The marquee national TV game on Friday night in the NBA featured an All-Star on either side, and in this case Knicks forward Julius Randle went toe to toe with Mavericks guard Luka Doncic and out-dueled the Dallas star.
Randle put up a monster 43-point, nine-rebound, six-assist line as New York won, 113-104. Most impressively, Randle did it over the course of the whole game, and was effective in the clutch for the Knicks despite enormous defensive attention from Dallas all night.
The first-time All-Star has been impressive for the Knicks, now 30-27, all season. But stealing games like these will be key to New York potentially avoiding the play-in game and really marching into the postseason for the first time in years.
It wasn’t just Randle on Friday night. Nerlens Noel put an exclamation mark on the win with a sick block on Dorian Finney-Smith in the fourth quarter. Rather than make the business decision of getting out of the way, Noel leapt at the rim and took away a flashy finish from Finney-Smith.
NERLENS NOEL WITH THE REJECTION 🖐 pic.twitter.com/ZBRQjEBu6J
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 17, 2021
The Knicks have a pretty cushy schedule the rest of the way and Tom Thibodeau is already leaning heavily on veterans like Randle, so this could spur a bit of a run for the Knicks, who have now won five straight after beating Dallas on the road.