NEW YORK -- Julius Randle scored a career-high 57 points, but that wasn't enough to save the New York Knicks from a disappointing 140-134 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
"It's a shame to waste a performance like that," Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said after the game.
Randle's dominance was apparent throughout the first three quarters of a defenseless showcase in which the Knicks trailed by as many as 17. Randle poured in a team-record 26 points in the third quarter, bringing the Knicks back into the game, but the All-Star forward wasn't able to will his team across the finish line, scoring just five points in the fourth.
"He played so well," Knicks guard Jalen Brunson said. "He brought us back, he played unbelievable. We just got to be better as a team to help him make that career night feel like something special. But when you lose that, kind of just chops all the feeling out of everything."
Randle was 19-for-29 from the field and 8-for-14 from 3-point range in passing his previous career best of 46 points. He played 37 minutes and made 11 of 13 attempts from the free throw line.
Randle's 52 points after three quarters were on pace to eclipse Carmelo Anthony's franchise-record 62, scored in a game against the Charlotte Bobcats on Jan. 24, 2014. Anthony's 62 also represents the most points scored in a game at Madison Square Garden (since 1968). Next on that list are James Harden (2019) and Kobe Bryant (2009), both with 61.
Aside from Anthony, Bernard King was the only other Knicks player to hit the 60-point mark, doing so Dec. 25, 1984, against the New Jersey Nets.
The proud big man was short in his postgame comments, but he did open up a little more while discussing what it meant to him to be able to put his name up on a Madison Square Garden scoring list with Anthony and King.
"Those are legends in this game," Randle said. "And pioneers, specifically for this organization, who laid the groundwork and led the way for players like myself to come behind them, be able to play the game I love. Be able to grind, put on that Knicks jersey with pride."
The difference for the Knicks on Monday night was a lack of intensity on the defensive end. The Timberwolves got to the rim almost at will throughout Monday's game, shooting 61.4% from the field.
In the game's final 30 seconds, the Knicks once again could not get a defensive stop when they needed one, giving up an offensive rebound and then a Taurean Prince dunk in the final seconds to seal the win.
The frustration that had been building throughout the night culminated in Randle receiving a technical foul and directing a few more words at referee Eric Lewis on his way off the floor after the game ended. Randle acknowledged that the technical, which came after slamming the ball down following Prince's dunk, was due to the fact he was unable to make the play he wanted.
Randle is hopeful that, at some point down the line, he will be able to reflect positively about his performance. But the fact that the Knicks couldn't come up with the win dampened the mood in the locker room.
"Hopefully I will be able to [enjoy it]," Randle said. "But tonight, probably not."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.