WASHINGTON – Obi Topin scored a record 35 points, and the New York Knicks beat the Washington Wizards 114-92 on Friday night.
RJ Barrett scored 14 points for the Knicks before leaving the game with a sprained right knee. His early departure came on a night when a number of key players from both teams did not play at all. Both teams were eliminated from the playoffs. New York (36-45) moved the game ahead of Washington (35-46) for 11th place in the Eastern Conference.
The Knicks allowed the first 10 points of the game and scored just 2 of 9 from a 3-point range in the first quarter, but dominated after that. New York was 14 of 30 from a great distance by the end of the trip.
“We started, we were lethargic,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “It’s a long game, we just wanted to stop the bleeding and get going. I thought we got out of it and got the energy.”
The Knicks took control when they outscored Washington 36-19 in the second quarter and led 59-50 at halftime.
“We’ve had a problem three of the last four games, defending the 3-point line,” said Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. “We just didn’t have the urgency to get to the shooters.”
New York scored the last six points in the first half on the dunk, and then on four points by Topina. Then the Knicks scored the top 13 in the third quarter. Toppin finished the series with two more threes and scored 72-50.
“I used to think not to mess up. I feel like right now, I’m thinking of shooting first and then going behind, dribbling with the guys,” Toppin said. “Now I’m playing with a different type of confidence.”
Rui Hachimura led the Wizards with 21 points. Immanuel Quickley had 23 points and 10 assists for New York.
HE DIDN’T PLAY
The Wizards have been without Bradley Beal (left wrist) for more than two months, and Kyle Kuzma (right knee) has not played his 12th game in a row. Neither Kristaps Porzingis (right knee) nor Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (rest) played.
“I hope to at least see how we try to get to our seats and carry out the attack properly,” Unseld said. “It wasn’t like that for me, but once again, I’m not going to blame the guys for not feeling comfortable in different positions.”
Unseld said Kuzma, Porzingis and Caldwell-Pope will also miss the team finals in Charlotte.
New York was without Julius Randle (right quadriceps tendon) for the fourth game in a row. The Knicks also lost Nerlens Noel (left foot), Cam Reddish (right shoulder), Derrick Rose (right ankle) and Kemb Walker. Quentin Grimes (right knee) and Mitchell Robinson (non-COVID disease) missed every other match in a row.
Knicks: Toppin’s record in his previous career was 20 points.
Wizards: Washington delighted despite a 51% shot from the field. The Wizards had 22 turnovers, leading to 33 points for New York. … This was Washington’s home final. The Wizards were 21-20 at home this season.
Knicks: Host Toronto on Sunday night.
Wizards: In Charlotte on Sunday.