ATLANTA — Julius Randle spun on the low block, pump-faked, then jumped into Hawks’s defender Saddiq Bey, warding Bey’s block attempt with one arm
Randle shrugged his shoulders, as if to shed Bey’s body weight. Then he had some words for a fan sitting court side before stepping to the line and hitting his free throw.
Randle received the inbounds pass, then immediately rifled a no-look pass to a cutting Isaiah Hartenstein, who finished at the rim for an and-one of his own.
A night like this has been a long time coming for Randle, who endured one of the worst opening-season stretches imaginable after enduring offseason ankle surgery.
The victory wasn’t without its theatrics — Randle and Hawks star Trae Young jawed back and forth and were separated by Isaiah Hartenstein, who shoved Young in the direction of his bench.
Randle had help, none from the officials, who awarded the Knicks with just nine free throws to 24 for the Hawks.