Julius Randle threw himself quite the birthday party.
On the same day he turned 28, the Knicks forward dropped a season-high 36 points as the Knicks steamrolled the terrible Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night, 140-110.
“I’m getting old,” Randle laughed in a postgame interview with MSG Network. “I got to cherish these games.”
Randle was aggressive early — a reversal from the passivity of his previous outing two nights earlier against Memphis — and nearly matched his age with points at halftime. He finished with six 3-pointers on 13 attempts, adding five assists and seven rebounds in 31 minutes.
Randle sat the entire fourth quarter because of the blowout.
His highlight was a soaring one-handed jam over Pistons center Isaiah Stewart early in the third quarter. The response from Stewart, who tried to fight LeBron James last season, was to shove Randle, leading to a technical foul and a 19-point Knicks advantage.
Since last season Randle has shot better on the road, which he joked was about getting time away from his two young children.
“I get some sleep,” he said. “Nah, I’m just kidding, I love them.”
The Pistons never got closer after Randle’s dunk. The fourth quarter was 12 minutes of garbage time. It continued the Knicks trend of handling business against the worst of the NBA. They’ve feasted on the bottom dwellers, especially the league-worst Pistons (5-18), who the Knicks (10-11) already toppled thrice this season (four times if you count preseason). The bad news is they’re scheduled for only one more contest this season against the Pistons.
After Friday’s offensive party, Tom Thibodeau’s squad is 5-0 against the bottom-three teams in the Eastern Conference — the Pistons, Magic and Hornets.
They’ll probably find more resistance in Wednesday’s home game against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks.
The Pistons brought little defense on Tuesday and the Knicks took advantage. They had 40 points in the first quarter and dropped 38 in the third. The 140 points looked easy.
Their starters dominated with Jalen Brunson, RJ Barrett and Quentin Grimes scoring 16 points apiece. Brunson battled foul problems and needed just 18 minutes for his total.
Besides being young and allergic to defense, the Pistons were missing their last two top draft picks due to injuries, Cade Cunningham (shin) and Jaden Ivey (knee).
Stewart finished with a team-high 19 points but was dominated by the birthday boy.
The Knicks waived Feron Hunt and signed DaQuan Jeffries to a two-way contract. Hunt played two games and four minutes this season. Jeffries is arriving from the Westchester Knicks of the G League, where he was averaging 14.6 points in 30.2 minutes. He was considered a candidate for a roster spot in training camp but suffered a concussion and missed the final two preseason contests. … Reserve guard Ryan Arcidiacono suffered a sprained ankle at the end of Tuesday’s game.