Julius Randle got fined $15,000 by the NBA, then tried to score 15,000 points on the lowly Wizards. Randle took out any lasting referee frustrations out on Washington Tuesday at the Garden as he
Julius Randle got fined $15,000 by the NBA, then tried to score 15,000 points on the lowly Wizards.
Randle took out any lasting referee frustrations out on Washington Tuesday at the Garden as he poured in 37 points, making 7 of 10 3-pointers, as the Knicks blew out the Wizards, 131-113. Randle’s seven 3s tied a career-high.
The All-Star power forward, who was punished for his inflammatory remarks about the refereeing in the Knicks’ loss to Philly on Sunday, is the chief reason the Knicks are 22-22, already surpassing last season’s win total.
“The statement was the win was the most important thing,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said of Randle. “He’s done that a number of times for us. To bounce back after a tough loss, and the way we lost the game, that’s what leaders do.”
Randle, who hasn’t missed a game this season, shot 13 of 24 from the field as the Knicks won a wire-to-wire blowout.
They face the Wizards at the Garden again on Thursday. With another win, the Knicks would have schooled Las Vegas, which had their Over/Under for wins at 22 ½.
Randle had 35 points midway through the third quarter, hitting 3-pointers over all of Washington’s youngsters, including Israeli lottery pick Deni Avidja and Rui Hachimuru.
Thibodeau kept Randle in for much of the fourth quarter instead of rolling with rookie Obi Toppin, the Knicks’ lottery pick who is in a slump. Toppin played just eight minutes and was scoreless for the fourth straight game as Randle offered him some consoling words on the bench late in the contest.
The Knicks built a 69-49 lead at halftime with Randle going for 21 points, making 8 of 14 shots, hitting 3 of 4 from 3-point line.
Center Mitchell Robinson, in his second game back following hand surgery, scored 16 points with 12 rebounds and three blocks. RJ Barrett scored 21 points and Alec Burks added 20.
Starting point guard Elfrid Payton returned from a four-game absence with a hamstring strain. He lofted a high alley-oop pass for Robinson, who leapt to the Garden ceiling for the monster slam.
Before the game, Robinson admitted it was going to take a little more time.
“I just have to get back into shape, like game-playing shape,’’ he said. “I’ve been running a lot. Just have to get back to myself as of game-playing shape. But it felt great, getting back out there with the guys.’’
This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Marc Berman