Julius Randle takes blame for Knicks loss despite 57-point game

Julius Randle, New York Knicks
Mar 20, 2023; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) talks to referee Mitchell Ervin (27) after being called for a technical foul during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

A missed rebound and an emotional outburst ruined Julius Randle’s historic night.

Randle scored a career-high 57 points, the most by a Knicks player since Carmelo Anthony’s 62 in 2014, but the New York Knicks still came up short.

Role player Taurean Prince played like a star for the shorthanded Minnesota Timberwolves to deal the Knicks a gut-wrenching 140-134 loss Monday night at Madison Square Garden.

Prince scored 35 points and hit the dagger leading to a Randle technical foul that sealed the Knicks’ loss that snapped their three-game winning streak.

In frustration, Randle slammed the ball hard on the floor after Prince made it 139-134, an automatic technical foul.

“I was frustrated with myself,” explained Randle, who only had five points and was a minus-9 in the fourth quarter.

Randle had the chance to prevent that Prince dagger, but he blew it a play earlier. Kyle Anderson snatched the rebound off Randle’s hands after a Jaden McDaniel miss with 18.3 seconds left and the Knicks trailing by three, 137-134.

Mike Conley reset the play and blew past Immanuel Quickley. Josh Hart half-heartedly came to help, leaving Prince open for the baseline drive.

“To be honest [Anderson] made a great play, a winning play,” Randle continued. I got to be able to come up with those rebounds down the stretch for our team and I didn’t. So, I was frustrated with myself.”

The Knicks were winning the rebound battle until that pivotal play. Both teams ended up with identical rebounding numbers — seven offensive and 24 defensive rebounds. But the Timberwolves cashed in on their second opportunity and held a 16-7 edge on second-chance points. They made plays down the stretch, while the Knicks didn’t. Minnesota were plus-2 on offensive rebounds and plus-4 on second chance points in the fourth quarter.

That Anderson offensive rebound haunted the Knicks.

“We were down three. Jalen [Brunson] got a defensive stop. It’s my job to come up with that rebound. If we [did] that, we have a chance to at least tie the game,” Randle said. “I didn’t get the job done.”

Randle only finished with four rebounds, the second-fewest he grabbed this season. It was uncharacteristic for Randle, who is among the league’s top five players with the most double-doubles this season. His 40 double-double games only lag behind Domantas Sabonis’ 58, Nikola Jokic’s 53, Nikola Vucevic’s 45, and Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 41.

Perhaps he was spent scoring.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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