The Knicks continue to beat the Wizards after nearly taking another lead

WASHINGTON — Julius Randle posted to his TikTok account on Friday a video of a funny conversation in which he asked his 6-year-old son, Kiden, what grade the youngster would give the Knicks beyond the middle of the regular season.

When Kyden responded that he would rate his dad’s team a “C,” Randle joked, “Tough critic lol, looks like we’ve got some work to do.”

Much of that work has to do with closing double-digit leads, of course, but the Knicks held on for a 112-108 victory over the Wizards at Capital One Arena on Friday night after nearly squandering a 15-point lead in the fourth. quarter.

“I feel like we played better than we have recently, but we still have some work to do,” Jalen Brunson said. “We’ve got to close out games better and we’ve got to find ways to make life easier for us, for each other.”

Brunson scored 34 points with eight assists and eight rebounds, his fourth game of at least 30 in six games since returning from a hip injury earlier this month.

Julius Randle dunks during the Knicks' win over the Wizards on Jan. 13.
Julius Randle dunks during the Knicks’ win over the Wizards on Jan. 13.
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Randle contributed 23 points and 16 rebounds as the Knicks won for the ninth time in 11 road games and improved to 13-8 away from the Garden this season, trailing only the Celtics and Nets in road wins (14 each).

“I really think it was defensively,” Randle said. “I don’t know what the numbers were, but our ability to win and get stops and then execute in the second half and create separation was good for us.”

Kyle Kuzma finished with 40 points and former Knicks All-Star Kristaps Porzingis had 21 on 6-for-19 shooting for the Wizards (18-25), just below his 22.0-point average for the season.

Porzingis missed his first five attempts, but the Knicks started the game 2-for-14 from the field before a 12-0 run put them within 21-19 after the first quarter.

Kuzma scored nine points in the first six minutes of the second quarter as Washington extended its lead to eight, but a late Brunson 3-pointer put the Knicks up 53-50 at the break.

Kuzma finished the half with 18 for the Wizards, who have been without leading scorer Bradley Beal (split) for the past four games.

Jaylen Brunson shoots during the Knicks' win over the Wizards on Jan. 13.
Jaylen Brunson shoots during the Knicks’ win over the Wizards on Jan. 13.
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Immanuel Quickley reacts after making a three-pointer during the Knicks' win over the Wizards on Jan. 13.
Immanuel Quickley reacts after making a three-pointer during the Knicks’ win over the Wizards on Jan. 13.

The Knicks retook the lead on Quentin Grimes’ 3-pointer with 3:12 left in the third, and Randle’s highlight reel over Washington center Daniel Gafford — with the foul upheld on review — made it a five-point game midway through the period. .

Three-point conversions by Grimes and Isaiah Hartenstein — with the latter a nice pass sequence from Barrett to Immanuel Quickley to Hartenstein for a key dunk — helped the Knicks to an 80-76 advantage heading into the final quarter.

When Kyden Randle was asked earlier by his father what area the Knicks need to improve the most, was his one-word answer? “Passage.”

“I think he would like that. I definitely think he would love that,” Julius Randle said. “I have to ask him tonight.”

RJ Barrett dunks in the second quarter.
RJ Barrett dunks in the second quarter.

Quickley added 18 points and RJ Barrett finished with 17 for the Knicks, each converting a three-point play for a 94-79 lead 3:30 into the fourth quarter.

Kuzma’s and-1 play and driving layup put the Wizards back within three with 27.0 seconds left. Randle missed one of two free throws and then was fouled on a 3-point attempt by Kuzma, who knocked down two of three for a 108-106 game with 16.6 seconds left on the clock.

Brunson coolly sank four free throws in the final 13.3 seconds for the Knicks, who have won six of seven after a five-game losing streak with a 24-19 overall record.

“We picked it up a little bit, had stops, got into transition, got some and-1s and just found a way,” Brunson said. “We have to keep fighting. We knew they wouldn’t give up. That lead helped us a little bit and helped us secure a big enough lead to put them away at the end.”