Julius Randle scores career-best 57 but Minnesota Timberwolves slip past New York Knicks

NEW YORK (AP) — Julius Randle scored 57 points in one of the biggest nights in Knicks history. The Minnesota Timberwolves have had the hottest start in the NBA this season.

Even at a time when the totals on the scoreboards seem to be rising steadily, this spectacular display of shooting and scoring felt different.

“It was a movie,” said the Taurean Prince of Minnesota.

The Timberwolves overcame Randle’s performance with a shaky start and a steady finish to beat New York 140-134 on Monday night.

Prince posted a season-high 35 points and went 8-8 from 3-point range for the Timberwolves while Mike Conley added 24 points and 11 assists. His three free throws gave Minnesota a definitive lead with 2:17 left.

Randle’s last basket, a three-point game with 42 seconds remaining, reduced him to 137-134, but he was beaten to a rebound by Kyle Anderson on Minnesota’s next possession, and a slicing Prince scored with 10.1 seconds remaining , before Conley scored a free throw after Randle was called for a technical foul.

That led to Randle kicking himself in the butt for not playing defensively the night the offenses were decided.

“Jalen (Brunson) got a defensive stop, we’re three behind, it’s my job to get that rebound with 14 seconds to go,” Randle said. “If we do that then we have a chance to win the game – or not win the game but at least tie the game. So I didn’t do the work.”

The Timberwolves made more than 70% of their shots in the first half and led by 17 points before Randle brought the Knicks back in the third quarter with a franchise-record 26 points.

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He finished level on points with Richie Guerin behind the only two 60-point games in Knicks history, Carmelo Anthony’s 62 on January 24, 2014 and Bernard King’s 60 on Christmas Day 1984. But the Knicks had lost their three-game winning streak.

The all-star forward threw a powerful driving dunk in the first quarter, but did most of his damage from a much longer range. Randle made eight 3-pointers by surpassing his previous career high of 46 points.

The Wolves made their first 10 shots and didn’t cool down much for the rest of the game. They finished with 61.4% and slipped after three games, despite playing without Anthony Edwards for the second straight year due to a sprained right ankle.

“We’ve got shooters, baby,” center Rudy Gobert said.

Gobert’s basket made Wolves the first team this season to make their first 10 shots, and Knicks fans cheered loudly as Jaden McDaniels missed Minnesota’s next try almost seven minutes into the game. Wolves led 42-32 after one and shot 16 to 22 (72.7%).

Prince’s 3-pointer made it 70-53 with 4:35 in the first half, but the Knicks eventually put together some stops to make it 79-70 at the break.

Then Randle came back and went 9 for 10 in the third, hitting 5 for 6 over the arc. He raised a hand to blame himself after the one miss, an unwise effort that missed the edge by a few feet. But he could hardly be blamed for trying to ingest almost anything else he vomited.


Timberwolves: trainer Chris Finch said Karl-Anthony Towns is “very, very close” to returning from his calf injury.

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Knicks: Swingman Josh Hart came to the game wearing the No. 32 jersey worn by his great-uncle, Yankee great Elston Howard.


Finch said Edwards has so far done nothing but seek treatment, but Wolves only ruled him out on Monday, suggesting his injury is not as bad as initially feared. “Sure there is some relief,” said Finch. “But you know Ant, how Ant always wants to play. He never thinks he’s hurt, so hopefully what he says makes it feel better. But in terms of pain tolerance, range of motion, stability, all those things, I think we’re trying to figure out where that really is with him.”


Former Knicks coach Rick Pitino will return to the sidelines at Madison Square Garden for some St. John’s games after being signed from Red Storm on Monday. The school announced he would be introduced at a press conference at the arena on Tuesday.

“When I was a young coach, I watched his drills at Providence,” said Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau. “So he’s a good man, a great coach and I know he’s going to do a great job at St. John’s.”


Timberwolves: host Atlanta on Wednesday.

Knicks: Wednesday in Miami. ___

AP NBA: and

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