Just like everybody expected, the New York Knicks won back-to-back road games against two of the best teams the Western Conference has to offer fresh off a devastating loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Knicks now find themselves sitting at 8-7 when many fans thought it was only going to get worse after the Thunder loss. The addition of Jalen Brunson was greatly felt in the win over the Nuggets as he appeared to be the difference maker there.
Julius Randle had a very strong game as well and finished with 34 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists. Last season, a game like that might not have resulted in a win, but last year didn’t feature Brunson on the roster.
Brunson finished with 21 points, seven assists, and five rebounds in the victory. After the game he was asked what stood out for him in the victory, and he had a very simple answer: Julius Randle.
Brunson Praises Randle
We’re 15 games into the season now, so the sample size for how this team will perform is certainly growing, and Randle is starting to show what he brings to the table.
On the season, Randle is averaging 20.4 points per game, 8.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists. More importantly, he’s shooting 45.9 percent from the floor, so while that’s down from his career average 47.2 percent, it’s trending in the right direction.
Brunson has stepped into a leadership role during his time with the Knicks, and he’s doing his best to shout out his teammates whenever possible. For example, he named Randle as the thing that stood out following the win over the Nuggets.
“Julius Randle, Julius Randle and, um, Julius Randle,” he said.
It’s hard to find any issue with him saying that after the win, but it’s interesting for him to say that after he had a strong game himself. In fact, he even pulled off a rare feat of dunking during it.
Brunson is showing he has his teammate’s back, especially after Randle has come under a lot of criticism over the past season that has since boiled over into this year.
Randle Gives It Back
Brunson isn’t known for his high-flying abilities, and that’s certainly not the reason the Knicks signed him, but he’s shown he can still throw it down from time to time.
Randle was in disbelief after hearing he dunked during the game.
“He said he dunked,” he said via the New York Basketball fan account. “I didn’t see it. Did he really? Wow… I don’t believe it. I didn’t know what he was talking about.”
The main takeaway here is the team appears to be having fun, and that’s always a good indicator of success. When the team is miserable and having a bad time, it’s tough to imagine that resulting in a good on-court product.
We’re still pretty early into the season, so things can certainly change in a hurry, but things are going well so far. The Knicks bounced back very well from the Thunder loss by winning back-to-back games over what look like playoff teams right now. These are the types of wins they’ll need to get if they want to find themselves in the playoffs too.
To make the play-in tournament, the Knicks will need to finish no lower than the 10th seed, and it’s looking like that’ll certainly be possible at this stage in the year.