Julius Randle‘s stat line (25 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists) in the Knicks‘ Game 2 win over Miami on Tuesday suggests he didn’t miss a beat after being sidelined for the first game of the series due to a left ankle injury. However, Randle admitted after the game that the rehab process he went through in order to return for Game 2 wasn’t easy, per Nick Friedell of ESPN.com.
“It was hell,” Randle said. “Just every day around the clock, trying to get my body right. I don’t have a problem doing the work, mentally it’s a grind, though. But I just want to make myself available to the team … just happy that I was able to be out there and contribute and help us get a win.”
Asked after the victory about how his ankle was feeling, Randle deflected the question.
“It doesn’t even really matter, to be honest,” he said, according to Friedell. “I do whatever I got to do to make myself available to play. And just take it a day at a time.”
Here’s more on the Knicks:
- After Mitchell Robinson was a difference maker in New York’s first round win over Cleveland, backup center Isaiah Hartenstein has come up big early in round two. Hartenstein was a team-best plus-six in 14 minutes in Game 1, then played 26 minutes in Game 2 as Robinson battled foul trouble. As Zach Braziller of The New York Post details, Hartenstein gave the Knicks a much-needed spark with his physical play on Tuesday.
- After an up-and-down first round vs. Cleveland, RJ Barrett has scored 26 and 24 points in the first two games vs. Miami. Barrett, whose nine-figure contract extension will take effect in 2023/24, took a seat late in the game for defensive reasons, but the fourth-year forward earned praise from head coach Tom Thibodeau for his performance, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post.
- Immanuel Quickley, the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year runner-up this season, logged a season-low nine minutes in Game 2 and scored just six points, but Thibodeau remains confident that the Knicks will once again lean on Quickley before the series is over, according to Peter Botte of The New York Post. “We need him,” Thibodeau told reporters after the game. “.. He’s got a knack for putting the ball in the basket, and I don’t want him overthinking it. Shoot your shot, when he’s aggressive and attacking, he’ll be fine. We’ve seen him now, as everyone knows, he’s a scorer.”
- Tim Hardaway Sr., who had been working as a scout for the Knicks, was on an expiring contract and left the team a few weeks ago to pursue media opportunities, a league source tells Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link).