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)

The New York Knicks sought to get back in the win column against Washington after two straight close losses to Miami.

It’s always hard watching the New York Knicks lose. It’s even harder watching them lose close games.

Such was the case in the Knicks’ last two losses to the Miami Heat, which were by a combined eight points. In the latter game, on Tuesday, the Knicks would have won if not for going cold late in the game.

But Friday night provided a shot at redemption. With Derrick Rose back in the fold and looking great already, the Knicks headed to DC to face the Washington Wizards. Seeing as Washington is the second-worst team in the league, perhaps New York could wave its own magic wand.

After all, a big win over Russell Westbrook & Friends sans Bradley Beal could fire the team up to the point of another winning streak.

And now, some magic from yours truly Hocus pocus! Gifs, come into focus!


1st quarter: Magic Mitch

The New York Knicks got the strong start they needed thanks to some truly awful interior defense by the Wizards. New York feasted in the paint to the tune of outrebounding Washington 19-11 and also shot 50% from the field compared to Washington’s 36%.

The man of the hour was Mitchell Robinson, who looked quite wizardly himself. He finished the first quarter with eight points and seven rebounds and set himself up for a great night.

The New York Knicks led 30-23 after one, and hopefully the rest of the team would follow Robinson’s lead.



Halftime report: A Rose by any other name

Derrick Rose came off the bench late in the first quarter and played several minutes in the second. He didn’t put up the best stats, but did exactly what he needed to do.

Rose scored four points with three assists and a pair of steals in 11 minutes, reading the court just as well as he did in his MVP days. The New York Knicks kept chugging along, including Robinson’s continued great performance. He finished the first half with 10 points and 14 rebounds in 18 minutes.

As for the Wizards? Well, let’s just say I’ve seen more magic on my grandma’s old Siegfried & Roy VHS.



3rd quarter: Ab-Randle-cadabra

The New York Knicks came out of halftime with bad news: Robinson was out the rest of the game after fracturing his shooting hand.

Thankfully, Julius Randle was there to pick up the slack and scored 11 points in the third, including a pair of timely threes. Through three quarters, Randle had 20 points and 15 rebounds as Rose came off the bench late with more timely defense.

The Wizards may have made it tough early, but Randle alone kept the Knicks moving along.



 4th quarter: Rose becomes thorn

Derrick Rose was at it again off the bench in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 points and facilitating the offense while Randle got a break. The entire quarter was practically the reserves playing, and even Immanuel Quickley managed to score nine of his own.

In the end, the Knicks got the big win they needed and sunk the lowly Washington Wizards, 109-91.




Player of the game: Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose is back in New York as though he never left. The fact that he kept up the team’s energy despite the loss of Robinson and an off night from RJ Barrett says it all. 14 points, six assists, and four steals all in 20 minutes off the bench. No disrespect to Randle’s 24 points and 18 rebounds, but tonight belongs to Derrick Rose.



Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.