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Brunson scores 32 points, Knicks win 6th straight and send Heat to 6th loss in a row, 125-109

NEW YORK (AP) — Rolling since they got OG Anunoby, the New York Knicks might have to keep it up without Julius Randle.

Jalen Brunson had 32 points and eight assists and the Knicks beat Miami 125-109 on Saturday, winning their sixth straight and sending the Heat to a sixth consecutive loss.

Randle added 19 points and nine rebounds for the Knicks, but left with 4:27 remaining after appearing to land hard on his right shoulder when Jaime Jaquez Jr. stepped in front of him trying to take a charge on Randle's drive to the basket. Coach Tom Thibodeau said after the game that Randle was being evaluated by the team's medical staff, but didn't have any other details.

But the fact that Randle, who tries never to discuss how he's feeling, had to quickly check himself out of the game made it clear there was some type of injury.

“You knew like for him to do that, like, he's a guy who plays through things and that’s what we love about him,” Thibodeau said. “He's a warrior and so any time someone walks back, you know it’s something.”

Shortly before that, Brunson helped the Knicks break it open for good with a 13-3 spurt to open the fourth quarter. He then sent the Heat into a timeout as a sold-out crowd roared when his 3-pointer midway through the period made it 112-96.

Anunoby also had 19 points for the Knicks, who improved to 12-2 this month after he made his first start on New Year's Day. He could take on a bigger role now if Randle has to miss significant time.

“You don’t want to see that from anybody, especially the way he’s been playing and he means a lot to us,” Brunson said about Randle. “So for him to go back there obviously it’s not ideal, but like I said, once we figure out what’s wrong we’ll go from there.”

Jimmy Butler scored 28 points for the Heat, who got Jaquez back after a six-game absence because of a groin injury, but were outscored 36-23 in the fourth quarter. Duncan Robinson had 19 points and Tyler Herro finished with 18.

Kevin Love also was back from an illness, finally giving the Heat their full complement of players. Coach Erik Spoelstra said just as important was the Heat getting back to the way they normally compete. They certainly fell short of their standard Thursday when they were blown out 143-110 on their home floor by Boston.

The Heat looked much more like themselves, but after Butler brought them back from a 13-point deficit to a tie late in the third quarter, the game quickly got away while he was on the bench resting to start the fourth.

Brunson had two baskets in New York's flurry to open the fourth and finished 12 for 22 from the field, making four 3-pointers.

The Knicks shot 13 for 18 (72%) in the fourth, when the Heat committed five turnovers that led to nine points.

“Our turnovers for the game were OK, but it felt like we had probably four or five big ones in that fourth quarter and then defensively I don’t remember us getting a stop,” Spoelstra said.

The Knicks led 82-69 with 3 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, but Butler scored nine points and Robinson made two 3-pointers in a 17-4 spurt that tied it at 86 with 13 seconds remaining. Randle made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Knicks the lead back going to the fourth.

Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein returned after missing two games with a left Achilles tendon injury and had four points and six rebounds.

UP NEXT

Heat: Host Phoenix on Monday night.

Knicks: At Charlotte on Monday night.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA