The most consistent thing about the Knicks in the time since Mike Miller took over as interim coach has been his pleading and preaching for consistency.
So perhaps if you’re trying to explain how the Knicks blew a double-digit lead Monday to a conglomeration of Wizards players — really, players in Wizards uniforms, because even coach Scott Brooks might have had a hard time identifying some of them — and then routed a surging Nets squad, well, consistency is preached, but it certainly hasn’t been played.
The Knicks rebounded from that loss and responded with a consistent pounding of the Nets in a 94-82 win at Barclays Center on Thursday night.
Julius Randle led the Knicks with 33 points and shot 14-for-26, including 5-for-9 on three-pointers. Marcus Morris added 22 points.
Elfrid Payton had 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists and one turnover. Mitchell Robinson added 10 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Knicks (8-24), and for a night, it let them get past the loss to Washington and the alarming comments that followed about a lack of focus. The NBA’s elite can be forgiven for a lack of focus. The Knicks cannot.
Miller, who has yet to voice a disparaging word about anyone or anything in the organization, is sticking with that line, but the players have admitted that they sensed a lack of focus Monday, not just in the game, but beginning at the morning shootaround that day.
If Miller wouldn’t say it, he did act upon it, putting the team through a two-hour shootaround at Barclays Center.
“Yeah, we had a long shootaround,” Morris said. “So we kind of had to stay focused, because everything that we did wrong, we redid it. Sometimes it takes that, especially for a younger team. I’ve been on a lot of teams where you did do it that way. We came out and they scored 80 points. It was a great game by us. The focus was very high. We took care of business.”
Morris is more blunt than Miller, but there are no amount of polite words that can cover up losing to a Wizards squad that was missing eight players, one that responded to beating the Knicks by losing by 30 points in Detroit on Thursday.
Oddly, the only consistent thing for the Knicks this season has been playing the Nets. The Knicks lost by four in Brooklyn in the first week of the season, then dropped a two-point decision at Madison Square Garden.
The Nets scored their fewest points of the season and became only the second team this season, along with the Bulls, to shoot less than 30% in a game. Their .269 percentage against the Knicks was the worst by any team in the league this season.
“Our focus was better,” said Randle, who set a career high for three-pointers. “Coaches gave us a great game plan. We executed it. We were sharp. To hold their team to 82 points, 14 points in the paint, is really good. So we grinded the whole way, played a complete basketball game and got the win.
“The past is the past. I just think we had a great day from start to finish. Like I said, the coaches gave us a great game plan and we went out there and executed it. We had a mental sharpness and focus to us from start to finish. We did a great job and I’m proud of my guys.”