There are few things as beautiful as a crowd of New York Knicks fans screaming at the top of their lungs to celebrate the team’s play. The best place to witness it and take part is none other than the Mecca of Basketball itself: Madison Square Garden.
You can’t always get there, though, so you have to enjoy the Knicks where you can. Whether it’s a bar on the Lower West Side or a 30,000 square foot mansion out in the suburbs, you make it work, and no matter where you were the other night, you were hyped about this:
CAM REDDISH TIES IT UP WITH 3 SECONDS REMAINING! #KiaTipOff22
ALL TIED UP ON ESPN pic.twitter.com/yaImt8iMgL
— NBA (@NBA) October 20, 2022
After the Knicks saw themselves down 15 at half time to the Memphis Grizzlies, it seemed all hope was lost on opening night. But as fellow KOTShow writer, Mikey Murphy, highlighted in his most recent piece, Reddish was out for blood. What he brought to the game last night was electric, and quite frankly, I’d be happy to see him get more burn to continue proving himself on a roster that could certainly use an athletic wing presence. But this piece is not about Reddish… it’s about the elephant in the room.
Knicks and drama go hand in hand. They have for years. And I think I might have used this correlation in previous works of mine, wherever those written words might have occurred along the way. Nevertheless, it’s the truth.
Phil Jackson once ostracized not one, but two Knicks players during his tenure. We all know who I mean, so there’s really no need to dive into that. We also have to take into account the public embarrassment of the roster David Fizdale wrought, the collapse brought on by Isiah Thomas’ power trip, and the number of other, miniscule disturbances that players and executives both provided the media outlets fuel with.
Most recently, though, was what I’ve enjoyed calling the Randle Scandal. Julius Randle had the greatest season of his career in 2020-21, as you all know, earned an All-NBA Second Team honor, and got a fairly justified extension offer.
At the time, this was the right thing to do.
Last season was a different story. Simply put, Randle was not the same. Whatever the reason may be, he was a completely different person and player from the season prior, and everyone noticed it. Tom Thibodeau and Knicks brass might not have wanted to point that out, and that’s fine, but it was so blatant that something was off with Randle.
Between the thumbs down, the laptop incident, lashing out at refs and teammates on more than one occasion. It was bad. Knicks fans hastily hopped off the ship. No one wants themselves or their team to be associated with a head case who can’t keep his temperament under control in times of need. At the time, Knicks fans already felt spurned when he was first signed to the team in 2019-20, when the Beyblade moniker surfaced.
Seeing him abandon all the traits that made us love him in 2020-21 felt like betrayal.
Redemption Arc Back On Track
We can speculate all we want about the reason behind Randle’s misfortune last season. He pissed me off. He pissed the entire fanbase off. We are all guilty of including him in trade talks, finding a way to get him off the team and salvage what was left. At the end of the day, that all amounted to the Knicks running it back, and despite the loss last night, I’ve come to terms with Randle; I’m happy he’s here.
While it’s only one example of why I’m happy with Randle again, take a look at this:
Julius Randle didn't force any mid-range jumpers last night.
6 of his 16 FG attempts came at the rim. 6 came from deep.
12 of his 16 shots came immediately off the catch or after just 1 dribble.
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) October 20, 2022
He was a bit hasty from three to start the game, but what Tommy Beer says is correct. Randle did not force a single shot last night. They all looked comfortable for him, and they were all light on coverage. Most importantly, he didn’t second guess himself, nor did he hesitate. Each and every talking point in this tweet you’ll have noticed watching the game last night. Randle passed the eye test, and in more than one way, his decisiveness and aggression just happened to be the most important aspects of why the Knicks got to extra time last night.
No sulking. Active hands on defense. Hustle. Composure in the face of adversity/ref bullshit.
Randle looked very good last night.
But who am I kidding? You don’t need me to write 800+ words to show you that. You witnessed it yourself, and you can do that again on FuboTV, the best place to stream your favorite teams. Download the app and sign up for your 7-Day Free Trial today and enjoy Friday Night Knicks in style on MSG!