New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) shoots next to Washington Wizards center Ian Mahinmi (28) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, in Washington.
(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Julius Randle’s third-straight 30-point game was enough to lead the New York Knicks to a win over the severely shorthanded Wizards.

  • New York Knicks 107 (9-24)
  • Washington Wizards 100 (9-22)
  • NBA, Final, Box Score
  • Capital One Arena, Washington, DC

Don’t look now, but Julius Randle is starting to find a rhythm. The bullish forward has eclipsed 30 points in three-straight games, two of which were wins for his New York Knicks. On a night when RJ Barrett, Marcus Morris Sr., and Elfrid Payton all struggled, Randle was the go-to guy for interim head coach Mike Miller.

Randle finished the night with 30 points, 16 rebounds, and six assists. His five turnovers were the only real downside to his night, but sloppiness with the ball was a common theme for the Knicks. Payton’s six turnovers were a season-high for the normally careful floor general.

While the starters—outside of Randle—struggled, Miller’s bench answered the call. Bobby Portis paced the Knicks early with 15 of his 17 points coming in the first half. Frank Ntilikina anchored the unit defensively and provided some timely fourth-quarter buckets to stave off the scrappy Wizards.

It’s no surprise New York’s depth helped to overcome a battered and bruised Washington side. When the Wizards surprised the Knicks in Madison Square Garden on Monday, they were led by 30 points from Bradley Beal. On Saturday, Beal missed his first game since April 12, 2017. In the era of load management, a durable player like the Washington All-Star is rare.

Washington head coach Scott Brooks went with Isaiah Thomas, Gary Payton II, Troy Brown Jr., Johnathan Williams, and Ian Mahinmi as his starters. A win is a win in the NBA and the Knicks shouldn’t feel guilty about taking advantage of the walking wounded.

Rather, the Knicks are winners of two straight with an opportunity to win three in a row for the first time since November of 2018. The Portland Trail Blazers come to New York for a New Year’s Day bout (7:30 p.m. ET).

Oh, and it will be Carmelo Anthony‘s first game in the Garden in more than two years and depending on what his future holds, it could be his last.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.