NEW YORK (AP) — Julius Randle scored 37 points to spark the New York Knicks to a 131-113 rout of the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night.
The All-Star was one of six players to finish in double figures for New York, which evened its record at 22-22. RJ Barrett scored 21, Alec Burks added 20 and Mitchell Robinson had 16 points and 11 rebounds.
“Winning is fun,” Barrett said.
With its 22nd victory, New York has won one more game in 2020-21 than it did all of last season.
Even so, the Knicks are not yet planning any parades just yet.
“It’s tough to play 48 minutes,” Barrett said. “We have to figure out a way to try and do that … get as close to that.”
Bradley Beal scored 22 points for the Wizards, who lost for the ninth time in 11 games.
“I don’t think we even arrived to the arena, honestly,” Beal said. “We didn’t bring any focus, any energy, and we damn sure didn’t play defense. So that’s why we lost.”
Before the game, Washington coach Scott Brooks spoke passionately about the importance of his team stringing wins to make a push for the franchise’s first playoff berth since the 2017-18 season.
Instead, it was the Knicks who played with purpose and led by 20 at halftime following Robinson’s two-handed dunk off Barrett’s missed free throw. That ended a first half in which Randle scored 21 points and Barrett had 10 points, five assists, and grabbed four rebounds.
New York did not let up in the second half, extending its lead to as much as 31. In one 52-second stretch in the third quarter, Randle drilled three 3-pointers on back-to-back-to-back possessions.
“I was just confident,” Randle said. “I put the work in. I know how hard I worked this summer on trying to improve as a shooter. So honestly I’m not really surprised. … I had it rolling.”
Along with the win, the Knicks also received some reinforcements as Elfrid Payton returned to New York’s lineup. The point guard had missed five games in a row with a strained right hamstring. The Knicks did not have Austin Rivers (personal) and Derrick Rose, who missed his ninth straight game as the veteran guard is “working his way through protocol,” Tom Thibodeau said during his pregame availability.
Wizards: Washington is among the NBA’s most intriguing teams on the eve of the trade deadline. The Wizards are 13th in the East, but have the league’s leading scorer in Beal, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Brooks is focused on the immediate. “Part of being in the NBA this time of the year, you (have) to be able to focus on the game and focus on what you do,” Brooks said. “If you’re worried about (trade rumors) … you’re going to have to learn how to deal with it. It’s just part of being a player in this league.”
Knicks: Before the game, the NBA announced Randle had been fined $15,000 “for directing inappropriate language toward a game official and public criticism of the officiating,” for his outburst following New York’s 101-100 overtime loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday. Randle had been called for a loose ball foul on Tobias Harris with 5.3 seconds left in overtime and the Knicks leading by a point. Harris made both free throws, and Randle missed a last-second shot which would have won the game. During his Zoom availability after the loss, Randle said the call was, “…ridiculous,” and added the on-court officiating “have to do a better job.”
Wizards: Hosts Detroit on Saturday night.
Knicks: Conclude two-game series against Washington at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.