After a 10-point performance on 7-of-17 shooting on Sunday in a loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks star Julius Randle admitted that he had to step his game up to get the Knicks out of a funk that saw them lose three of their previous four games.
He did just that on Monday night in Philadelphia, dropping 31 points with 12 rebounds in a 103-96 victory over a 76ers team that was without Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, and Tyrese Maxey.
“He was a monster all the way around,” Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “The way the game started, the energy he provided. The way Julius closed the game was one big shot after the next. He did it in a variety of ways. When he plays like that it makes us a different team.’’
Randle scored 10 points in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter to stymie a frantic Sixers comeback featuring two consecutive three-pointers before a game-sealing putback attempt with 1:20 to go.
“Those are the moments that I want,” Randle said of his crunch-time heroics. “Those are the moments that I want to thrive in and that’s just what it was. Just trust the work and be in the moment.
“We took a step forward today — all of us.”
His big night further displayed the continuous development of Randle’s maturity, transforming from an “introvert” as he described himself to an on-court leader.
“It’s kind of cool to see just who I was as a player and a person coming into the league. Just being comfortable being uncomfortable,” Randle said. “That’s one of the things for me being on the court. Being outside my comfort zone… it’s really about communication.”
As long as he’s able to immerse himself in basketball and help his teammates, he’ll only continue advancing his leadership capabilities.
“Getting lost within the team and getting lost with helping others, that helps me out as a player as far as my game and stuff,” Randle said. “This is just another way. Talking more, communicating more… it helps me get lost in the team and I just go out there and play.”