Five things to know about Wednesday’s game
1. Without Nerlens Noel, who was sidelined with a sore right ankle, Taj Gibson started at center for the Knicks. Deployed with a starting five of point guard Elfrid Payton, shooting guard RJ Barrett, small forward Reggie Bullock and Randle, Gibson gave the Knicks eight points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in 35 minutes.
2. After a back-and-forth opening period ended with a 26-26 tie, the Knicks created separation in the second quarter. A 14-4 run, starting 12 seconds in on Derrick Rose‘s three-pointer and culminated by the 8:45 mark via Immanuel Quickley‘s technical free throw, gave the Knicks a largest lead of 10 points.
3. Zion Williamson scored eight points in the first half’s final 7:28 and New Orleans cut down a 10-point deficit at 42-32 to a 53-52 Knicks lead entering the locker room. Williamson finished with 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting while adding eight rebounds, seven assists and two blocks in 35 minutes. Brandon Ingram paced the Pelicans with a team-high 28 points.
4. A former teammate of Williamson’s at Duke in 2018-19, Barrett struggled to get going. Barrett mustered six points, shooting a woeful 2 for 10 from the field in 28minutes.
5. Fortunately for Barrett, a valiant effort by Randle and notable performances off the bench picked up the slack. Randle shot 11 of 26 from the field, including a 5-for-8 clip on three-pointers, while grabbing eight rebounds and dishing five assists in 42 minutes. Burks added 21 points off the bench, fueled by a 14-point fourth quarter.
A two-game road trip continues and ends for the Knicks (29-28) Friday with a 9:30 p.m. game against the Mavericks (29-24).