Julius Randle rallies around Tom Thibodeau after 100th Knicks win: ‘We’ve got to get him another 100’

Tom Thibodeau, Julius Randle, New York Knicks
Dec 16, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) tries to low five New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau after making a three point basket against the Houston Rockets in the second quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau’s job is safe after reaching a career milestone Friday night in Toronto.

Their 112-108 win against the Raptors not only snapped an 11-game losing skid in Canada but also marked the 100th career win of Thibodeau as the Knicks head coach.

Since assuming the head coaching post in New York three seasons ago, Thibodeau has racked up a 100-94 win-loss record. He’s on pace to get past Mike Woodson (109) and Mike D’Antoni (121) this season to become the sixth-winningest coach in Knicks history.

A month ago, this milestone looked bleak to reach after the Knicks limped to a 10-13 start. Rumors started to heat up that Thibodeau was on the hot seat. But whether by desperation or pure masterstroke, his decision to shorten the rotation have changed the team’s fortunes and cooled off his seat.

New York went on an eight-game winning streak, and despite injuries derailing their surge, they have recovered and are now 12-5 since that poor start to climb to the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference with a 22-18 record.

“I’m glad I’m a part of all 100. Thibs has come in here and created a great culture for all of us. He’s been amazing. The support, holding us accountable, the belief for us to win every night, I’m happy for him. We’ve got to get him another 100.”

Julius Randle postgame via Knicks

Randle was at the heart of the team’s resurgence that saved Thibodeau’s job.

During that 17-game stretch, Randle has averaged 28.6 points, 12.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists. It was a remarkable jump from 21.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists during the Knicks’ 10-13 start.

Since Dec. 4, the Knicks owned the second-best defensive rating (107.7) and the fifth-best offensive (116.9), proving that Thibodeau hasn’t lost his touch yet.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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