Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks let the Charlotte Hornets come within one point in the third quarter, and then remembered every point counts. Julius Randle led the way with 25 points and an eye-popping 20 rebounds in the Knicks’ 115-91 victory, putting New York in the In-Season Tournament’s quarterfinal.

Josh Hart, after voicing frustrations about his role in the offense, had his best game of the season. He added 17 points and six rebounds off the bench.

It was a typical Knicks blow out. New York controlled most of the game and Charlotte carried momentum here and there. However, the added pressure of tiebreakers and score differential made every shot count. The Knicks starters played deep into the fourth quarter Immanuel Quickley was simply throwing up deep threes at the end.

All Charlotte could do was watch as the benchwarmers did all they could to slow down the hard-charging Knicks.

And once the scoring dust settled, it was set. Milwaukee won East Group B and the Knicks earned a wild card berth. Both teams will meet in Milwaukee for their quarterfinal matchup next week.

The Knicks will have their work cut out for them. They still committed 16 turnovers in this blowout win and the Bucks are the No. 2 team in the Eastern Conference. Sure, the Knicks held their own in a rough loss earlier this month, but Milwaukee now features Damian Lillard at point guard. The former Portland standout was acquired in September in a trade for Jrue Holiday.

A regular season game dressed up to look like a tournament. Two teams that always play each other hard. Damian Lillard, who left being a forever bridesmaid in Portland for a fresh start in Milwaukee. You know he’s treating this one like it’s Game 7 of the NBA Finals and prepared to go off.

All in all, this tournament has been great for both the Knicks and the league entire. Now, let’s see New York win the cup.

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.