COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -New York coach Isiah Thomas said his mind never left basketball during his three weeks in a courtroom facing sexual harassment accusations. Maybe that's because he knew what he had in standout forward Zach Randolph.
New York's biggest offseason acquisition scored 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting in the Knicks 101-92 victory over Philadelphia on Monday night as both teams opened preseason play.
Most of New York's headlines the past month were of the salacious variety during Thomas' civil trial. Last week he was found guilty of sexually harassing a former Knicks executive, a jury awarding damages of $11.6 million.
Immediately after the verdict, Thomas left New York to join his players at training camp in Charleston and was clearly focused on improving his team's performance upon his arrival.
Randolph could help the struggling Knicks a lot this season.
He averaged 23 points and 10 rebounds for Portland last year. The Knicks traded Steve Francis and Channing Frye to the Trail Blazers in a draft-night deal for the 6-foot-9 Randolph. New York also got Fred Jones and Dan Dickou, who has since been waived.
Randolph showed his worth quickly against the 76ers. He hit consecutive outside jumpers as New York led 11-5. Randolph made his next three shots and the Knicks took a 40-28 lead.
Thomas had hoped to see Randolph and last year's top scorer, Eddy Curry, paired on the front line. But Curry went back to New York after an MRI revealed a labral tear in his right shoulder. He will be evaluated by the team's orthopedist Tuesday.
David Lee led the Knicks with 18 points.
Andre Miller had 17 points to lead Philadelphia.

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