Knicks Pay Homage to 1973 Champs By Playing Like 1973 Champs
If Julius Randle utilizes his incredible combination of size and strength to dominate defenders on the offensive end AND overpower opponents defensively, the Knicks become that much more frightening.
Saturday night at MSG, the Knicks and their fans honored the 1972-73 squad on the 50th anniversary of their championship. Bill Bradley, Dick Barnett, Earl Monroe, Jerry Lucas, Henry Bibby and Walt Frazier were all in attendance, along with the sons of the late Dave DeBusschere and Dean Meminger.
That legendary team was celebrated throughout the evening, including in a special ceremony at halftime, via video testimonials accompanied by standing ovations.
But perhaps the best way to pay tribute to the last Knicks team to win a title was to play the game in a manner that would make them proud. And that's precisely what the current-day 'Bockers did Saturday night, outclassing the New Orleans Pelicans from the jump en route to a wildly impressive 128-106 victory.
When asked what he remembered about the '72-73 team, head coach Tom Thibodeau, who was a teenage Knicks fan living in Connecticut in the early 70s, replied: "They were so unselfish. They played great defense. That was such a fun team, but it's what they embodied and how they played for each other. I think it resonated with the city."
Thibs' Knicks are a long, long way from even thinking about reaching the heights of New York's last title team. Still, the 2022-23 version has been playing unselfishly on the offensive end, defending with effort and energy, and making the city proud. It was all on full display Saturday night when they blew the Pels out of the building.
As expected, Julius Randle set the tone early. He poured in 16 points in the first quarter (the seventh time this season he's scored at least 15 points in 1Q) and would finish with 28 points (11-of-20 FGs, 1-of-1 FTs), seven rebounds, five assists, and five 3-pointers.
As I detailed yesterday, Randle is playing at an incredibly high level. He is currently the only player in the NBA who ranks inside the top-5 in the NBA in both total points and rebounds this season.
Over NY's past six games, Randle is averaging 29.7 points, 4.0 made three-pointers and just 1.8 turnovers while shooting above 50% from the floor, 40% from behind the arc and 92% from the free-throw line.
But it's not only his statistical production that has stood out. Randle's effort and intensity on the defensive end have been fantastic. Last night, he put the clamps on Brandon Imgram, the Pelicans' leading scorer, limiting him to 7-of-19 shooting.
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