Two NBA games broke out in Sacramento Thursday, both decisive blowouts.
For the first 23 minutes, the Kings brought most of the energy and set the pace, jumping out to a 20-point lead over a Knicks team that looked every bit on the second leg of a back-to-back.
But the visitors woke up in the second half, winning the final 25 minutes by 36 points and grabbing a deceptively easy 131-115 win over the Kings.
Julius Randle was the key. After shooting poorly and often in the first half, he kept gunning and attacking in the second, and it worked. He had 17 points in the third quarter en route to a career-high 46, showing the complete game that briefly made him the king of New York a year ago.
Randle poured in a career-high eight three-pointers, but it wasn’t just a hot shooting night for the mercurial forward. He consistently attacked the rim too, bouncing off the Kings’ inept post defenders for easy layups.
“We knew they’d let us back in it,” Randle said. “I just didn’t second-guess myself.”
Immanuel Quickley, putting his sophomore slump in the rearview, had another strong game to help the Knicks (27-38) to their first winning streak of any kind since Jan. 15. He had a season-high 27, including three 3s and a wild scoop shot in the fourth quarter. The game extracted a serious body count. Mitchell Robinson left after two minutes with an illness and didn’t return; Cam Reddish left after taking a hard fall on his shoulder. The Kings’ Domantas Sabonis was ejected after a technical foul he earned by bumping an official.