Randle, Knicks outmuscle Beal-less Wizards in 109-91 win

Sports

WASHINGTON (AP)Julius Randle had 24 points and a season-high 18 rebounds, and the New York Knicks cruised to a 109-91 victory over the cold-shooting Washington Wizards on Friday night.

Derrick Rose scored 14 points in 20 efficient minutes off the bench in his second game for the Knicks, who stopped a two-game skid but lost center Mitchell Robinson to a fractured right hand.

”We know how important he is to the team, and any time someone gets hurt, you certainly feel for him,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. ”You don’t replace a guy like that individually. You have to do it collectively. And everybody’s got to step up.”

Russell Westbrook had 23 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Wizards, who lacked a reliable second option with NBA scoring leader Bradley Beal sitting out to rest for the first time this season. Washington had its second-lowest points total of the season and has lost four of five.

”Effort is very important. We’ve got to take pride in defending, take pride in protecting our home court, just take individual pride,” Westbrook said. ”One thing I’m not going to do is give up or give in to our record or anything else that’s going on.”

The Knicks dominated inside, with a 58-42 advantage in points in the paint and a 65-46 edge in rebounding. Robinson had 10 points and 14 rebounds, all in the first half, but was injured just before halftime when his hand collided with Randle’s elbow while contesting a shot from Rui Hachimura. Robinson will be re-evaluated when the team returns to New York.

”It definitely will be tough without him,” Randle said. ”He brings so much to the game, especially on the defensive end with his rebounding.”

The Wizards shot 38.2% overall and 9 of 34 (26.5%) from 3-point range against the league’s best scoring defense.

”We’re not shooting it great, and that happens, but we cannot let that affect the defensive end,” said Garrison Mathews, who scored 14 points and made four 3-pointers in his first career start. ”It’s a want-to. It’s how hard you want to do it.”

Washington got within three points midway through the third quarter, but Randle responded with a 3-pointer and New York bridged the third and fourth quarters with a 14-0 run to put the game away.

Westbrook missed a layup to start the fourth quarter, paused under the basket and jogged slowly to the other end as Immanuel Quickley took a pass from Rose and buried a 3-pointer. Rose followed that with a jumper to give the Knicks a 20-point lead.

”I’ve got to match everybody’s intensity when I’m out there, play as hard as I can defensively,” said Rose, who was acquired Monday in a trade with Detroit. ”Once I do that, everything just falls into place. I’m trying to get everybody’s trust on the team by letting them know that if you run, you’ll get the ball, and so far it’s working.”

TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES

The game was delayed for about nine minutes between the first and second quarters because of a malfunctioning video replay monitor at the scorers’ table. Westbrook entertained the nonexistent crowd by dancing in the tunnel during the break.

TIP-INS

Knicks: Quickley finished with 16 points. … Frank Ntilikina missed his second straight game because of COVID-19 contact tracing. Thibodeau said Ntilikina continues to test negative. … New York faced Washington for the only time in the first half of the season.

Wizards: Coach Scott Brooks said Beal was not injured and Washington’s upcoming schedule made Friday a good night to rest him. The Wizards close out February with nine games in 15 days, including a West Coast trip. … Mathews, an undrafted, second-year player out of Lipscomb, came in as a career 40.2% 3-point shooter. He led the Wizards with 22 points in the only other game Beal missed this season, a 128-124 loss to Miami on Jan. 9. … Ish Smith left at halftime with quad tightness.

UP NEXT

Knicks: Host Houston on Saturday night.

Wizards: Host Boston on Sunday.

Follow Ben Nuckols at https://twitter.com/APBenNuckols

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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