The Minnesota Timberwolves' thrilling 140-134 win over the New York Knicks on Monday night was one of the best showcases we've seen all season for the league's incredible depth of talent these days. Two teams not known for their offense -- though the Knicks are better than they get credit for -- combined for 274 points in regulation and shot a combined 99-of-168 from the field.
Fifty-seven of those points were scored by Julius Randle, who set a career-high in scoring and now owns the third-highest scoring performance in Knicks franchise history. Only Carmelo Anthony (62 points) and Bernard King (60 points) have scored more. Furthermore, Randle also now owns the fifth-best scoring performance of any player at Madison Square Garden, behind Anthony (62), Kobe Bryant (61), James Harden (61) and King (60).
Randle hit eight 3-pointers to tie a career-high in that category, sunk several tough mid-range jumpers, and bullied his way to the rim for a few slams. He did most of his damage in the third when he poured in 26 points to set a new franchise record for points in a quarter.
Though the night ended in frustration for Randle, who picked up a technical foul in the closing seconds as the Timberwolves salted away the game at the free-throw line, his performance will be entered as further evidence for his All-NBA case in what has been a terrific bounce-back season for the lefty forward.
After a poor showing by him and the team in 2021-22, it appeared that Randle's Most Improved Player Award and All-NBA Second Team appearance in 2020-21 may have been the product of the strange COVID-19-influenced season. His play this campaign, though, shows those honors were no fluke.
His scoring efficiency has returned, he's turning the ball over less than he has in years and, most importantly, his play is helping the Knicks win games. Randle's 25.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game are both career-high marks, and he's adding 4.1 assists per game while shooting 46.1 percent from the field. And even with the loss to the Wolves on Monday, the Knicks are alone in fifth place in the Eastern Conference at 42-31.
Back in February, Randle was named an All-Star reserve for the second time in his career. Whether he'll add another All-NBA accolade remains to be seen, but he'll be right in the mix as the season winds down, especially if he continues to close the season strong with performances like this. The fact that he's played all 73 games in an era of load management will only add to his case.