Julius Randle’s monster game fuels Knicks’ sweep of Pistons

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New York Knicks forward Julius Randle continued his return to All-Star form with another monster game that has not been done in franchise history in nearly three decades.

Randle pumped in a season-high 42 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to power the Knicks sweep of the lowly Detroit Pistons, 117-104, Sunday at Little Caesars Arena on the road.

The Knicks improved to a 14-8 road record, tied with the Brooklyn Nets for the second-best mark in the league, thanks to Randle’s historic effort.

It was the first 40-point and 15-rebound effort by a Knick player since Patrick Ewing in 1996. It was also Randle’s 10th straight double-double game, hiking his total to 26 this season.

Randle feasted on a badly-depleted Pistons team missing Cade Cunningham (lower leg), Bojan Bogdanovic (stomach virus), rookie center Jalen Duren (ankle) and Marvin Bagley III (fractured right hand). The Knicks starting power forward shot 15 of 24 from the field and added four assists while only turning the ball over once in a game-high 40 minutes.

“I think that’s really where it starts for me. I said earlier in the year I didn’t like the way I’m rebounding. And I think it just automatically puts me in aggressive mode. I’m not waiting for things to happen. I’m going to go get it. So, now I have a really big focus every night to go get boards.”

Julius Randle via MSG Network

The Pistons tried to make it interesting, cutting the Knicks’ double-digit lead to seven, 105-98, with 5:17 left. But Randle scored two straight baskets that kept the Pistons at bay, and the Knicks were never seriously threatened.

Brunson added 27 points with five rebounds and four assists. Immanuel Quickley continued to flourish as he scored 17 of the Knicks’ 20 bench points.

Saddiq Bey and Jaden Ivey paced the Pistons with 21 points apiece.

The 25-19 Knicks are six games above .500 for the first time this season, with a firm grip on the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.

They head home with another matinee on Martin Luther King Day tomorrow (Monday) against the Toronto Raptors, with their star guard Fred VanVleet questionable to play (lower back soreness).

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