Times like these aren’t very common for the New York Knicks — which makes it all the more enjoyable for a starving fan base.
A 122-112 overtime victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden extended the Knicks’ winning streak to six games, moving them into a tie for fifth-place in the Eastern Conference with the Atlanta Hawks.
The streak of six games is just the sixth time the Knicks have won at least that many consecutive games in the last decade, as New York outscored the Pelicans 19-9 in the extra period.
Julius Randle, who scored 33 points on the night, provided the dagger with a three-pointer to put the Knicks up eight with 53.4 as the shot clock expired.
It was Randle’s fourth-straight 30-point game, becoming the first Knick to do so since Carmelo Anthony in 2014 while willing his side past young pelicans star Zion Williamson and his 34 points on Sunday.
Randle was provided some major support off the bench by veteran point guard Derrick Rose, who was stellar down the stretch to post 23 points and five rebounds.
Reggie Bullock forced overtime with a corner three-pointer off an aggressive drive from Rose with 2.3 seconds left, which was cemented when Rose got a piece of Eric Bledsoe’s game-winning attempt at the buzzer.
After the teams traded leads in the final five minutes, New Orleans took their largest lead of the night — seven — behind a 7-0 run with four minutes as Williamson scored his 30th point of the day at the free-throw line after RJ Barrett fouled out with 18 points on the night.
The Knicks whittled away behind five straight points from Rose before a pair of Nerlens Noel free throws cut it to a one-point game with 50 seconds to go.
After snagging a turnover, Immanuel Quickley couldn’t hit a floater to take the lead before a scramble under the basket led to a foul on Randle with 14 seconds left.
The ensuing inbound saw the Knicks waste seven seconds before fouling Bledsoe, who put the Pelicans up three with 7.8 seconds left before Bullock’s big three.
The Knicks encountered some nervy moments early as Noel, who has performed so admirably in the absence of Mitchell Robinson, left the game with just 4:03 left in the first quarter, holding his right after attempting to block a Brandon Ingram layup attempt.
Before the first quarter was over, though, the team announced that he had suffered a bruised hand and he was available to return.
He would return with four minutes remaining in the first half, but Taj Gibson got a lion’s share of the playing time during regulation, posting six points on 14 rebounds in an impressive relief effort.
Noel still did plenty to contribute, including a monster block on an Ingram dunk attempt in overtime to maintain Knicks momentum.
Those first 12 minutes also saw Randle held pointless on 0-of-3 shooting while Williamson didn’t get his first points of the afternoon until the final minute.
While Randle got his first points 10 seconds into the second, shambolic Knicks defense — especially within the transition game — prompted a Tom Thibodeau timeout.
Then everything fell into place.
Out of the break, the Knicks reeled off a 17-2 run, featuring six from Randle and a stretch in which they held the Pelicans scoreless for over three minutes, to help build a 13-point advantage at halftime.
While Randle woke up and turned the game on its head with 16 points in the second quarter, Rose helped New York’s resurgence off the bench, dropping 11 first-half points in 13 minutes.
The Pelicans shot out of the gates in the second half, going on an 18-8 in the first five minutes of the third to get back into the game as they rode the wave of Eric Bledsoe’s 13 points in the frame.
In total, the Pelicans outscored the Knicks by 13 in the third, tying the game at 79 apiece heading into the fourth.
After the Pelicans put up five straight points to start the fourth, the Knicks answered with a 9-0 run after coaxing two-straight turnovers from Williamson.