Double Whammy: Knicks lose Mitchell Robinson to injury in brutal loss to Wizards

Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks
Jan 18, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Washington Wizards center Daniel Gafford (21) and New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (23) box out for a rebound in the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks lost for the second straight game. But what’s worse, it also cost them starting center Mitchell Robinson.

The Washington Wizards buried the lackadaisical Knicks with an avalanche of 3s to run away with a 116-105 win Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

A 3-13 shooting start saw the Knicks trail by 14 early, and a few minutes later, Robinson left the game with a sprained right thumb and never returned.

New York coach Tom Thibodeau said Robinson would be examined Thursday.

Without Robinson, the Knicks’ defense failed to get on track.

The Wizards shot 7 of 12 3s in the opening quarter for the wire-to-wire victory that avenged their 112-108 loss to the Knicks last week.

Bradley Beal scored 18 points in his return from a five-game absence due to a hamstring injury, while Kyle Kuzma picked up from where he left off the last time these two teams met. Kuzma paced the Wizards with 27 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists. Former Knick Kristaps Porzingis added 22 and 11.

Kuzma and Porzingis drained four triples each as Washington led by as many as 17.

The Knicks cut the Wizards’ several double-digit leads to single-digits and came within seven points in the fourth quarter. But every time they made a run, the Wizards had an answer.

They (Wizards) were making shots early. And they got a lot of confidence from that. I thought they played really well. And we missed shots and couldn’t get our defense on track.”

Tom Thibodeau postgame via MSG Network

Jalen Brunson carried the Knicks with 32 points but failed to get the team in rhythm. It was evident in their woeful 7 of 26 three-point shooting and nine missed free throws. They only had 14 assists.

In contrast, Washington had 28 assists. Their constant ball movement and kick-out passes kept the Knicks’ defense scrambling.

Bench production continued to be a problem for the Knicks, with Immanuel Quickley scoring 18 points while the rest had a measly six points.

The Knicks fell to 25-21 and 11-13 at home, the only winning team with a losing record at their homecourt.

Julius Randle had his 28th double-double this season, finishing with 14 points and 15 rebounds. It was his sixth consecutive game with at least 15 boards, but the Wizards’ defense forced him to miss 11 of 17 shots.

The Knicks will be looking to snap their losing streak Friday against rival Atlanta Hawks on the road, where they have the league’s second-best record (14-8) behind the Boston Celtics (16-7). But they will be hard-pressed against the soaring Hawks, winners of their last four games.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo