Sure, Julius Randle scored over 30 points again and the battle between the Knicks’ All-Star and youngster Zion Willamson was epic. However, with the Knicks winning streak in jeopardy of being snapped late, it was Reggie Bullock and Derrick Rose who stole the show.
Rose scored five consecutive points, then assisted on Bullock’s game-tying 3-pointer and the Knicks went on to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 122-112 in overtime on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. The win was the sixth straight for New York (31-27).
Rose scored eight points in the fourth quarter, including five in a row in New York’s late rally. The Knicks trailed by six with 1:30 to play. After a timeout with 7.8 seconds to go, Rose penetrated the lane, attracted the defense and kicked the ball to the corner for Bullock. Bullock drained a trey to tie the game with 2.3 seconds left in the game. Next, Rose got the tip of his fingers on a last second shot by Eric Bledsoe to secure overtime.
“I thought about shooting it at first, but I saw Reggie in the corner,” Rose said after the game. “I delivered it on the spot and Reg is a great shooter.”
New York coach Tom Thibodeau praised Rose’s ability to make clutch plays when the game is on the line.
“No moment is too big for him. He has a lot of poise under pressure. The play that he made to pull people in to set up Reggie… that’s what we need.”
In overtime, the Pelicans looked deflated. The Knicks can out of the gate determined and full of momentum. Rose began the extra period with a bucket. Then, Nerlens Noel dunked off an alley-oop. Bullock canned a 3-pointer and the Knicks went up 110-105. Then, Noel blocked a dunk attempt by Brandon Ingram. Rose scored on a runner in the lane. Finally, Randle nailed a trey that beat the shot clock by a fraction of the second to make it 117-109. Randle’s shot was the dagger. Immanuel Quickley and Randle put the game on ice with free throws in the waning seconds.
Randle didn’t have one of his better performances. As a matter of fact, he didn’t score until the second quarter. He shot only 11 for 28 from the field, but still managed to finish with 33 points and 10 assists. Randle has now scored 30-plus points in four consecutive games.
Meanwhile, Williamson was brillaint in his Madison Square Garden debut. The Duke product went head-to-head all afternoon with Randle. Willamson scored 34 points on 13 of 23 shooting, including some impressive slams. The second-year forward’s play was an integral part of New Orleans’ rally from a 13-point halftime deficit.
Rose finished with 23 points and five assists. RJ Barrett added 18 points before fouling out. Bullock contributed 15 points, including the biggest shot of the contest.
“We had several people step up,” Thibodeau said. “Nerlens’ block, Reggie’s shot, Julius throughout, scoring timely baskets. Kevin Knox going in, doing a good job, Frank doing a good job, Quick stepping up late, and that’s what you need. You need everyone. We didn’t play great in the second half, but we found a way to win the game.”
Bledsoe had a strong effort for New Orleans with 22 points. Brandon Ingram chipped in 19 for the Pelicans, who fell to a record of 25-32.
The six game homestand continues for the Knicks when they play crucial back-to-back games against Charlotte and Atlanta on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.
(AP Photo/Adam Hunger, Pool)
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