new york knicks
Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Julius Randle paces the New York Knicks with 37 points on seven three-pointers as they throttle the Washington Wizards.

Danny Small

The New York Knicks took care of business against the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night. New York has suffered some brutal losses against top Eastern Conference teams over the last week or so, but they continue to beat up on inferior teams like the Wizards.

Surprise, surprise. Julius Randle and RJ Barrett were instrumental in the dominant victory. Randle’s three-point shooting is here to stay. He drilled seven triples on his way to 37 points while Barrett chipped in with a casual 21 points, five rebounds, five assists, and two blocks.

Here are three highlights and three observations from New York’s 131-113 win over Washington on Tuesday night.

Highlight 1: Immanuel Quickley Stepback

Highlight 2: Mitchell Robinson Tapback

Highlight 3: Julius Randle Barrage

Observation 1: Julius Randle Always Has The Answer

Julius Randle was fined $15,000 by the NBA for public criticism of the referees and inappropriate language on the court after Sunday’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. He responded with 37 points, but it wasn’t about making a statement for Randle. It was about getting the win.

“My motivation is just to win games and do my part for this team so I didn’t need any extra motivation,” Randle told reporters on Zoom after the game.

Time and time again, Randle answers the bell. Whether it’s a bad loss for the team or a poor individual performance on his part, Randle doesn’t seem to let the Knicks fall too deep into the abyss of losing.

The last time the Knicks lost three consecutive games was in late January. With Randle leading the way, this team is becoming much more consistent.

Observation 2: The Wizards Are Bad Defensively

This isn’t a new observation, but it’s something that strikes me every time the Knicks play Washington — the Wizards are awful defensively.

The Knicks are 23rd in the league in offensive rating but looked like the 2015 Golden State Warriors during parts of this game. Washington continues to be one of the most perplexing teams in the NBA.

The league is trending more towards offense with each passing year, but the Knicks showed that defense still wins games.

Observation 3: Taking Care of Business

The Knicks are 3-4 since the All-Star break with all three wins coming against sub-.500 teams and all four losses coming against playoff squads. The struggles to close out games against playoff teams shows that the Knicks are still a young team that needs to learn how to win.

However, it’s also worth acknowledging their success in games that they “should” win. Beating up on lesser teams is a sign of this group’s maturation.

Winning these kinds of games is a prerequisite for the Knicks making the playoffs. They will need to steal a few games from those top teams as well but beating sub-.500 teams is the bare minimum.

The Knicks will have a chance to go over .500 on Thursday when they play the Wizards in Madison Square Garden again.

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