The New York Knicks punched their proverbial ticket to take part in this year’s postseason with their Sunday evening win over the Washington Wizards.
This feat was accomplished as a result of a collective effort and, following their win, head coach Tom Thibodeau made sure to note that the club’s success is a result of a top-down confidence, starting with owner James Dolan.
“I love that we have an owner that has great belief in the team. That’s what I want. Then our job is to put the work in each day. There’s no trick to this, there’s no magic, there’s no shortcut to it. Just put the work in each and every day. And if you do that, you’ll get better, and you’ll have a chance. And that’s what we did. And we have a lot of young guys that are getting valuable experience. Young guys get better. So they’re out there, they’re learning, they’re getting better, and we’re developing a belief that we can win”
With their win, the Knicks are guaranteed at minimum a top-six seed heading into the postseason and, with three games remaining on the docket, they have the opportunity to jump up to the fourth seed should the Cleveland Cavaliers lose out.
Jalen Brunson Says Knicks Still Have ‘Work to Do’
Following the team’s win Sunday night, in a reserved tone, the guard spoke to reporters and stated that while making the postseason is a great accomplishment, he understands that there’s still work to be done as they move forward.
“It’s a great feeling,” Brunson said. “It’s something you strive for. You want a chance to compete. The fact that we get to further on our season is great but we have a lot of work to do.”
In his first season with the Knicks, Jalen Brunson has proven to be an absolute revelation.
Through 68 games played, the point guard finds himself posting per-game averages of 24.0 points, 6.2 assists, and 3.5 rebounds on 49.1% shooting from the floor and 41.6% shooting from deep.
Thibodeau Quick to Defend Julius Randle’s Play With Knicks
All-Star big man Julius Randle has been sidelined for the last two games due to a severe right ankle sprain sustained during the Knicks’ March 29 win over the Miami Heat. Said ailment is expected to keep him out of the lineup for at least the next few weeks, according to Sports Injury Analyst Dr. Evan Jeffries.
Despite this unfortunate situation, New York has gone undefeated since the injury while the club has sported the league’s fifth-best net rating at 11.2.
Though some such as Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell seem to believe there’s an argument to be made that the Knicks are a more challenging and quicker opponent without Randle in tow, Tom Thibodeau stated during a post-game media session on April 2 that he’d still much rather have his star power forward back in the mix moving forward.
“Well, Julius can play fast too, and he has,” Thibodeau said. “I’d rather be at full strength but when somebody’s out you’re going to play differently…To be successful in the playoffs…you need easy baskets but you also need execution in the half-court, you have to have guys who can go off the dribble, you have to have guys who can play [with their] back to the basket, you have to have a pick and roll game…So, you have to have a balance of it all.”
Before being shelved with his ankle injury, Julius Randle was posting stupendous per-game averages of 25.1 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 4.1 assists while shooting 45.9% from the floor.