The Knicks won over a strong, passionate team, and Julius Rendl got some fans back.
It was an almost perfect Garden night as the Nicks started the second half of their 82-game schedule with a 108-85 defeat over Kristaps Porzingis-less Mavericks.
The Mavericks ’five-game winning streak was interrupted and the Knicks returned to the .500 mark at 21-21 for the first time since Dec. 7.
After a two-day two-point cowardice, when home fans bothered him, Randle looked more like himself and scored 17 points in 35 minutes.
It was barely perfect, as Randle made 6 of 17 rebounds – 1 of 3 points – 10 rebounds with 6 assists.
RJ Barrett is a bigger star, scoring 32 points to continue his near warm hand. Barrett was 13 of 22 on the field – 7 of 4 on the field.
Barrett set the night in the fourth quarter with a two-handed reverse dunk. All five of the Knicks ’starters have scored twice – the first of the season.
Randle, who showed his thumb to Nicks fans last Thursday, did not acknowledge the crowd’s applause on Wednesday. Fans have pronounced Barrett’s name several times.
In his first attempt – 3 points – the 6-foot-9 All-Star strong striker missed a long time. He had three straight balls – two strong drivers and 3 points.
Although he heard scattering noises during the pre-match intros, he was happy that the blows had subsided and that he would throw the ball to his teammate on the perimeter as he did in the game against San Antonio. Instead, the usual attacker played.
Randle’s worst moment was a call for a 24-second offense to close the third quarter, and the arena groaned collectively.
At the break, Randle helped the Nicks take a 56-45 lead with 11 points, shooting 4 out of 10. He was a plus-15 on the court.
Leaders Evan Furnier (13 points), Alec Burks (10 points), Mitchell Robinson (19 points, 9 out of 10 from the field, 9 rebounds) had doubles. Four out of five had two scores on the break.
Porzingis, a former Nicks lottery player whose sale eventually led to Randle signing a contract, missed the game with COVID-19. Dallas head coach Jason Kidd was also missing due to protocols, while the Mavericks were led by assistant Sean Sweeney.