Julius Randle recorded a game-high 29 points and 14 rebounds on Sunday night as the New York Knicks led almost the entire way en route to a stunning 130-110 win over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks.
The victory snapped a five-game losing streak against the Bucks dating back to December 25, 2018, with Milwaukee winning the three games between the teams last season by a combined 91 points.
Elfrid Payton had 27 points and seven assists for the Knicks, who won for the first time under new head coach Tom Thibodeau.
Alec Burks scored 18 points off the bench while RJ Barrett added 17 points and eight rebounds for New York, who shot 54.1 percent (46-of-85) from the field, including 59.3 percent (16-of-27) from three-point range.
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Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points and 13 rebounds for the Bucks, who were just seven-of-38 from three-point range (18.4 percent). Khris Middleton had 22 points while Bobby Portis (17) and Donte DiVincenzo (10) also got into double digits.
The Knicks trailed just twice in the first quarter, at 2-0 and 19-18. The Bucks pulled within 45-41 on a dunk by Portis with 3:26 left in the second before New York headed into the locker room with a 61-45 lead thanks to a half-ending 16-4 run in which Burks scored six points.
New York extended the lead to 20 early in the third quarter following a 7-0 run. The Bucks got as close as 11 points when Middleton sank a pair of free throws with 2:53 left, but Payton hit a pair of three-pointers in a 13-3 spurt that ended with Randle converting a three-point play to give New York a 96-75 lead heading into the fourth.
The Knicks then scored the first seven points of the fourth on back-to-back layups by Barrett and a three-pointer by Frank Ntilikina to open a 28-point lead, with the Bucks getting no closer than 20 points as they began emptying their bench before the midway point of the period.
Boston Celtics 107-108 Indiana Pacers
Malcolm Brogdon scored 25 points and Domantas Sabonis converted the decisive layup in the final seconds as the Indiana Pacers recorded a 108-107 victory over the Boston Celtics.
Sabonis recorded 19 points and 10 rebounds and T.J. Warren scored 17 as the Pacers won their third straight game to start the season. Doug McDermott tallied 16 points, Justin Holiday 13 and Myles Turner contributed 10 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots.
Boston’s Jayson Tatum had 25 points, 11 rebounds and five assists but launched an off-the-mark three-pointer with 1.8 seconds to play. Jaylen Brown scored 18 points, Payton Pritchard added 13, Robert Williams III had 12 points and four steals, and Marcus Smart added 11 points.
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Turner’s basket with 2:17 remaining gave the Pacers a 105-103 advantage. Sabonis split two free throws with 24.9 seconds left before Tatum made two free throws to pull Boston within one with 18.2 seconds left.
Williams then stole the ball from Warren, leading to Smart’s layup to give the Celtics a 107-106 lead with 11.8 seconds to play. Sabonis drove for a layup with 8.4 seconds left and was fouled but missed the free throw to leave Indiana ahead by one. Tatum then missed with Brogdon guarding him as the Celtics dropped their second in a row.
Minnesota Timberwolves 91-127 Los Angeles Lakers
Kyle Kuzma broke loose with 20 points, all in the first half, and the Los Angeles Lakers overcame the absence of leading scorer Anthony Davis for an easy 127-91 victory over the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves.
LeBron James added 18 points and nine rebounds while playing just three quarters as Davis sat out with a right calf contusion. The Lakers have won consecutive games in convincing fashion after a season-opening defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.
Kuzma, who averaged 12.8 points a game last season and did not score more than 15 points in either of the Lakers’ first two games this season, reached his 20 points on eight of 12 shooting in the opening two quarters, making four of six attempts from three-point range.
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Rookie Anthony Edwards scored 15 points and Naz Reid added 11 as the Timberwolves were unable to overcome the absence of leading rebounder and third-leading scorer Karl-Anthony Towns, who dislocated his wrist late in a road victory over the Utah Jazz on Saturday. The Timberwolves also lost forward Josh Okogie in the first half with cramping in his left leg.
The Timberwolves shot just 35.1 percent (20 of 57) from the field in the first half and 13.6 percent (three of 22) from three-point range. The Lakers cooled off slightly in the second quarter and shot 56.2 percent (27 of 48) from the field in the first half, while shooting 55.6 percent (50 of 90) for the game.
San Antonio Spurs 95-98 New Orleans Pelicans
Brandon Ingram had 28 points and 11 rebounds to lead three New Orleans players with double-doubles as the Pelicans won their home opener by defeating the San Antonio Spurs 98-95.
Zion Williamson had 18 points and 11 rebounds, Josh Hart had 12 points and 10 rebounds and Lonzo Ball added 16 points. The Pelicans held on as Eric Bledsoe blocked DeMar DeRozan’s three-pointer in the final second.
Rudy Gay led the Spurs with 22 points, Lonnie Walker IV scored 16, Keldon Johnson had 14 points and 11 rebounds, Dejounte Murray scored 13 and Patty Mills had 10 for the Spurs, who were completing a back-to-back after beating visiting Toronto on Saturday.
The Pelicans led 47-45 at halftime and extended the lead with a scoring spurt in the third quarter, scoring 27 points in little more than the first eight minutes. But they would make only one more field goal in the period and failed to score in the final 2:20 as San Antonio pulled within 79-71 after three.
The run continued into the fourth quarter. Jaxson Hayes’ layup ended New Orleans’ four-minute field-goal drought, but Gay put the Spurs ahead with a layup and added a floater that gave them an 85-82 lead with 8:23 left.
Ingram made a jumper, assisted on a Williamson basket and made two more jumpers to give the Pelicans a 90-87 lead with five minutes remaining, before responding to DeRozan and Johnson efforts with another basket and a free throw.
Orlando Magic 120-113 Washington Wizards
Terrence Ross and Markelle Fultz each scored 26 points to help the Orlando Magic overcome a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter en route to a 120-113 victory over the host Washington Wizards.
Ross, who sank four three-pointers, scored 25 points in the Magic’s 130-120 win over the Wizards on Saturday. Orlando have now won six in a row against Washington.
Evan Fournier had 19 points, and Nikola Vucevic added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Magic, who started a season with a 3-0 record for the fourth time in franchise history. They previously accomplished the feat in the 1991-92, 1993-94 and 2009-10 seasons.
Washington’s Bradley Beal had 29 points, and Raul Neto matched a career-high with 22 while starting in place of Russell Westbrook, who sat out the second leg of a back-to-back for rest purposes.
The Wizards appeared to take control of the game after outscoring Orlando 34-15 in the third quarter, only to see a 17-point lead evaporate in the fourth. The Magic started the fourth quarter on a 33-13 run, with Fultz making a short jumper to net Orlando a 110-107 lead.
Thomas Bryant responded with a pair of shots from the interior before Neto added a driving layup to give the Wizards a 113-110 lead with 59.8 seconds remaining. The Magic, however, answered with a flourish, and Beal’s bid for a tying three-pointer with 8.6 seconds left was off the mark.
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