Knicks News: Randle says team is ‘peaking’, Obi Toppin shows off improvements

Alexander Wilson
New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau
Feb 7, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Head coach Tom Thibodeau of the New York Knicks speaks with Julius Randle #30 during the game against the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden on February 07, 2021 in New York City. Mandatory Credit: Mike Stobe/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the Toronto Raptors having their three big players available against the Knicks on Saturday afternoon, they were still blown out by 17 points in regulation. The Knicks scored 120 points, allowing just 103 to Toronto, stifling yet another team enjoying a winning streak. Toronto entered the contest winning four games in a row but didn’t even stand a chance against a surging NY team that has nine consecutive wins.

The Knicks are now 34-27 on the season and are .5 games up on Atlanta and 1.5 games over Boston. However, all-star Julius Randle believes that the team might be peeking when they really need to be doing so during the postseason.

Are the Knicks peaking? Julius Randle thinks so:

“We’re peaking, but we can still get a lot better,” Randle said. “Obviously offensively we’re playing well, but defensively for a full 48 minutes, I feel like we can be a lot better.”

Rand;e finished the contest with 31 points and 10 rebounds, recording yet another double-double. He played 39 minutes and connected on 10-of-17 shots from the field. As for his partner in crime, RJ Barrett scored 25, with 12 rebounds, and hit on 8-of-16 from the field, 50%. The Knicks continue to dominate in the three-point category, connecting on 51.6% of the shots from downtown against Toronto.

Obi Toppin is making more of an impact on the court and not the bench:

One player who has contributed more as of late is eighth overall pick Obi Toppin, who added nine points and connected on 3-of-4 shots from beyond the arc in the win. He also recorded two rebounds, playing in nine minutes.

“Obi has been practicing great, I thought he played great tonight,’’ Thibodeau said. “Our bench gave us a huge lift and he was at the heart of it. He puts a lot of time into his shooting. He’s coming back at night. He’s grooving his shot so I think he’s gaining confidence. He’s practicing well too when we do practice. His concentration has improved. So he’s an important part of the second unit.’’

Toppin experiencing success and progress is a great sign for a Knicks team that will need him down the stretch, especially when fatigue starts to set in. The postseason is a grueling reality, where teams play more physically, and every minute seems longer. They will need Toppin to knock down shots and prove his worth. His latest production is a great sign, as the Knicks have only 11 games left until postseason play.

“We all get in the gym and get extra shots up,’’ Toppin said. “We’re all sponges to the game and we’re getting better every single day. It’s helping me.”