Knicks record season-highs in points, shooting percentage in 129-107 win over Hornets

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NEW YORK (AP) — Julius Randle had 23 points, five rebounds and five assists, and the New York Knicks scored a season-high in their 129-107 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday.

R.J. Barrett scored 24 points, Jalen Brunson had 23 points and Immanuel Quickley had 17 points. The Knicks shot a season-high 54% from the field to win their third straight game.

“We’re playing better basketball,” Randle said. “It’s still super-early in the season, so we’ve got to keep building to where we want to be at.”

LaMelo Ball led Charlotte with 32 points, seven rebounds and six assists, Mark Williams had 10 points and Brandon Miller had 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting before exiting with an ankle injury during the second quarter.

“It’ll be, I think, more day to day,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said about Miller, adding that he's hopeful he will be healthy enough to play in the team's next game Tuesday.

The Hornets lost for the sixth time in their past eight games and fell to 1-3 without leading scorer Terry Rozier, who missed his fourth straight game due to a groin strain.

The Knicks, who entered play ranked second in the NBA in points-against per game (102.8), put the clamps down on the Hornets after Miller exited. New York forced 12 turnovers that led to 20 points and limited the high-octane Hornets, who rank seventh in points per game (117.2), to 46.8% shooting.

New York also took advantage of the porous Charlotte defense, which is second-worst in the NBA in points-against per game (122.4). The Knicks outscored Charlotte 24-11 over the first 6:08 of the third quarter, turning their 10-point halftime advantage to an 88-65 lead, and led by as many as 28 in the fourth quarter.

“We had a number of guys who made very unselfish plays and then we got going defensively a little bit,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “And that got us some easy scoring opportunities, and we need those.”

New York led 64-54 at halftime and surpassed 60 first-half points for the second straight game and the third time this season. The Knicks made 14 of 21 field goals between the first and second quarters, building a 16-point lead.

“We just played hard from the beginning,” Barrett said. “They were a little undermanned, and in a 12 o’clock game, whoever comes out right from the beginning of the game is going to win the game, so we were able to do that.”

Five Knicks scored in double-figures in the first half, led by Brunson’s 15 points. Randle scored the game’s first five points and closed the first half with 10, and Quickley had 12 points, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that capped a 7-0 run to close the first quarter.

UP NEXT

Charlotte: Hosts Miami on Tuesday.

New York: Visits Boston on Monday.

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AP NBA: https:.//apnews.com/hub/nba