Julius Randle Attacks Atlanta; Leads Knicks to Blowout Win, 113-89

Julius Randle attacked, attacked, attacked, penetrated, passed, hit his 3 and Ripped down rebounds to lead the Knicks to a 113-89 blowout of Atlanta at Madison Square Garden on a Wednesday night.

Randle flashed 34 points, 17 rebounds, and 5 assists and did it on efficient 10-19 shooting, 6-12 from 3, with 8-8 from the free throw line. A tour de force of All-Star caliber basketball.

Meanwhile the Knicks played DEFENSE. Adding Miles McBride to the rotation has turned the Knicks backcourt into a Killer Defensive triumvirate of Quentin Grimes, Immanuel Quickley, and McBride hounding the other team’s backcourt all over the court — in this case that backcourt included Trae Young, who could not get any momentum on the evening — finishing with a pedestrian 19 points on 9-20 shooting (0-4 from 3).

“It was a monster game,” said coach Tom Thibodeau afterwards about Randle. “I love the way he played. He played with a great spirit, a great intensity, he was strong offensively in all ways. It wasn’t just the shooting, it was running the floor, it was playmaking, the rebounding was special. When he plays like that we’re going to be tough to beat.”

NY improves to 12-13; Atlanta falls to 13-12.


1. Randle Attacked Attacked Attacked

Julius Randle was on the attack again from the start. Constantly moving the ball up court quickly and attacking the rim, or passing, or hitting his 3.

He was ON FIRE.

2. Knicks Showed Poise

The Knicks jumped out to an early lead in the 1st quarter and were up by 18 in the 2nd quarter when Atlanta went on a 17-point run to slice the lead to 1 point. But the Knicks regained their composure and battled back to take a 10-point lead at the half.

3. McBride, QGrimes, & Quickley DEFENSIVE Triumvirate

That Knick poise was led by Quentin Grimes, who hit a big 3 to end Atlanta’s 17-point run and start to give NY back momentum. Grimes had a terrific shooting night — 8-11 shooting from the floor (5-7 from 3) for 25 points. Grimes is super quick and put on a show on some drives under the basket — besides the fact that he is a perpetual motion machine always getting open off the ball.

And then there is the Defense. Grimes hounded Trae Young all night, and when he wasn’t hounding him, Deuce McBride was. Or Immanuel Quickley.

McBride entered the game with 5 minutes left in the 1st quarter. He is clearly part of the rotation now — with Cam Reddish, Derrick Rose, and Evan Fournier manning the bench.

Jalen Brunson also played well defensively despite an unusually poor shooting night (2-14 for 8 pts).

4. DMurray Leaves with Sprained Ankle

The Knicks caught a break when DeJounte Murray landed on RJ Barrett‘s foot 4 minutes into the game and had to leave with a sprained ankle. Barrett was called for a flagrant foul on the play even though it was an accident — the refs ruled Barrett had his foot in Murray’s landing area.

Barrett had a strong game although his shooting efficiency wasn’t good — 4-13 shooting (2-6 from 3; 5-7 in free throws) for 15 points, 7 rebounds, and a +18 in 36 minutes. Barrett played poor defense on one particular play that had Knicks Twitter asking why his defense is so poor this year — with many suggesting he’s put on some muscle weight and is slower this year.

Although RJ was part of the Knick guards hounding Bogdan Bogdanovic into a miserable 3-16 shooting night (0-10 from 3).

And overall, Barrett had a strong game in that he continues to attack the rim, pull down big rebounds, and is hitting his free throws this year. His percentage is now at .774.

5. Robinson Beasted Inside

Mitchell Robinson had a challenge playing against Clint Capella and fared well. Robinson ripped down big offensive rebounds all night giving the Knicks 2nd chances. Robinson had 8 points on 4-4 shooting, and 10 rebounds — 9 of them on the offensive glass — for a +17 in 26 minutes.

Capela had 13 points but a -25 in 22 minutes. The Hawks played big at times by bringing Onyeka Okongwu in to play with Capela, vs Robinson and Randle. Okongwu played well; the 6’8 forward had 10 points in 24 minutes.

6. Hartenstein Led the 2nd Team

When Robinson was out, Isaiah Hartenstein looked really good leading the 2nd team: rebounding, passing, scoring, in the right place at the right time a lot to tip in a bucket or grab a big loose ball. He had 4 points and 5 rebounds in 19 minutes, and lots of hustle plays.

7. Toppin Leaves with Sore Knee

Obi Toppin left the game early in the 2nd half with a sore knee, apparently after a minor collision in the 2nd quarter. Xrays were negative; he is scheduled for an MRI.

8. Reddish on the Block?

Before and after the game it was rumored the Cam Reddish is on the block, now that he has fallen out of the rotation, and that his reps and the Knicks are working on a trade since other teams such as the Lakers, are interested in him. After the game Reddish said “To be honest with you, you know more than me. I don’t know what you all are talking about. I haven’t requested a trade or nothing like that. I’m at the house just chillin.”

The Boxscore



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