Randle Wreaks Havoc on DC. 5 Reasons Why NY 131 Washington 113 on 3-23-21

Hours after receiving a $15,000 fine for arguing with refs the game before on the controversial foul call that cost the Knicks a win, Julius Randle wrecked vengeance on the unsuspecting Washington Wizards, hitting seemingly every shot he took in the first half to lead the Knicks to a blowout win at Madison Square Garden. NY led by 30 points for a good portion of the 3rd quarter.

5 reasons for the final score:

1. Randle MVP

Randle came out on fire, as hot from the field as he was under the collar against the refs in the previous few last-second losses — the close losses to Philly and the one to the Nets. Randle used his usual assortment of moves — baseline drives, baseline drives and jumpers, rolls to the middle, and an array of 3’s — he scored from everywhere with great precision. And passed. And rebounded. And played good defense.

Randle had 21 points at the half on 8-14 shooting, and then went on an unreal 3-pt shooting barrage in the 3rd where he hit 3 straight 3’s three times down the court. He had 35 points on 63% from the floor and 7-9 from 3 — with 7 minutes left in the 3rd quarter.

Thibs sat Randle for rest late in the 3rd into the 4th, but brought him back in midway thru the 4th with the Knicks ‘nursing’ a 20-pt lead. By that time he had cooled off, reflected in his final line of 13-24 shooting for 37 pts. Thibs said in the postgame that the 3-pt shot can get teams back into a game in a hurry; something he feared, especially with Bradley Beal on Washington.

2. Barrett’s Star Rising Fast

Barrett. Barrett. Barrett. His DEFENSE. His Moves to the basket — scoring at will against contact of all kinds. His improved 3-pt shooting and free throw shooting. His star continues to rise. As I tweeted in January, “If the Knicks were picking again in the 2018-19 draft, and got the #1 slot everyone felt they deserved, I’m betting they’d pick RJ Barrett over Zion and Ja Morant — knowing what we know and are seeing now.”

Barrett looks like the next Dwayne Wade. At least that good; better in his own way. He’s a big boy (6’7 listed 6’6) who can bully ball his way to the basket at will. In this game he did all of the above, the DEFENSE, the unstoppable rolls to the basket. He finished with 21 pts on 8-18 shooting (1-4 from 3, 4-5 in free throws), 5 rebounds, 5 assists and a +16.

3. Payton Back, Knicks Roll

Elfrid Payton was back from a hamstring injury that kept him out 2 weeks and had the Knicks running on all cylinders. It was good to have the penetrating point guard back. He played good ball and finished with 7 pts, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and a +12 in 21 minutes; coach Thibs resting him in the second half with the huge lead.

4. Robinson Feeling Better

And Mitchell Robinson played his second game after coming back from the hand injury, and looked great. He dominated inside. Back was the Gotham Lob — Payton to Mitch for the SLAM. Robinson was everywhere on Defense inside — blocking or altering shots — and getting putbacks and slams on offense. He finished with 16 points on 7-9 shooting, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks and a +9 in 31 minutes — he got the majority of minutes at center. Nerlens Noel started, played well, but fell back into the reserve roll with  17 minutes (6 pts, 2 blocks).

5. Knicks’ 3rd Scorer = Burks (with Quickley)

Alec Burks continued to provide strong scoring as the Knicks #3 option. Burks can score with the wind — he is a natural born scorer — not just 3’s but he can score in all kinds of ways on rolls to the basket; a poor-man’s Kobe Bryant if you will. Burks can handle the ball as well and distribute. He had 20 points on 6-12 shooting (2-2 from 3, 6-6 from the free throw line) and a +11 in 29 minutes.

Immanuel Quickley gave the Knicks instant Offense off the bench again — the role Thibs seems to see him playing. He had 14 points in 12 minutes — 4-8 shooting (3-6 from 3 and 3-3 from the line).

5 1/2. Knicks Defensive Intensity

The biggest reason for the easy win of course was that the Knicks played Great as a team; their Defensive intensity never letting up. Coach Tom Thibodeau has them closer and closer to playing as a gloved hand, no matter who is on the court.

Reggie Bullock played great D in 31 minutes (10 pts, a +17). And Frank Ntilikina played well defensively in 10 minutes. Ntilikina took 0 shots; had 0 points, and made a tepid pass that was almost stolen at one point. He had an opportunity during this stretch with Payton, Derrick Rose, and Austin Rivers all out. Obi Toppin got 8 minutes off the bench and it was noted by Knicks Twitter — did not play well again. Kevin Knox got even less minutes (2) in the blowout.


With the trade deadline 2 days away on Thursday, and Lonzo Ball rumored on the trade mill (as well as Malcolm Brogdan, Victor Oladipo and others) this video surfaced of Magic Johnson saying the Knicks should jump on Lonzo because he would be a point guard that would lead their fast break and get them many easy buckets, especially needed in the playoffs. Apparently Magic agrees with some on Knicks Twitter that Elfrid Payton doesn’t push the pace fast enough.

The Boxscore



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