By PAUL NEWERRY
ATLANTA (AP) — Julius Randle scored 28 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, Austin Rivers hit a huge 3-pointer and the New York Knicks kept up their strong start with a 113-108 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night.
The Knicks capped a four-game road trip with their third win, improving to 4-3 under first-year coach Tom Thibodeau.
This is New York’s best record after seven games since a 6-1 start for the 2012-13 team, which was also the last Knicks squad to finish with a winning record.
“We didn’t play great, but we found a way to win,” Thibodeau said. “I love the fight in our team.”
The Hawks took their second straight home loss after winning four of their first five, squandering a 15-point lead late in the third quarter. Atlanta’s three losses have been by a total of 14 points.
“I feel like we’ve lost three games we shouldn’t have lost,” John Collins said.
De’Andre Hunter brought Atlanta to 107-106 on a 3-pointer with 1:40 remaining, but Rivers answered with a trey of his own to give the Knicks some breathing room. Randle sealed it with a put-back, tipping the ball in after Rivers missed on a drive with 46.1 seconds to go.
“Julius had a monster game,” Thibodeau said.
The rookie guard, who had 16 points, put New York ahead to stay on a pair of free throws that made it 103-101. But his biggest play came with the shot clock running down, when he got off a wild 3-pointer that had no chance but drew a foul from Trae Young.
Quickley made all three free throws with 2:34 remaining, pushing the Knicks ahead 106-101.
“It’s become a big part of the NBA to get to the foul line,” Quickley said. “That foul I drew on him was just from watching a lot of great players.”
Young had 31 points and 14 assists for the Hawks. Hunter chipped in with 23 points.
New York raced to an early double-digit lead, forcing the Hawks to call a timeout after Barrett’s dunk off a pass from Elfrid Payton gave the Knicks a 24-14 edge.
Atlanta finally found its offensive rhythm late in the first quarter and led 58-54 at halftime.
The Hawks stretched the lead to 82-67 on Hunter’s lay-in with 4:47 remaining in the third, but they couldn’t put New York away.
The Knicks closed the period on a 17-6 run.
The Knicks have played five of their first seven games on the road.
While not exactly a favorable schedule, Thibodeau said the time away from home has helped to build team chemistry.
“It’s almost like going away to training camp,” he said. “I take the positives out of that. With all the team meals and film sessions, sort of being around each other as much as we are, that’s been very productive for us.”
Knicks: C Nerlens Noel was a late scratch with a sprained left ankle. … The Knicks also were missing G Alec Burks (sprained left ankle), G Frank Ntilikina (sprained right knee), G Dennis Smith Jr. (contused left quad), F Omari Spellman (sore right knee) and F Obi Toppin (strained right calf) were unable to play because of injuries. … Thibodeau said Burks is the closest to returning to action.
Hawks: G Bogdan Bogdanovic sat out the fourth quarter with a sprained ankle after scoring just 3 points. Atlanta used only four bench players, getting 14 points out of them combined. … All five starters scored in double figures. … G Rajon Rondo was active but did not get on the court. He has missed three straight games with a sore left knee.. … Young has doled out at least 10 assists in back-to-back games and three of the last four contests. … C Clint Capela has pulled down double-digit rebounds in fourth straight games. He also had his third consecutive double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Knicks: Return home Wednesday to host the Utah Jazz, their first game at Madison Square Garden since Dec. 27.
Hawks: Play the first of a home-and-home against Charlotte when the Hornets visit State Farm Arena on Wednesday.