Tom Thibodeau on Julius Randle's 35-point performance: 'He’s hungrier now than he was last year, which I thought was impossible'


The story of last night's Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks game was the All-Star level performance from Julius Randle. In a thrilling game that went to double-overtime at MSG, the Knicks were able to pull out a hard fought victory behind Julius Randle's 35-8-9 stat line.

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The Garden was rocking as fans were treated to one of the best games so far in this young NBA campaign.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau had some high expectations for Randle heading into the season. With a new contract and a revamped roster looking to make another push to the playoffs, the expectations of Thibs and Knicks nation lie on Randle's back. After the game, Thibs had some high praise for the star forward after his near triple-double performance.

He gives you everything he has...He had that monster year last year, got a new contract. And he’s hungrier now than he was last year, which I thought was impossible,” Thibodeau said after last night's double OT win.

Despite an impressive 46-point performance from Jaylen Brown and a buzzer-beating three hit by Marcus Smart, the Knicks were able squeak by the Celtics, 138-134.

Randle proved the doubters wrong last season winning the NBA’s Most Improved Player award, averaging a double-double of 24.1 points and 10.2 rebounds, adding 6 assists a game in what was a career year for Randle after many dismissed him as simply a role player.

Randle made an appearance on JJ Redick’s podcast, The Old Man and The Three (available on Audacy), during the Knicks' upswing last season to talk about Thibs' influence on his game and why he’s actually not as tough as people think.

"We go about practice a certain way, we go about shootarounds and stuff a certain way. And I respect it and I appreciate it,” Randle said. “We’re seeing the results of the habits that we created early, throughout the season. So, it’s dope for me. And honestly, man, he’s not as much of a harda** as people think he is, bro! The dude is super cool bro, like, when you’re talking to him. He’ll kill me when he sees this but he really is soft, man! You can talk to him, Thibs is dope, bro.”

Randle and the new-look Knicks showed a lot of resilience Wednesday night, but they still have a lot of work left to do if they want a legitimate shot to challenge teams like the Atlanta Hawks or the Milwaukee Bucks for an opportunity at an NBA championship-- something the Knicks haven't experienced since 1999's playoff run to the Finals.

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