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WAMC Sports Report 1/4/24: Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson help Knicks beat Bulls, 116-100

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) shoots the ball as Chicago Bulls center Andre Drummond (3) and guard Alex Caruso look on during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Peter K. Afriyie/AP
New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) shoots the ball as Chicago Bulls center Andre Drummond (3) and guard Alex Caruso look on during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)


Julius Randle scored 35 points, Jalen Brunson had 31 points and 13 assists and the New York Knicks beat the Chicago Bulls 116-100 last night. OG Anunoby and Donte DiVincenzo each scored 11 points for New York, and Isaiah Hartenstein had a career-high 20 rebounds along with 10 points. DeMar DeRozan had 28 points for Chicago. Colby White added 26. The Bulls continue to play without two of their four leading scorers. Nikola Vucevic missed his fifth straight game because of a strained left adductor and Zach LaVine, who hasn’t played since Nov. 28, is sideline by inflammation in his right foot.

Alperen Sengun scored 30 points and Fred VanVleet added 21 points and 10 assists as the Houston Rockets beat the Brooklyn Nets 112-101 on Wednesday night. Sengun has hit the 20-point mark in seven consecutive games. He shot 11 of 17 from inside and drained 8-of-10 free throws while grabbing eight rebounds. The Nets have lost five in a row and 10 of their last 12. Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson led the Nets with 15 points. Nic Claxton added 12 points and 13 rebounds, while Royce O’Neale chipped in 13 points off the bench.

Max Strus scored 24 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers had their highest-scoring game and most-lopsided victory of the season, routing the Washington Wizards 140-101 to open a two-game set. Donovan Mitchell scored 22 points in 24 minutes to help Cleveland snapped a two-game losing streak. Caris LeVert added 21 points in 23 minutes, and Jarrett Allen had 17 points, 19 rebounds and seven assists. The teams will meet again Friday night in Cleveland. Cleveland had 62-36 rebounding edge, with Tristan Thompson grabbing nine and Georges Niang having eight boards and 15 points off the bench. The Cavs shot 53.5% and made 20 3-pointers. Kyle Kuzma scored 16 points for Washington. At 6-27, the Wizards have the third-worst record in the NBA.

Tyrese Haliburton had 31 points and 12 assists and the Indiana Pacers pulled away with a 47-point third quarter, beating Milwaukee 142-130 on Wednesday night for their fifth straight victory and second over the Bucks in three days. Bennedict Mathurin added 16 points for the Pacers. Indiana ended Milwaukee’s 15-game home winning streak Monday and is 4-1 against the Bucks this season. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 26 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for Milwaukee, falling just short of his fourth triple-double of the season. Damian Lillard added 23 points and five assists, and Khris Middleton overcame a sprained right wrist and a sore right knee to finish with 19 points and seven assists.

Jalen Johnson scored a career-high 28 points and the Atlanta Hawks held off Oklahoma City 141-138, ending the Thunder’s five-game winning streak. Atlanta opened the game with 11 straight points and never trailed. Trae Young had 24 points and 11 assists, one of four Hawks players who scored more than 20. Bogdan Bogdanovic added 23 points and Dejounte Murray had 22. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 33 points and 13 rebounds to lead Oklahoma City. After the Thunder trailed by double digits most of the game, Gilgeous-Alexander’s late basket trimmed the deficit to three. Isaiah Joe’s last-second 3-pointer was no good for Oklahoma City. The Hawks improved to 5-9 at home.

Zion Williamson scored 27 points and the New Orleans Pelicans kept rolling with a 117-106 victory over the West-leading Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night. CJ McCollum added 24 points and Brandon Ingram had 19. The Pelicans pulled away in the second half for their fourth straight victory and ninth in 12 games. On the second night of a back-to-back after beating Brooklyn 112-85, a game that allowed Williamson and Ingram to both play under 30 minutes, New Orleans went on the road and shot 55.6% from the field. Anthony Edwards scored 35 points for the Timberwolves. Minnesota dropped to 14-2 at home and lost consecutive games for the first time this season.

Immanuel Quickley scored 26 points, Pascal Siakam added 24 and the Toronto Raptors weathered a late Memphis rally to defeat the Grizzlies 116-111. Quickley, who came to Toronto in a late-December trade that sent OG Anunoby to the New York Knicks, was 8 of 18 from the field, including 5 of 8 from outside the arc. Scottie Barnes finished with 20 for Toronto. Ja Morant led the Grizzlies with 28 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with 24 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter. Desmond Bane added 22 for Memphis and Ziaire Williams scored 18 points.

Luka Doncic scored 30 of his 41 points in the first half, Kyrie Irving added 29 in his second game back from a heel injury and the Dallas Mavericks routed the Portland Trail Blazers 126-97. The All-Star pair went a combined 23 of 40 from the field before sitting out the fourth quarter. They were just 12 of 34 during a 37-point loss at Utah in Irving’s return after missing 12 games with a bruised right heel. The Mavs opened a seven-game homestand with the first of two in a row against Portland. Shaedon Sharpe scored 16 points and Anfernee Simons had 15 for the Trail Blazers.

Paul George scored 33 points, Kawhi Leonard added 30 and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Phoenix Suns 131-122 on Wednesday night. The surging Clippers have won four straight game and 13 of 15. The Suns had their four-game winning streak snapped. George shot 8 of 14 from the field, going 5 of 10 from 3-point range. James Harden had 22 points and 11 assists. Devin Booker led the Suns with 35 points on 11-of-15 shooting, with Kevin Durant missing his second straight game because of soreness in his right hamstring. Bradley Beal added 21 but shot just 7 of 20 and missed all six of his 3-point attempts.

Jordan Clarkson scored 29 of his 36 points after halftime and Lauri Markkanen added 31 as the Utah Jazz outlasted the tough-luck Detroit Pistons 154-148 in overtime. Clarkson hit a dagger 3-pointer with 1:44 left in overtime to give the Jazz a 149-142 lead. The Jazz have won nine of their last 12, their best stretch of the season before they face a road trip to Boston, Philadelphia and Milwaukee. Detroit’s Bojan Bogdanovic scored a season-high 36 points, including eight 3s, and Alec Burks added a season-best 27 points. Detroit has now lost 30 of their last 31 games.

Tyler Herro scored 21 points, Duncan Robinson had 11 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter and the Miami Heat beat the Los Angeles Lakers 110-96 on Wednesday night. Jaime Jaquez Jr. added 16 points and Nikola Jovic and Bam Adebayo scored 15 apiece as all eight Miami players who saw action scored in double figures. Kevin Love had a season-high 14 rebounds along with 10 points. Anthony Davis had 29 points and 18 rebounds for Los Angeles. The Lakers were just 4 of 30 on 3-pointers and committed 15 of their 22 turnovers in the first half as they lost for the ninth time in their last 12 games.

Terry Rozier scored 14 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter after missing a game due to illness, and the Charlotte Hornets beat the Sacramento Kings 111-104 to snap an 11-game losing streak. Rozier added six assists and Charlotte outscored Sacramento 36-26 in the final period, finishing the game on a 10-0 run. Miles Bridges had 27 points and P.J. Washington added 17. De’Aaron Fox led the Kings with 30 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter. Domantas Sabonis had 23 points and 19 rebounds for his 15th straight double-double, tied for the longest streak in the NBA this season. Sabonis also committed 11 turnovers, contributing to Sacramento’s season-high 21.

There had never been a day in NBA history where five teams all scored at least 140 points. And there had never been a day where the league saw four teams all score at least 130 points in losses. That is, until Wednesday, when both events happened. Utah, Detroit, Indiana, Atlanta and Cleveland all topped the 140-point mark. The previous record for teams scoring 140 or more points on the same day was four, done on Jan. 16, 2019. For the Pistons, Oklahoma City, Orlando and Milwaukee, scoring 130 points wasn’t even enough to win. There was one previous instance of three teams scoring 130 in losses on the same day, that being April 10, 2019.

NHL To the NHL

Nico Hischier, Dawson Mercer and Michael McLeod each scored two goals, and the New Jersey Devils beat the Washington Capitals 6-3. Hischier’s goals were the New Jersey captain’s ninth and 10th of the season. Mercer’s big night came as he played his 200th consecutive game to begin his NHL career. The Devils rebounded from surrendering a two-goal lead to win for the fourth time in five games. Washington's Alex Ovechkin extended his point streak to three games with a pair of assists in a losing effort.

Auston Matthews scored 2:12 into overtime and the Toronto Maple Leafs rallied for a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks, squeaking by after taking 57 shots on goal. Martin Jones made 27 saves in his second standout performance in two nights after earning the shutout over Los Angeles on Tuesday. John Tavares scored with just under six minutes remaining in regulation to send the game into the extra period. Matthews delivered his 30th of the season in overtime to beat Ducks goaltender Lukas Dostal, who had a career-high 55 saves. Frank Vatrano scored a goal for the Ducks.


Miami Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill and his family are safe after fire rescue crews responded to a large fire at his South Florida home Wednesday afternoon. The house, which is located in Southwest Ranches about 30 miles northwest of Miami, was shown Wednesday afternoon on local station WSVN 7 News with a large amount of black smoke coming out of the roof as firefighters doused it with water. No injuries have been reported. Hill had been at Dolphins practice as Miami prepares for its regular-season finale against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday night, but he left after being told about the fire.

Brock Purdy and Tua Tagovailoa were selected to their first Pro Bowl as the starting quarterbacks for their respective conferences. It’s the first time the two starting QBs are first-time picks since the 1999 season when Pro Football Hall of Famers Peyton Manning and Kurt Warner were chosen. Purdy was one of nine players picked from the San Francisco 49ers, who clinched the NFC’s No. 1 seed. The 49ers had the most players selected. Baltimore and Dallas each have seven Pro Bowl players.

The Miami Dolphins went from playing for the AFC’s No. 1 seed to playing for their division to avoid the sixth spot this week. Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills stand in their way. The Bills-Dolphins will face off Sunday night in the NFL’s final regular-season game in a showdown for the AFC East title. The Dolphins had a chance at earning a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs but were pounded by Baltimore 56-19. If they beat Buffalo, they’ll secure the No. 2 seed. The Bills would get the two seed with a win. If they lose, they’d drop to sixth, seventh or completely out of the playoffs.

Patrick Mahomes will sit out the Chiefs’ regular-season finale against the Chargers on Sunday in Los Angeles. The Chiefs clinched their eighth straight AFC West title and the No. 3 seed in the playoffs with last week's 25-17 win over the Bengals. Veteran backup Blaine Gabbert will start for Kansas City and Chris Oladokun will back him up. Chiefs coach Andy Reid declined to say whether other starters, such as tight end Travis Kelce and defensive tackle Chris Jones, will play against the Chargers.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh says Lamar Jackson will not play in Baltimore’s regular-season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend. Harbaugh said Tyler Huntley will start for the Ravens. The team has already clinched the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Josh Johnson will be Huntley’s backup. The announcement was no surprise now that Baltimore has wrapped up a first-round bye in the postseason. Jackson missed the end of the 2021 and 2022 seasons, but has started all 16 games so far this season. Huntley has started eight games in his pro career.


Dominican prosecutors have accused Wander Franco of commercial sexual exploitation and money laundering following allegations that the Tampa Bay Rays shortstop had a relationship with a minor whose mother also faces the same charges. Prosecutors on Wednesday requested that a judge hold Franco on an $86,000 bond, bar him from leaving the Dominican Republic and place him under house arrest. They noted that the money laundering charges stems from allegations that Franco made payments to the minor’s mother. The judge is scheduled to analyze the evidence that was collected during a monthslong investigation and issue a ruling on Friday. Franco remains in jail for now.


UMass 80 Duquesne 61


UConn 94 Creighton 50


Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy says the sign-stealing scandal has overshadowed the work the team has put in to go unbeaten and reach the College Football Playoff championship game. Michigan plays Washington for the national title in Houston on Monday as the NCAA continues to investigate allegations the Wolverines had a staff member use video equipment to pick off future opponents’ play-call signs from the sideline. McCarthy said it would be unfortunate if wins were vacated because it would take recognition away from players who did things the right


Rory McIlroy is softening his stance against Saudi-funded LIV Golf. He says on the “Stick to Football” podcast that he has accepted that LIV is part of golf now. McIlroy also says he has been too judgmental about players leaving. McIlroy has been the harshest critic of LIV Golf since it began in June 2022. Jon Rahm is the latest to defect. McIlroy says it was a smart business decision by the Masters champion. He says he suspects Rahm thinks the two sides will get together. McIlroy also suggested he helped instigate the PGA Tour meeting with the Saudis.

Scottie Scheffler is the PGA Tour player of the year in a close vote over Masters champion Jon Rahm. Scheffler is the first back-to-back winner of the award since Tiger Woods in 2006 and 2007. But this one will raise questions about whether players who voted penalized Rahm for joining LIV Golf. Scheffler had a staggering statistical year. He played so well that he didn't finish out of the top 12 until July. His two wins were The Players Championship and the Phoenix Open. But Rahm won four times, including the Masters. He defected in the middle of the two-week voting period.

© 2024 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

A 2022 Siena College graduate, Alexander began his journalism career as a sports writer for Siena College's student paper The Promethean, and as a host for Siena's school radio station, WVCR-FM "The Saint." A Cubs fan, Alexander hosts the morning Sports Report in addition to producing Morning Edition. You can hear the sports reports over-the-air at 6:19 and 7:19 AM, and online on WAMC.org. He also speaks Spanish as a second language. To reach him, email ababbie@wamc.org, or call (518)-465-5233 x 190. You can also find him on Twitter/X: @ABabbieWAMC.