Julius Randle Is Man on Fire; Powers Knicks Past Philly, 103-96

A fiery Julius Randle put the Knicks on his shoulders and scored clutch bucket after clutch bucket down the stretch to lead NY to a 103-96 win in Philadelphia. And when he needed help, Kemba Walker came out of nowhere to hit a key bucket in the clutch. “He is called Cardiac Kemba for a reason,” explained KnicksToge.

Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris were both out for the 76ers due to COVID protocols, and Ben Simmons hasn’t played yet this year, but the 76’ers were still 8-2 coming in, with a solid team behind them led by Andre Drummond at center — who grabbed 25 rebounds in this game. NY goes to 7-4 with the win; Philly drops to 8-3.

1. Randle Man on Fire

Julius Randle commented after Sunday’s MSG loss to Cleveland that the Knicks didn’t play with as much energy, fight, or will as their opponent and that needed to be remedied. He blamed himself — saying he needed to “be better as leader of the team; talk more; play with more energy whatever I gotta do I.”

He backed up his words with actions in this game. He played with ferocious energy all night and was a man on fire late in the 4th quarter with the game on the line.

With the Knicks up 1 point with 5 minutes left, Randle drove for a bucket and 3-pt lead.

He then hit a 3 next time down and NY had a 6-pt lead, 94-88, with 4:21 left.

After Furkan Korkmaz hit a 3 to pull Philly back to within 94-91, Randle countered with Another 3 to regain NY’s 6-pt advantage.

2. Cardiac Kemba

And then Kemba Walker came out of nowhere to hit a floater off a drive plus a foul, for a 100-91 Knick lead with 2:19 left after he hit the free throw.

Derrick Rose has been finishing games for NY, and it was easy to miss that Kemba had quietly entered the game at the 5-minutes left mark.

Randle grabbed an offensive rebound off an RJ Barrett drive and put it back for another bucket with 1:11 left to give NY a 102-91 victory to ice it.

Philly came back with an Andre Drummond dunk and Tyrese Maxey 3 to pull within 6 with 27 seconds left, but Immanuel Quickley — purposely fouled — hit one of 2 free throws for the final score 103-96.

3. Barrett Good Overall Game

Derrick Rose deflected a pass to steal the ball, fed Immanuel Quickley, who led the break and fed RJ Barrett in the right corner for a Huge 3 to give NY  89-82 lead with 6:56 left.

But Philly kept coming back.

Barrett missed several 3’s down the stretch and missed a drive that it looked like he got fouled on — but overall had a strong game: 15 pts on 6-20 shooting (2-8 from 3, 1-1 in free throws), 10 rebounds, 4 assists, and a block.

4. Knicks Led by 19 in 1st Half

The Knicks were rolling in the 1st half, and took a 19-point lead in the 2nd quarter. Philly came back to hit a 3 by Tyrese Maxey 10 seconds before the half to pull to within 14 — a bad omen.

Philly then came out strong at the start of the 3rd — pulling to within 5 points with 4 minutes left in the quarter, on the scoring of Maxey (16 pts), Drummond (14 pts), Korkmaz (19 pts), Seth Curry (14 pts), Shake Milton (10 pts), and Georges Niang (15 pts).

The Knicks had a 3-pt lead entering the 4th and maintained it throughout — the lead shrunk to 1 point at the beginning of the quarter, but Alec Burks hit a big bucket to give NY a 3-pt lead; Philly pulled to within 1 again, but Derrick Rose hit a big bucket. And so it went until the last 5 minutes when Randle stepped up to finish it.

5. Noel Down with Knee Injury; Taj Steps Up

Nerlens Noel was playing great in the first half but went down after banging his knee in the 2nd quarter. He was writhing in pain on the floor but then was able to get up and walk to the lockerroom. It was reported it was a minor knee injury.

Mitchell Robinson was out for this game with a sprained hip, so Taj Gibson had to play the lion’s share of minutes against Andre Drummond and the Philly offense. He did a good job — defending the paint and finishing with 7 pts, 8 rebounds in 31 minutes.

Obi Toppin played 9 strong minutes (4 pts and a +10). Evan Fournier had a good shooting night — 11 pts on 5-8 shooting for a +12.


  • Randle finished with 31 points on 12-25 shooting (5-10 from 3, 2-2 in free throws), 12 rebounds, and 3 assists. He was a man on fire all night.

The Boxscore


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