Knicks' Julius Randle on 44-Point Game: I'm at a Level I've Never Been Before

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IFebruary 16, 2021

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) dribbles the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Even Julius Randle was impressed with his performance after he dropped 44 points to lead the New York Knicks to a 123-112 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday.

"I just feel my game is at a level it hasn't been at before," he told reporters postgame. "Mentally, I'm at a level I haven't been at before."

The 26-year-old registered a career-high seven three-pointers in the win and flirted with a double-double, posting nine rebounds and five assists.

ESPN @espn

"If this man is not an All-Star, there's a problem." Julius Randle's teammates got in on the postgame interview after he dropped 44 in a win 😂 https://t.co/IATz3X5TFq

Looking at the numbers he's put up since entering the league as the No. 7 overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2014, he's not wrong. Entering Monday, Randle was averaging 22.4 points, 11.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists through 28 games, clocking in for an average of 36.6 minutes.

His 46.9 percent field-goal percentage isn't a career high, but he's 39.1 percent from three and 80.6 percent from the line—both numbers he hasn't reached in the past.

In addition to personal records, Randle also ended a Knicks drought. According to an ESPN report, the Knicks haven't had a 40-point scorer since March 2018—183 games ago. Randle's 44 points were the most by a Knicks player since 2017, when Carmelo Anthony collected 45.

With a strong season thus far, Randle is looking to be named to the All-Star Game for the first time in his career when the starters and reserves are announced ahead of the March 7 game. But if he keeps it up, he might be able to help the Knicks end another drought—their lack of postseason appearances.

The 14-15 Knicks are the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, behind the 14-14 Indiana Pacers and 13-13 Boston Celtics. They haven't made the playoffs since 2013.