Knicks snap three-game losing streak with win over Kings

As if the realization that Julius Randle wouldn’t be fit for the playoffs didn’t cast enough gloom over the Knicks’ home arena, another uninspiring start Thursday night certainly left the early-game crowd unsettled. Ta. garden.

But the Knicks battled back as usual, overcoming a 21-point deficit in the first half and going on a 13-0 run in the fourth quarter to snap their losing streak to three with a pivotal come-from-behind victory, 120-109. stopped. Beyond the Kings.

Jalen Brunson had 35 points and 11 assists in an MVP stretch, and Josh Hart had a season-high 31 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in 43 minutes since Randle was sidelined in late January. He almost achieved his seventh triple-double. .

Donte DiVincenzo scored 21 points for the Knicks against the Kings. charles wenzelberg

Donte DiVincenzo made five more 3-pointers for 21 points for the Knicks, who improved to 16-14 in the 30 games Randle missed.

They are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference in the playoffs with the same overall record as the Magic (45-31) with six games remaining, starting Friday night in Chicago.

With the official news that Randle will undergo season-ending surgery to dislocate his right shoulder, Hart and midseason acquisition Precious Achiuwa will continue to play the majority of their minutes at power forward heading into the postseason. Become.

Hart remained in the lineup Thursday, although he was listed as doubtful due to a wrist injury.

“The next guy to come in here and get the job done,” coach Tom Thibodeau said beforehand. “As I’ve told everyone from the beginning, we’re not going to replace Julius individually. We’re all doing it together. And that’s one of the things this team has handled very well.”

DiVincenzo said after the Knicks fell behind by double digits early against Miami on Tuesday, “We have to play with a sense of urgency from the get-go.” However, in the first eight minutes, the Kings scored 23 points in the first eight minutes. I realized that I had an advantage of 11 vs.

With the Knicks leading 35-20 in the first quarter, Myles McBride (12 points) missed all four 3-point attempts and all six field goal attempts, and De’Aaron Fox led Sacramento’s team-high. He scored 11 of his 29 points.

Just three minutes into the game, Fox’s 3-point shot increased the lead to 21 points.

Still, a classic 3-point play from Hart, a long-range bucket from DiVincenzo, and a steal and dunk from Brunson helped the Knicks surge to 16-2 and pull within seven points with four minutes left before halftime.

Jalen Brunson scored two of his 35 points on dunks in the Knicks-Kings game. charles wenzelberg

McBride finally got his first point with a minute left and after making seven mistakes on corner threes. Brunson finished the first half with 18 points, including a 3-pointer near the end, but the Kings led 60-52 at intermission.

Keegan Murray’s 3-pointer restored Sacramento’s lead to 14 points early on the 3, but DiVincenzo made two consecutive baskets from beyond the arc to make it 68-62 at the 8:11 mark. .

A Hart reverse layup, two McBride treys and a Hart breakaway dunk from Branson Steele cut the deficit to three points, but the Kings went on to score five more points.

Still, the Knicks fought back, and with one minute left in the third, DiVincenzo made his fifth 3-pointer, tying the score at 84, and the crowd erupted into a roar.

The Knicks then sank three consecutive free throws to take their lead for the first time since the start, but Fox sank a 3 with 10 seconds left to pull the Kings back into the final quarter at 87-87.

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson #11 drives past Sacramento Kings guard Keon Ellis #23 during the third quarter. Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Bojan Bogdanovic gave up five of his 12 points in four starts, and Hart’s drive-and-one with 7 minutes, 53 seconds left put the Knicks up by five.

It was part of a 13-0 surge by the Knicks, who took a 105-95 lead midway through the quarter as Brunson’s left-field 3-pointer got the crowd going.