LOS ANGELES: Julius Randle carried the offense, scoring 31 points and grabbing 10 rebounds as the New York Knicks won their ninth NBA straight game by routing the Toronto Raptors 120-103 on Saturday. The Knicks are in the midst of their longest winning streak in eight years, since they won 13 straight in the 2012-13 NBA season.
RJ Barrett scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half and had 12 rebounds and Derrick Rose chipped in with 19 points for the Knicks, who also won their seventh consecutive home game. “We’re peaking but we can still get a lot better,” Randle said. “Obviously offensively we’re playing well, but defensively for a full 48 minutes I feel like we can be a lot better.”
New York shot 56 percent from the floor and made 16 shots from beyond the arc in front of the pandemic-limited crowd of 1,900 at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks improved to 34-27 on the season and are six and a half games behind the first place Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference. The 12th place Raptors dropped to 25-35.
Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby scored 27 apiece for Toronto, who saw a four-game winning streak halted. Pascal Siakam poured in 26 points, and VanVleet added 11 assists for the Raptors, who shot 43.4 percent from the floor. A week ago, the thought of any team beating the Philadelphia 76ers twice in three days would have seemed a daunting task. But Milwaukee took care of business Saturday as Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 24 points to move into second place in franchise history for points scored as the Bucks clobbered the struggling Sixers 132-94 in Milwaukee.
Antetokounmpo also had 14 rebounds and seven assists as he passed Glenn Robinson to reach 12,023 in his career. Robinson finished with 12,010. Antetokounmpo trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (14,211) for the club record. “It’s a great compliment,” Antetokounmpo said. “I’ve got to keep working hard. It’s a marathon. It’s not a sprint. So I’ve got to keep working hard, keep believing in myself, keep polishing my skills, keep having great teammates that I love to be playing (with), a great coaching staff. It’s good. It’s a lot of hard work that paid off, but I’ve got to keep moving forward.”
The Bucks completed the three-game season sweep of the Sixers and now hold a playoff tiebreaker if both teams finish with the same record. Milwaukee sits two-and-a-half games behind the Nets in the East. The demands of the recent schedule have been extraordinarily tough for Philadelphia, who were without Ben Simmons for a fourth straight game with an illness. Just prior to tip-off the Sixers learned star center Joel Embiid couldn’t play because of a sore shoulder. Embiid has now missed 19 games this season.
Bobby Portis added 17 points, Bryn Forbes and Jordan Nwora each had 13 and Jrue Holiday had 12 points for the Bucks. Shake Milton and Tyrese Maxey led the Sixers with 15 points apiece. Seth Curry added 13 points and Dwight Howard chipped in 12 rebounds for 76ers, who have lost four straight. In Dallas, Luka Doncic finished with 18 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds as the Dallas Mavericks came from behind to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 108-93. Dallas trailed by 17 points but then seized command in the fourth and stretched their lead to double figures before putting the finishing touches in the stretch drive.
Dwight Powell posted a game-high 25 points and nine rebounds, Dorian Finney-Smith finished with 21 points and seven rebounds in the win. Ben McLemore scored 20 points to lead the Lakers, who shot a dismal 12-for-45 from the three-point range. In Salt Lake City, Karl-Anthony Towns scored 24 points with 12 rebounds as the Minnesota Timberwolves stormed back from a 17-point deficit to upset the Utah Jazz 101-96. – AFP