Just across the bridge in Brooklyn, the Nets were looking to finalize a blockbuster trade including James Harden. The Knicks, on the other hand, were engaged in several trade talks that didn’t come to fruition, but the team still went out on Thursday evening and overcame a tough Golden State Warriors squad.
Nearly every player on the Knicks was considered a trade piece at one point, but the front office elected to stay put and instill more confidence in their players. Alternatively, they couldn’t find trade partners for players like Kemba Walker or Evan Fournier, who signed big money deals this past off-season.
Fournier, who was rumored to be on the trade block, was extremely happy to remain with the Knicks, especially after a 22 point performance against Golden State, where he shot 7 of 17 from the field and recorded a +7 +/-.
“Obviously to know we’re going to finish this season with this group, there’s a relief for sure,’’ said Fournier, who was the subject of trade talks, per Marc Berman of The Post. “I’m not going to lie.’’
Head coach Tom Thibodeau spoke about his team’s great play against the Warriors, stealing a victory by just two points, 116–114.
“It’s important because of where we are,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “The thing I liked about it was the resolve of the team tonight. We played really well today, but can’t feel too good about it. I loved the unselfishness of the team. We drove the ball and weren’t trying to shoot over their size. It was a real solid team win.’’
The Knicks had been struggling considerably before the trade deadline, losing seven of their last eight games, but they might be able to change the script during the second half of the season. The pressure must’ve been mounting as the deadline grew closer, especially with Julius Randle being rumored as a potential departure.
The Knicks will look ahead to the Portland Trailblazers on Saturday evening at 5 PM, a team who sits at 22–34 and recently traded away CJ McCollum.
I would be remiss not to mention Randle’s stellar performance against Golden State, recording 28 points, 16 rebounds, and seven assists. This was one of Randle’s best games of the season, showcasing his aggressiveness driving to the basket and physicality in the paint.
“I just had to adjust to the way we’re being played,’’ Randle said. “We’ve been trying to adjust and be uptempo all year and haven’t been able to figure it out.’’
The Knicks were extremely aggressive in this game, overpowering a smaller Golden State team, attacking the rim with intensity. Despite not having RJ Barrett, the bench stepped up valiantly in the effort, combining for 45 points including 12 from Cam Reddish, who played a season-high 19 minutes with the Knicks.