Randle leads Knicks over Lakers and back above .500

Sports

New York Knicks forward Obi Toppin (1) dunks against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York, Monday, April 12, 2021. (Wendell Cruz/Pool Photo via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Same city, whole different kind of game for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Two nights after dominating the Nets, the defending champions got a look at how much better the New York Knicks are defensively.

Julius Randle had 34 points and 10 rebounds against his former team and the Knicks beat the Lakers 111-96 on Monday night for their third straight victory.

“Really poor passing, some bad decisions and some it you have to credit the defense. But as good as we were offensively two nights ago, we were just as bad tonight,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.

Coming off tense finishes against Memphis and Toronto, the Knicks led comfortably for much of the fourth quarter and moved back above .500 at 28-27, bouncing back nicely after narrow losses to Brooklyn and Boston last week.

“There’s ups and downs in a season and you have to keep going. If you get knocked down, dust yourself off, get up and come back with more fight and grit. That’s what this team has,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “It has a togetherness and a belief that we can get it done.”

Elfrid Payton scored 20 points and Derrick Rose added 14 off the bench for the Knicks, who were sparked by Randle’s 13 points in the first quarter had plenty of energy on the second night of back-to-back games.

“They’re a good defensive team and I was just aggressive from the start,” Randle said, “and it’s important early on on the second night of a back-to-back to bring energy and that’s what I tried to do.”

Dennis Schroder scored 21 points and Markieff Morris had 17 for the Lakers, who fell to 5-7 since LeBron James sprained his ankle March 20, joining fellow All-Star Anthony Davis on the sideline.

Even without them, the Lakers routed Brooklyn 126-101 on Saturday, tying their season high with 19 3-pointers. But they committed 25 turnovers Monday, leading to 29 points.

“Even when AD or LeBron is there in a basketball game we get turnovers as well,” Schroder said. “So end of the day we’ve just got to be extra careful and myself — not putting nobody into this but myself — I’ve got to control even my turnovers.”

Bigger up front than Brooklyn, the Knicks outrebounded the Lakers 47-33. Andre Drummond, who had 20 points and 11 rebounds Saturday, took only three shots and had three points and 10 boards.

The Lakers were at least healthier in this one, getting Kyle Kuzma back after he missed two games with a left calf strain. Wesley Matthews and Marc Gasol also played after sitting out in Brooklyn with injuries.

It didn’t matter and the Lakers fell to 3-3 on their road trip that ends Tuesday in Charlotte.

New York had a 66-62 lead in the third quarter before a 13-2 spurt, with Randle scoring the final five, extended it to 79-64.

The Lakers ran off 10 straight points midway through the fourth to get within 92-87, but Payton scored before Randle converted a three-point play to push it back to double figures. He followed with another basket and then a free throw as the lead grew to 100-87.

TIP-INS

Lakers: Morris rolled his left ankle in the first quarter and left to have it re-taped before returning. … Alfonzo McKinnie was out because of health and safety protocols.

Knicks: RJ Barrett missed his first eight shots and finished with seven points on 2-for-11 shooting. … The Knicks signed F/C Norvel Pelle to a second 10-day contract on Monday.

PLENTY OF PLAYERS

Between their injuries and Schroder’s ejection, the Lakers were down to eight rotation players available during the second half of their victory Saturday. Eight is the minimum number to begin a game, but Vogel said he wasn’t worried about the Lakers facing that problem.

“We got down to eight the other night just because we had a player get ejected,” Vogel said. “But typically, when it seemed like we were extremely depleted we still had nine guys and I’m not going to worry about that getting any lower until it happens.”

UP NEXT

Lakers: Visit Charlotte on Tuesday.

Knicks: Visit New Orleans on Wednesday.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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