The New York Knicks fought tooth and nail against the New Orleans Pelicans, winning in overtime and extending their winning streak to six.

Round two of the New York Knicks (31-27) vs. the New Orleans Pelicans (25-32) was a closer fight than round one. This afternoon’s contest was scrappy and physical and required an overtime period to be decided. New York came out victorious by 122-112, pushing their current winning streak to six games—their longest winning streak since the 2013–14 season.

Julius Randle led the Knicks’. Randle finished with 33 points, 10 assists, five rebounds, and five steals, his fourth consecutive 30-point game, the longest streak since Carmelo Anthony did it seven years ago. Alongside Randle, Derrick Rose provided some much-needed offense off the bench with 23 points and five assists. R.J. Barrett posted 18 points. For New Orleans, Zion Williamson recorded 34 points, nine boards, and five assists, Eric Bledsoe scored 22 points, Brandon Ingram added 19 points, and Steven Adams tallied 14 rebounds and 10 points.

Neither team had success finding the bottom of the net early on, combining for eight points in four minutes. The Knicks offense looked lifeless. Adams, who quickly put up eight points and five rebounds, was a chief tormentor. He kept Nerlens Noel busy by endlessly fighting for position near the basket, which allowed the Pelicans to score at the hoop repeatedly. They continued to do just that when Taj Gibson subbed in for Nerlens Noel.

Barrett was the only thing saving the Knicks from a truly disastrous start. While he shot 4-of-7, good for 10 points, the rest of the ‘Bockers shot 4-of-14. Meanwhile, Randle didn’t record a field goal until the second quarter but ended the half with 16 points. Randle’s overall play got the team going, propelled the Knicks to a 17-2 run. Williamson guarded him rather well, moving with him as he got to his spots, but Randle continued to hit shot after shot over him to ignite the Knicks offense. New York outscored New Orleans 36-19 in the second quarter and led 57-44 at the half.

Defensively, the Knicks put the clamps on New Orleans, contesting every shot and making the Pelicans struggle to score. Just as they did the last time they faced Williamson, the Knicks swarmed to him on every possession, forcing him to pass out of the post. Their physicality on the rest of the Pelicans forbade anyone else but Williamson (14 points on 6-of-11 shooting) from scoring double digits in the first half.

Bledsoe scored 10 points in the second half’s opening minutes and cut New Orleans’ deficit to two points. Coming off a strong second quarter, Randle cooled off, and the Knicks couldn’t find a solution. The Pelicans stormed back thanks to their terrific energy, fighting and hustling to get offensive rebounds and pushing the tempo on offense. The Knicks found it more difficult to contain Williamson, though, as he found the ball closer to the hoop, and it took multiple Knicks even to have a chance at stopping him.

Randle and Williamson continued to go head-to-head, trading buckets with one another. Barrett fouling out with four minutes put Randle at a disadvantage. However, he also received some help from Stan Van Gundy, who pulled Williamson briefly to get home some rest. He and the Knicks failed to take advantage of it, though, as the Pelicans only increased their lead.

Rose kept the Knicks in it with a pair of clutch scores. Noel hit a pair of free throws to make it a one-point game, and after Randle stripped Williamson of the ball, the Knicks had the chance to take the lead. Immanuel Quickley fired off his signature floater…and it bounced out of the rim. After the Pelicans pushed their lead to three, Reggie Bullock came to New York’s rescue by nailing a corner triple with 2.3 seconds remaining. A failed fadeaway from Bledsoe sent this one into overtime.

The Knicks scored the first four points of the extra period. Their newfound energy, emphasized by yet another dunk rejection from Noel, propelled them to victory.

Rose to the occasion

In the continued absence of Alec Burks, Rose provided New York with an offensive spark off the bench. He posted 11 points and three assists in 13 first-half minutes. He served as a bridge between the respective shooting sprees that Barrett and Randle went on.

Rose matched Burks’ scoring prowess in crunch time, too. With two big scores near the end of the fourth quarter and the first bucket of overtime off of an intercepted pass, the former MVP played a huge part in New York’s thrilling win.

Knox and Nitlkina appearances!

Kevin Knox was an early sub, playing small forward alongside Randle and Gibson to start the second quarter. He made his presence felt early by pump faking Williamson and sinking a pull-up jumper. Knox contested perimeter shots well and defense and found the space to fire up shots on offense, but this was his only basket.

Frank Ntilikina also found some playing time near the third quarter with Reggie Bullock in foul trouble. He hadn’t played multiple minutes in back-to-back games since the ‘Bockers took on the Wizards in consecutive games in late March. Both youngsters also found themselves on the court with the game on the line—Knox when the Knicks needed a triple and Ntilikina when the Knicks needed a stop to force overtime. Ntilikina also played in overtime after Bullock fouled out.

The Knicks continue their homestand with a matchup against the Charlotte Hornets (27-28) on Tuesday, April 20th. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.

 

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