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NBA Scores: Julius Randle puts up another 30 piece as Knicks beat Celtics

Plus: The Clippers are rolling. It’s about time.

New York Knicks v Boston Celtics Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

First came the announcement of the 2023 NBA All-Star starters. In the East, we have Kyrie Irving, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant, and Giannis Antetokounmpo; in the West, it’s Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Zion Williamson, LeBron James, and Nikola Jokic. Shaq is very upset that there is no longer a spot specifically dedicated to a center. Personally, I think they got these starters right for once, even if there are hairs to split over Joel Embiid’s absence. Oh, well.

What followed was an appropriately epic night of basketball, including tight regulation finishes, impressive individual performances, and one epic overtime back-and-forth duel. Let’s start today’s recap with that one, shall we?

Knicks outlast Celtics in overtime thriller, 120-117

In fairness to the Boston Celtics, who have now lost three in a row for the second time this season, it looked over in regulation, and they managed to force overtime. With 5:26 left in the fourth quarter, the C’s trailed, 106-94, looking dead in the water as the Knicks surged ahead. But Boston went on a 16-4 run to close out regulation, before seeing it grow to a 21-4 run at the start of overtime.

No matter, though, as the Knicks nailed two threes to take a one-point lead in overtime. What really decided the game was Jaylen Brown’s late trip to the free-throw line, where he missed both attempts; making one would’ve tied it at 118. R.J. Barrett rebounded the second miss, was fouled, and drained both freebies, making the score 120-117, New York. Boston got two bad looks before time expired, finalizing its third consecutive loss.

Julius Randle poured in 37 — his 15th 30-piece of the year — to lead the way for the Knicks; he also gave us one heck of a meme-to-be. Celtics’ fans, avert your eyes.

Mavs lose Luka, beat Suns, 99-95

The Suns are already without their best player, Devin Booker, who hasn’t played since Christmas due to a groin strain. And despite Phoenix being almost fully healthy otherwise, Dallas has Luka Doncic — that’s an advantage every team would kill to have, and one that often translates to winning.

Well, what happens when Luka exits three minutes into the contest with an ankle sprain and doesn’t return? Apparently, Spencer Dinwiddie turns into him. He dropped 36 points to go along with six rebounds and nine assists to lead the Mavs. Dorian Finney-Smith (18 and 12 boards) and Dwight Powell (15) were also key contributors.

As for Phoenix, its four-game win streak comes to a close despite Chris Paul’s 22 points and 10 assists, Cam Johnson’s additional 22, and Deandre Ayton’s 19-point-20-rebound double-double.

Cavaliers demolish Rockets on road, 113-95

No Donovan “All-Star starter” Mitchell, no problem for the Cavs. The Rockets stink. It’s pretty much that simple.

Hornets rally in second half to beat Bulls, 111-96

Speaking of teams that stink, neither one of these squads tends to offer much worth writing home about. But behind a monster night from Miles Plumlee (21 points on nine-for-nine shooting and 12 rebounds) and 28 from Terry Rozier, the Hornets managed to pull away from Chicago, which led 55-47 at halftime. DeMar DeRozan’s 28 points weren’t enough to keep Charlotte at bay; the Hornets outscored the Bulls 64-41 in the second half, ultimately stealing the game in a matter of two quarters.

Clippers wallop Spurs, 138-100

Just when I was brainstorming an “I’m done waiting for the Clippers to ‘put it all together’” column for Clips Nation, they’ve won a season-high four in a row and climbed to the fifth seed in the Western Conference. Those wins haven’t exactly come against premier competition — they’ve beaten the Spurs twice, the Mavs, and the Lakers — but alas, wins are wins, and they tend to be enough to inspire confidence.

Kawhi Leonard had 27 points, but it was Paul George who led the way with 35 points, seven assists, and one hell of a windmill dunk.

Pistons shock Nets in Brooklyn, 130-122

A Kyrie Irving masterclass? Check. A career-high for Nic Claxton? Check. A second-straight loss, this one to the worst team in the Eastern Conference? Check.

Despite Kyrie dropping 40 points, matching the Nets’ record of five straight games of 30 or more, and big nights from both Claxton (27) and Edmond Sumner (24), the Pistons were too much for the shorthanded Nets. Saddiq Bey scored 25 points and Alec Burks added 20 to help Detroit snap a four-game losing streak, as well as to win in Brooklyn for the first time since January of 2018.