Julius Randle says Knicks need to ‘keep building’ after statement win over Bucks

Julius Randle fights for ball vs Bobby Portis
Julius Randle fights for ball vs Bobby Portis

Julius Randle and the Knicks had their first statement win of the season on Friday night, coming back from 21 points down to beat the reigning NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks, 113-98.

Randle led the team with 32 points, 12 rebounds, and four assists, outplaying two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo who managed just 25 points and seven rebounds. After the game, Randle spoke to reporters about what this win shows about the team.

“It shows a lot about the character of our team and what we’re trying to build too,” Randle said. “It’s a great win for us for sure.”

The Knicks trailed 38-19 after the first quarter, but would outscore the Bucks for the rest of the game. They won the second quarter 37-25, won the third 32-20, and won the fourth 25-15. New York had dropped their previous two games to the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors and knew they needed this win.

“Yeah absolutely, lose two in a row, come back like you said from 21 down, just shows a lot about the character of our team,” Randle said. “I think you’re 100 percent right, it’s a great confidence-builder for us. We just got to keep building. I think what made us great last year was being able to take care of home court, so we got to do that next game.”

The Cleveland Cavaliers (6-4) will travel to The Garden to face the Knicks on Sunday riding a three-game win streak.

Randle gave credit to the Knicks bench unit for their efforts, as Derrick Rose scored 23 points and Immanuel Quickley added in nine points. He gave a similar message to what head coach Tom Thibodeau had to say about the Knicks’ resilience.

“Just keep fighting, NBA games are long and that’s what’s special about our team is we fight,” Randle said. “Lot of high character guys who are going to keep at it, so we just kept fighting. Second unit came in and did an amazing job getting us back on track and we just took it from there.”

Randle went on to talk about Rose’s performance and the development he’s shown as a player over the last few seasons. The 2011 NBA MVP used to rely on his athleticism to score and attack the basket, but as Randle pointed out, Rose is now more of a complete player.

“Just look at the tape, it’s not really vintage, just look at the tape,” Randle said. “Look at who he was as an MVP or look at who he is now. I would say he is a much more complete, better player than he was then. There’s nothing really vintage about it, I think he’s evolved and become a much better player and understanding of the game, clearer mindset. He’s extremely wise. It’s not really vintage, I think he’s evolved.

“That’s a stigma and a thing out there. I don’t really think it’s vintage, like he can get to the basket, but so much more he can do. He has a floater, he has a three-ball, he knows how to handle blitz, all different types of coverages out there on the floor. He’s extremely smart, has an extremely high IQ. You know he was a hell of a player then too, but I think maybe he relied on a lot on his athleticism or whatever it is. Dude has no holes in his game now.”