Unfortunately for the Knicks, the win wasn’t without sacrifice, as Julius Randle left the game early due to an ankle sprain. Speaking to the media after the game, Isaiah Hartenstein discussed Randle’s leadership qualities, revealing how the star forward helped him navigate a difficult start to life in the Big Apple.
It was health first of all; I think it was after one game I played bad; I think I got a text from Julius, just saying to keep going,” Hartenstein said. “Just him being a teammate like that. I think helped give me more confidence. And I think of the whole season; he’s been really good at making sure that everyone feels comfortable.”
Hartenstein has begun to find his feet within the Knicks rotation and was unquestionably his team’s best big man against Miami, where he helped their cause with 6 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals while shooting 60% from the field.
Jalen Brunson Speaks on Julius Randle’s Injury
With the regular season drawing to a close, an injury to a team’s best player couldn’t come at a worse time. However, Jalen Brunson is choosing to remain confident and believes that Randle will be back in the rotation sooner rather than later.
“I know Julius is a fighter, he’s a competitor, he’s doing everything he can to make sure he’s ready to go,” Brunson said. “Not that concerned.”
Tom Thibodeau Urges Knicks to Remain Focused
Losing Randle at any point in the season would be a significant blow to New York’s playoff chances; however, losing him with so few games remaining will certainly be a worry for their coaching staff and fans.
However, Tom Thibodeau believes that the Knicks have enough talent within their roster to keep the team on track while Randle’s injury gets evaluated and ultimately recovers. When speaking to the media as part of his post-game press conference, Thibodeau discussed the depth of New York’s bench and urged them to adopt a next-man-up mentality in their star player’s absence.
“We understand where we are and what we have to do,” Thibodeau said. “But, we have more than enough on our bench. I thought our bench was terrific. So, next guy, get in there, next man up, get it done, and that’s the way we have to approach it.”
New York’s next game will come on Sunday, April 2, when they face the Washington Wizards – a team that has been struggling all season but looked impressive during their recent win over the Boston Celtics. As such, the Knicks will need to remain focused on taking each game as it comes as they look to keep distance from the Brooklyn Nets, who sit sixth in the Eastern Conference, 2.5 games behind New York.