Christmas Clash: Julius Randle and Bobby Portis Renew High School Rivalry in Knicks-Bucks Christmas Clash

In a highly anticipated Christmas afternoon matchup, the New York Knicks faced off against the Milwaukee Bucks, featuring a compelling clash between power forwards Julius Randle and Bobby Portis. The rivalry between these two physical forces dates back to their high school days in the South, and it took center stage in a game that saw Portis rise to the occasion, propelling the Bucks to a decisive 130-111 victory.


Randle, acknowledging Portis as one of the few unyielding opponents he has faced throughout his career, attempted to engage in some playful trash talk during the second quarter. However, this move seemed to backfire, as Portis responded with an impressive performance, scoring 19 of his 23 points after the exchange. Portis, known for his exuberance, celebrated wildly and engaged in verbal sparring with Randle, creating an electric atmosphere on the court.

Christmas at the iconic Madison Square Garden

The upcoming Christmas rematch promises to be another intense battle between these longtime rivals. Portis, riding a wave of momentum with stellar performances in recent weeks, expressed his excitement about playing on Christmas at the iconic Madison Square Garden, describing it as a dream come true for any basketball player.

Randle, who also had a commendable offensive showing with 26 points, found himself outmatched on the glass, contributing to the Bucks’ dominance. Despite the competitive history between Randle and Portis, they shared a season as teammates in New York after both were signed during the 2019 free agency. Although the pairing was deemed a poor fit due to positional overlap, the two have now returned to being friendly rivals, adding an extra layer of intrigue to their on-court encounters.


The Knicks, facing challenges with injuries decimating their center rotation, encountered difficulties in the Christmas matchup. Isaiah Hartenstein, thrust into a more significant role due to the absence of key players, struggled with foul trouble early in the game. His limited two-minute stint disrupted the team’s rhythm, and the Knicks never fully recovered, eventually succumbing to the Bucks.

Hartenstein acknowledged his lapse in judgment, recognizing the need for improvement in managing foul situations, especially considering the team’s current predicament with injured players. With Jericho Sims recovering from a sprained ankle and Mitchell Robinson out for an extended period, Hartenstein’s role becomes crucial, emphasizing the importance of staying on the court and avoiding foul trouble.

Christmas Day tradition

The Knicks, a franchise steeped in Christmas Day tradition, played their 56th game on the holiday, boasting the highest number of Christmas appearances in the NBA. Despite a historical record of 23-32 on Christmas, the team aims to create new memories and build on their last victory in 2021 against the Hawks.


As the Knicks navigate the challenges of injuries and seek redemption in the upcoming rematch against the Bucks, the Randle-Portis rivalry takes center stage, promising fans an exciting and spirited Christmas Day showdown at the iconic Madison Square Garden. In the spirit of holiday competition, these two power forwards will look to deliver a memorable performance, adding another chapter to their storied basketball history.

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