Obi Toppin’s 35 Points Spearhead Knicks Romp; NY 114 Washington 92

Obi Toppin continues to make Julius Randle‘s future as a Knick more and more dim with every game that he starts while Randle is out for the rest of the season with a minor leg injury. This was Obi’s best performance yet — a career high 35 points on spectacular play and efficient shooting — 14-22 from the floor and 6-9 from 3 and a +18.

The Knicks rolled from the start, leading by 20 points or more for most of the game in this breeze of a win in Washington. NY won its 5th straight game on the road — their best road win streak in 9 years. They finished 20-21 on the road this season; a better road record than last year. It was all the last-minute home losses at MSG that crushed this team.

1.  Quickley Leads Charge

Immanuel Quickley also excelled — 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 10 assists on high-octane energy leading the Knicks attack at point.

Quickley was feeling it in this game — using razzle-dazzle dribbles to fake opponents before passes or scores in front of a cadre of hometown family and friends (he is from Maryland).

Quickley almost made the NBA play of the night in the 3rd quarter, a between-the-legs hesitation move to the basket then switching hands on the shot and flipping one up, but it rolled out.

Quickley’s court vision was exceptional — especially finding Obi Toppin all night on alley oops or ahead-of-the-field slams.

2. Barrett Injured

The only mar to the evening was an injury to RJ Barrett‘s right knee — he left the game with what so far has been called a sprain, after a tumble to the floor on a drive to the basket in the 2nd quarter. Barrett was having a good night — 14 points on 6-10 shooting.

3. Toppin’s All Around Game

Toppin not only played a spectacular game — with sky-high slam dunks and all-around energy — but also played a great all-around game; hitting jumpers in the lane, playing defense; passing.

“All my teammates and all my coaches were pushing me — so without all those guys none of this would be possible,” said Obi afterwards.

Meanwhile — Randle Not with Team

Meanwhile, Julius Randle was not with the team due to his minor leg ‘injury’ — and that seemed to speak volumes of his current relationship with the team.

4. A Game You Might Want to Lose

Of course some fans wanted the Knicks to lose this game — as they and Washington came in with the same record, and now NY jumps ahead of the Wizards with a game to play — meaning Washington will get better odds for the draft lottery.

NY is now 36-45; Washington is 35-46.

5. Other Knicks

Jericho Sims started at center again and played another strong, active game — 6 points, 9 rebounds and a +24 in 34 minutes. Evan Fournier played well; 17 points on 6-14 shooting (4-10 from 3) and a +22. Taj Gibson also played well in 23 minutes.

Miles McBride got 19 minutes as the backup point and played well; Alec Burks had a poor shooting night (1-9).

6. For DC

Rui Hachimura had a strong game (21 points on 8-14) and Raul Neto had 10 points off the bench on 5-7 shooting but overall Washington looked like a team that didn’t mind losing.


Mitchell Robinson did not travel with the team with a non-COVID illness. Quentin Grimes was shut down for the season because of knee soreness (he dislocated his kneecap a month ago and had been trying to come back).

Randle did not travel with the team. He has become a big problem for the Knicks — his jumpshot deserted him this year (shooting 41 pct from the floor and 30 pct from 3) and that dominoed into boos at Madison Square Garden, and frustration on the court for Randle — with numerous techs by the refs, and some altercations with other players. Most importantly, he seemed to distance himself from the team as the season wore on — going thru pregame warmups by himself, and standing by himself during timeouts — seemingly to keep his concentration. RJ Barrett’s New Year’s resolution text to his agent that the time had come to take over, then Barrett waxing poetic about Obi constantly, then enforcing himself as 1st option — may have built a rift between Julius and RJ and the rest of the young Knicks.

Randle finished averaging 20.1 pts, 9.9 rebounds, and 5.1 assists. He has 4 years left on his contract at $23 to $29 Million/yr — not an awful contract for a 27-year old in his prime.

The Boxscore

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