The Knicks would kick off their second game of a back-to-back as they departed Philadelphia for the nation’s capital to take on the Wizards. Entering tonight’s game, Washington sat at just 6-28 on the season, and New York would have an opportunity to climb as high as the fourth seed with some help from the Celtics. Handling business on the road, they proved just too much to handle for the Wizards as they walloped them by 17 points in this one-sided matchup, claiming their fourth-straight win in a row since the acquisition of OG Anunoby.
It was an impressive showing on offense and defense as the Knicks continue to make noise in the Eastern Conference with their new-look lineup.
Good Times Keep Rolling For the Knicks
Julius Randle was not effective in the Knicks’ dominant win over the Philadelphias 76ers, so of course he responded by leading the team in scoring on the night. Dropping 39 points for the second time in his last three games, the two-time All-NBA forward was brilliant, shooting 56.5% from the field and adding seven boards and five assists as well. He was a finalist for Eastern Conference Player of the Month in December and has continued his run of excellent play, and his resurgence after his slow start to the season has brought the Knicks to new heights.
His excellent play has been matched by the scoring barrage of Jalen Brunson, who also went for 30+ points adding 33 of his own with eight assists and three rebounds. Brunson hit four of his eight threes and made all nine of his attempts from the charity stripe as well, and he once again rose to the occasion when the Knicks needed him most. The third quarter was shaky for the Knicks as the Wizards cut the lead to single-digits multiple times after the Knicks held Washington to just 43 points at the half, and Brunson put them away each time they staged a comeback.
These two are the motor of the offense, but the Knicks had many unsung heroes in this win. Isaiah Hartenstein has emerged as one of the best centers in the NBA since replacing Mitchell Robinson in the starting lineup, as he brought down 19 boards and added four steals and eight points as well. According to +/-, Hartenstein was the most impactful player on the court tonight (+26) and has averaged 8.0 points, 9.7 rebounds, and even 3.1 assists a game as a big man that doesn’t see many possessions on the court relative to the other starters.
OG Anunoby added nine points, five rebounds, and two assists on the night on efficient shooting, and the Knicks are now 4-0 since his acquisition. They’ve been dominant in those games as well, with their smallest margin of victory coming in their first game with Anunoby (6), and it was over a Timberwolves team that sits atop the Western Conference at an impressive 25-9, trailing just the Boston Celtics for the best record in the NBA. As the Knicks look to continue this hot stretch of play, Anunoby’s defense will be paramount to their success, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s a solid marksman as well.
Donte DiVincenzo added 10 points, five rebounds, and three assists but only hit two of his seven threes in an off night for the red-hot guard. Quentin Grimes added six points on two threes in four attempts and Josh Hart added nine points and four rebounds on eight shots, going +24 on the court and providing incredible defense to help the Knicks stave off a Wizards comeback in the second half. Miles McBride had five points and five assists, and Precious Achiuwa added two points at the end of the game as well.
The Knicks now improve to 21-15 on the season, and with the Pacers’ loss to the Celtics, they sit alone as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. They look to continue their excellent stretch of play at home against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, as New York is on a surge in the standings.