Mitchell Robinson didn’t need any time to adjust to being back on the court as he returned to the Knicks‘ lineup Friday night, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. In his first game since undergoing thumb surgery in January, Robinson had 10 points, 12 rebounds and posted a plus-12 rating in 28 minutes as New York rallied to beat the Wizards.
Now in sixth place at 34-27, the Knicks have been able to rise up the Eastern Conference standings without Robinson, who anchors the team on defense. His return gives New York a complete lineup as it tries to avoid the play-in tournament and possibly capture home court in the first round of the playoffs.
“Still have work that needs to be done, so I’m gonna take it day by day,” Robinson said. “Still trying to get better at stuff I’m normally already used to doing. So just gotta lock in and get better at it. We only got 22 games left (now 21) in 40-something days. So we’re gonna make the best of it and get it right.”
There’s more on the Knicks:
- Julius Randle played in the All-Star Game, but he looked much fresher on Friday than his more rested teammates, notes Steve Popper of Newsday. Randle scored 46 points and sparked a rally that led to the Knicks overcoming a 19-point deficit. “Just came out aggressive,” he said. “That time of the year. Just gotta lock in. Just lost in the game, man, so whatever the team needs, that’s what I’m gonna do.”
- RJ Barrett played just 28 minutes against Washington and remained on the bench late in the game as coach Tom Thibodeau used Immanuel Quickley and Josh Hart to get better defense on the wing, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “A lot of it is flow of the game,” Thibodeau explained. “Like I said, I love our depth. We have a number of guys that are coming off the bench that are starters. There’s no dropoff. So whoever is going good, whatever the best matchup is, that’s what we’re going to go with. … So we need everyone. We’re asking guys to sacrifice. Some guys would like to start and they’re not starting. And some guys would like more shots and more minutes. That’s common. But everyone has to put the team first.”
- Knicks owner James Dolan skipped a New York City Council hearing Friday on facial recognition technology, which he allegedly uses to keep his enemies from entering Madison Square Garden, according to Chris Sommerfeldt of The New York Daily News.