NBA: Knicks win fourth straight, ease past Wizards | Inquirer Sports

NBA: Knicks win fourth straight, ease past Wizards

/ 02:14 PM January 07, 2024

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Julius Randle Knicks NBA

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) shoots between Washington Wizards defenders Daniel Gafford, front left, and Deni Avdija, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON — Julius Randle scored 39 points, Jalen Brunson had 33 and the New York Knicks won their fourth straight game, beating the Washington Wizards 121-105 on Saturday night in the NBA.

Coming off an impressive 128-92 win at Philadelphia on Friday night, the Knicks (21-15) led throughout and had a 60-34 lead late in the first half, causing the thousands of New York fans in Washington to loudly chant: “Let’s go Knicks! Let’s go Knicks!”

“It was important to come out with energy, especially on a back-to-back,” Brunson said. “It’s fun whenever you’re winning..”

Brunson and Randle obviously enjoy playing with each other.

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“Collectively, we both have the same mindset,” Brunson said. “As long as we’re winning, we can get better the next day and keep going from there.”

Randle’s 39 points were two off his season high. Isaiah Hartenstein had 19 rebounds for the Knicks.

“It was just not the pace. It was the all-around play,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “Just being ready to play, playing with a lead, good defensive activity.”

New York is 14-1 against teams that currently have losing records.

“Don’t play with your food,” Randle said. “Take care of what you’re supposed to take care of and just keep improving. The basketball gods got a funny way of rewarding you or humbling you. We just try to approach every game the right way.”

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Kyle Kuzma scored 27 points but the Wizards lost their fourth straight. Deni Avdija had 23.

The Wizards committed 20 turnovers, two off their season high, and the Knicks scored 23 points off them.

“We knew going in that they’re a very aggressive, a very physical team,” Washington coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “I don’t think we came out anticipating that amount of force.”

The Wizards (6-29) began the second half strong and cut the lead to 74-69 with 5:23 to play in the third quarter as Avdija and Kuzma combined for 19 points.

“They were just playing zone, trying to junk the game up, trying to slow us down,” Randle said. “We weren’t executing.”

Thibodeau called three timeouts in the third quarter and lambasted his team when Washington cut the lead to five.

“I can’t repeat it. I can’t,” Brunson said when asked what Thibodeau told the team. “Basically, be better.”

New York outscored the Wizards 17-6 to close out the third, with Randle scoring eight points.

“There’s going to be runs in the game,” Thibodeau said. “They started the third on a run. Now that we gave them hope that they could get back into the game, which they did. I knew they play hard.”

The Wizards returned home after two losses at Cleveland by a combined 63 points on Wednesday and Friday.

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Knicks: Host Portland on Tuesday.

Wizards: Host Oklahoma City on Monday.

TAGS: Julius Randle, NBA, New York Knicks

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