The New York Knicks (5-3) are looking to bounce back following consecutive losses to the Raptors and Pacers. However, they’ll face a daunting task at Fiserv Forum on Friday as they attempt to right the ship against the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks.
For his part, Knicks star Julius Randle figures to have some extra juice in the game. He found great inspiration in watching Giannis Antetokounmpo and Co. hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy over the summer.
“It motivates me extremely,” Randle said of seeing the Bucks win the NBA title, via the New York Post. “I remember watching it and getting chills. I’m getting chills right now just thinking about it. Because I know personally the grind and effort and how much time it takes to continue to get better, how much time it takes you really have to put in.”
Every player wants to win a title, of course. But the idea of winning one in the Big Apple — where the Knicks haven’t hung a championship banner since 1973 — is extra appealing to Randle.
“When you asked me, I got chills thinking about it. I don’t think there’s no better place to do it than here. I’ve always said there’s no better place than New York.”
Some Common Ground
What impressed Randle the most about the Bucks’ big win was the way in which they climbed to the top of the mountain. Specifically, their grassroots approach to building a championship roster.
“It was beautiful to watch, simply because the aspect of they built it from the ground up,” Randle said. “They didn’t put a super team together. These guys were in the mud every day grinding.”
In some ways, Randle’s Knicks have been built in a similar way. New York went through the struggles before ending its playoff drought last season. And instead of following that up by breaking the bank to bring in multiple big names, the club mostly just re-signed its own guys and brought in players to complement Randle and RJ Barrett.
Time will tell if the strategy will yield a championship result for the Knicks, but Randle is quick to point out that the Bucks took a few steps back before leaping forward.
“They took some lumps along the way there trying to figure it out,” Randle said. “But clearly it worked and figured it out and did something that’s very unique, especially in today’s league, as far as building something like that and not putting a bunch of players together. They really built it.”
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Key to a Win Over Milwaukee
The Knicks will have their work cut out for them against the Bucks on the road. However, Randle is exuding confidence ahead of the game. In his eyes, getting amped for the contest is the key.
“The biggest thing is coming out with energy,” Randle said. “We’ve been good on the road so far this year. We just got to come out with energy, come out with fight, an edge. Play Knicks basketball. That’s who we are. Usually that gives us a pretty good shot every night, whether home or on the road.”
He’s not wrong about his team’s fortitude on the road. So far, the Knicks are 3-1 away from MSG this season and outscoring opponents by 4.9 points per 100 possessions (they’re nearly even at home). Meanwhile, their effective field goal percentage jumps from 53.0 to 55.9 and their turnover percentage drops from 15.0 to 11.9.