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Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle spark Knicks to rout of Suns

With the Knicks getting back their most indispensable player, and the Suns missing their leading scorer, this was a thorough runaway win Monday at the Garden.

Jalen Brunson played for the first time since injuring his hip on Christmas and scored 16 of his 24 points in the second quarter as the Knicks returned home and routed the Suns, 102-83, for their second straight victory following a five-game losing streak.

Julius Randle continued his recent surge with 28 points and 16 rebounds, and Immanuel Quickley added 15 for the Knicks, who will get a rematch of last week’s loss in San Antonio on Wednesday night against the Spurs at MSG.

Julius Randle shoots a jumps shot during the Knicks’ win over the Suns on Monday at MSG.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Po

Brunson missed the team’s three-game Texas trip (1-2) with a sore right hip, but the $104 million point guard hit eight of 18 field-goal attempts and added six assists over 39 minutes Monday for the Knicks (20-18).

Deandre Ayton scored 12 points to lead a Suns squad playing without All-Star guard Devin Booker (groin). Chris Paul was held scoreless in the first half but finished with 11 points as Phoenix (20-18) lost for the sixth time in seven games.

Before the game, Suns coach and former Knicks first-round pick Monty Williams called Tom Thibodeau’s squad “just a typical Thibs team.”

Julius Randle and the Knicks routed the Suns on Monday at Madison Square Garden.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

“They’re getting better as the year progresses,” Williams said. “Offensively, they feel like they have roles now. Julius is playing at an All-Star level. Quickley’s like Jamal Crawford in so many ways, can just get it going. And [Quentin] Grimes is just a tough dude on both ends of the floor. He can guard, he can shoot.”

The Knicks missed their first four shots but then rattled off 14 straight points — including 3-pointers by Grimes (12 points) and Quickley — for an early 14-4 lead en route to a 12-point cushion through one quarter.

Defensively, the Knicks held the Suns to just 11 points in the opening quarter and 31 in the first half on 14-for-42 shooting (33.3 percent), including 14 of 17 misses from 3-point range.

Jalen Brunson shoots a jumper for the Knicks in his first game back from injury on Monday.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Po

Brunson clanked all three of his first-quarter shots but he buried two 3-pointers and netted 16 in the second as the Knicks pushed their lead to 24 midway through the period and then to 32 on 3-pointers by Deuce McBride, Quickley and Grimes as part of a dynamic 21-0 run.

Ayton scored six during an 11-2 Phoenix spurt to close the half for a 54-31 Knicks advantage at intermission, but Randle buried two tries from beyond the arc and scored a dozen points in the third for a 79-58 game entering the final session.

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