Randle produces first 40-point, 15-rebound game for the Knicks since Ewing in 1996

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Julius Randle enjoyed one of his best games of the season on Sunday in the New York Knicks' 117-104 road victory against the Detroit Pistons.

Randle became the first Knicks player to score at least 40 points and grab 15 rebounds or more in the same game since Patrick Ewing in 1996.

He finished with 42 points on 15-of-24 shooting to set a new season-high, while his 15 rebounds were par for the course during his red-hot start to 2023.

Since the new year began, Randle is averaging 24.5 points and 14.7 rebounds per contest, snatching at least 15 rebounds in five of the seven games to propel the Knicks to seven wins from their past eight outings.

Speaking after the game, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau heaped praise on the man seeking to make his second All-Star team this season.

"Just great – not just the scoring, it was all around, everything," he said. "I loved how we started the game, and I thought [Randle] set the tone for us.

"In watching [the Pistons] play, getting ready to play them, I knew how well they had been playing. Sometimes that's hard to get across, but I thought Julius helped set the tone for being ready.

"Getting that lead early – we needed all of it. Whenever we needed a big bucket, [Randle] stepped up and delivered.

"His defense – there's so many things – his rebounding is just huge. He got every big rebound down the stretch. He had tough covers, he was all over the place, on the perimeter guarding guards and everything else. I thought he was terrific."

Fellow Knicks All-Star-hopeful Jalen Brunson has also started 2023 in fine fashion, averaging 33.3 points, 6.0 assists and 5.7 rebounds in January, but he made it clear Randle is at the centre of New York's success.

"He played great, he played how Julius plays," he said. "He was aggressive, he was dominant on both sides of the ball.

"He was focused – he's been focused for a long time – and he's taken it up a notch. We just have to keep following his lead, he's doing a great job."

With the win, the Knicks moved to 25-19, and 14-8 on the road, which is tied for the second-best record away from home this season.

Thibodeau said that is no coincidence, and it all starts on the defensive end. New York boast the NBA's third-best defense (110.1 points per 100 possessions) during away games, but are 25th (113.3) at home.

"I just think it's about going in and understanding that it starts with defense, and that's what carries you," he said. "Your defense, your rebounding and taking care of the ball – so eliminate all the ways in which you beat yourself first.

"On offense, if you're willing to share and we help create rhythm for each other, we're going to be very good offensively.

"Tonight, we made it a power game. They went small, so we rebounded the ball, got to the line, and did the things we wanted to do to control the game."

The Knicks will try to make it eight wins from nine when they host the Toronto Raptors on Monday.