when you thought the Knicks would hand this game away, the Knicks relied on Randle, the one constant this season, to carry them home. Randle first came with a quick three-pointer and then an elegant 20-footer to give New York the lead. After Charlotte tied the game, a bad Randle shot with 20 seconds, followed by a wide-open Graham airball, and the Knicks and Hornets were headed to overtime, tied at 104.

New York quickly regained their senses over the overtime period. After carrying them in the fourth quarter by scoring the ball, Randle found his teammates, finding both Burks and Bullock for threes and then a Nerlens Noel layup under the basket to push the lead to eight. Throw in Randle’s two free throws, and New York outscored Charlotte 10-2 within the first two minutes into the quarter, putting them away for the game.

Game Notes

  • It certainly feels like Elfrid Payton is assuming a Keith Bogans-like role for the Knicks come the playoffs. Over the last 14 games, Payton has played more than 20 minutes just once. With Derrick Rose and Alec Burks healthy, Payton should assume a smaller role, allowing Rose and Burks to play more and for New York to maintain more shooting flexibility throughout their playoff series.
  • Man, oh, man, did the bench guards come to play. Burks, playing on and off-ball, did a good job of offering an offensive threat with the ball. Derrick Rose, first game back off an injury, with a clean 15 points. Immanuel Quickley recorded 13 points, but a nice spell that helped New York extend the lead. Having multiple backcourt players who can shoot, drive and most importantly, keep the defense honest does wonders for Randle, Barrett, and whoever else is hot on offense.

  • Nerlens Noel had a hell of a game, not just because of his blocks but because of his defensive presence at the rim. Noel finished with eight points but 11 rebounds and five big blocks. The Knicks were noticeably poor when Noel was on the bench, and Noel was rewarded with some finishes around the rim. When he’s on like that, he’s a tough big man to get around.
  • A bad R.J. Barrett game. 4-of-10 for nine points with four rebounds and four assists. Barrett has had games like this before where the shot isn’t falling. The concern was that he was rather invisible on defense, as well, making him a complete zero for tonight—a tough game for the 20-year-old, but another game tomorrow for him to bounce back.

The Knicks host the regular-season finale at Madison Square Garden against the Boston Celtics (35-35) on Sunday, May 16th. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. ET.


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