NEW YORK -- — Immanuel Quickley scored a career-high 40 points and Julius Randle had 26 as the New York Knicks snapped a three-game losing streak with a 137-115 victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday night.
Quickley connected on 14 of 18 shots from the field and added nine assists as the Knicks recorded a season-high 35 assists. He started in place of Jalen Brunson, who missed his second straight game with a bruised right hand.
“When I know I’m starting, I try to get everyone involved early and make sure everyone has a feel for the game offensively,” Quickley said. “Everyone has to pick it up when one of your best players is out.”
Randle scored 15 points as the Knicks led 36-33 after the first quarter. His slam gave New York a 23-22 lead and they never trailed again.
New York took its first double-digit lead, 49-39, on Josh Hart’s drive with 7:37 remaining in the second quarter.
Houston went on a 10-0 run to tie the game, but a Quickley 3-pointer ignited a 12-5 run by the Knicks and New York went on to lead 66-61 at halftime.
“I don’t know what he (Quickley) is, other than a good basketball player,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “If you need scoring, he can score. If you need playmaking, he had nine assists. He’s effective starting. He’s effective coming off the bench. You can play him at the point, at the two, at the three. You can plug-and-play with him.”
Quickley, who had 22 points at intermission, gave the Knicks a 97-83 lead on a 3-pointer with 1:42 left in the third quarter, and Randle’s buzzer-beating 3 put New York ahead 102-90.
The Knicks opened the fourth quarter on a 10-0 run before Green finally broke the streak with a pair of free throws with 9:26 remaining.
“Our energy fell off in the second half,” Rockets coach Stephen Silas said. “I could see guys were getting tired. I could see it in their body language. But, that is the NBA. We were hyped up at the beginning of the game, flying around, doing some really good stuff. Then I think the back-to-back did catch up to us.”
The Rockets, who lost in Cleveland on Sunday, never got any closer as the New York lead ballooned to as many as 33 points on Quickley’s last points of the game, two free throws with 4:11 remaining.
“My teammates were pushing me to get 40 and also try to get that 10th assist,” Quickley said. “Those were the most nervous free throws I ever took.”
Rockets: Houston last won at Madison Square Garden 114-110 on Jan. 23, 2019, when James Harden scored a career high with 61 points. … The Rockets have lost seven straight games to the Knicks. … No Rocket player has played in every game this season. Jabari Smith leads with 73 appearances.
Knicks: New York played its first home game since the death of its former captain and Hall of Famer Willis Reed. The Knicks players wore #19 shirts during warm-ups and introductions. The acknowledgement also included a moment of silence and video tributes. … Randle and Isaiah Hartenstein are the only Knicks to play in all of the team’s games this season.
The Rockets don’t have many wins this season, posting the second-worst record in the NBA. However, they may lead the league in juniors: TyTy Washington Jr., Jabari Smith Jr., Kevin Porter Jr., and Kenyon Martin Jr. are all on the roster.
Rockets: Houston visits Brooklyn on Wednesday.
Knicks: New York hosts Miami on Wednesday.
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