Tom Thibodeau has revived the Knicks defensive identity
DETROIT – Julius Randle believes coach Tom Thibodeau has given the Knicks a chance to revamp their defense after New Year’s Eve losses at Dallas and San Antonio that extended their longest losing streak of the season to five games.
“I’ve been thinking since the Houston game [on Dec. 31], maybe coach, he really gave us confidence on defense,” Randle said after the Knicks won for the sixth time in seven games in Washington on Friday night. “I took it personally because I didn’t feel like I could play good defense in those two games, somehow.
“I took it personally and we all did it as a team. It’s something else, you see things working, you’re in the right place and we have that belief. We’re in the channel on the left, so that’s encouraging.
Randle blocked a layup by the Wizards’ Delon Wright in the fourth quarter on Friday.
Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose were teammates with the Bulls, Timberwolves and Knicks under Thibodeau. Now with the Wizards, Gibson said Friday night that he wasn’t surprised that Rose, the 2010-11 MVP, handled it professionally to be removed from the Knicks’ rotation.
“It’s different, but it’s part of our league,” Gibson said. “Nothing surprises me. He’s been a pro, so when Tibs gives him the green light…I’m sure he’ll come and play when it matters. Derrick is a professional, so once you’ve been there long enough, you can weather any storm, and that’s kind of Coach Thibs. It will put you in different and uncomfortable situations and you have to understand that.
Sophomore Cade Cunningham, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft, is out for the season for the Pistons (12-34) after undergoing surgery on his left hip in November. Marvin Bagley Jr. (hand) will also miss Sunday’s game for Detroit.
New York Post
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