mitchell robinson
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Mitchell Robinson finally broke out for the New York Knicks this season.

From injuries to being benched over conditioning issues this month, it hasn’t been an easy season for Mitchell Robinson. That all changed when he proved the most reliable man on the court for the New York Knicks in Tuesday’s 96-88 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Robinson finished the game with 14 points and a season-high 18 rebounds, including six on the offensive end. He was one of five Knicks players who scored in double figures, and Robinson also led New York in scoring for the night.

And it was a good thing he did, because the New York Knicks otherwise played an ugly game. After being up by as many as 17 in the second quarter, the team fell victim to a tough zone defense from Minnesota. The Knicks started the frame on a 10-0 run only to be outscored 19-5 the rest of the way.

It didn’t help that the offense generally went cold too. Julius Randle had 13 points with 15 rebounds, but was 5 of 20 from the field with just one three. Seven of RJ Barrett’s eight points came in the fourth quarter. Oh, and how about the Knicks making only 6 of 16 free throws?

It was also a quiet game for the recently resurgent Kemba Walker, who only had nine points but whose three-pointers boosted the Knicks accordingly.

Through it all, Mitchell Robinson knew exactly where he was at all times. He never stopped following the ball and had several of his signature putback dunks. Even with a sprained left wrist taped up in the second half, he never stopped playing hard.

With Nerlens Noel still in the health and safety protocols, this is the Robinson the Knicks needed tonight. Even in an ugly win, his determined patrol of the paint kept New York in the game. Well, that and the Timberwolves without their three core players and also shooting 7 of 38 from three.


Looking ahead

We all know what Mitchell Robinson is capable of when he’s healthy and, more importantly, focused. Tonight was one of those nights.

Now, with the league-worst Detroit Pistons on tap for tomorrow, let’s hope the New York Knicks don’t make Robinson carry the lion’s share again.

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.