Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau Makes Cryptic Statement on Julius Randle After Rough Loss

The New York Knicks fans of, oh, say six months ago would probably be ecstatic to know that their team would be in fifth place in the East with just a handful of games left to play. However, things have definitely taken a turn for the worse over the past week.

After winning three straight games — including one over Nikola Jokic and the West-leading Denver Nuggets — the Knicks are now in the midst of a three-game losing streak. And their latest setback, a 111-106 loss to the 31-win Orlando Magic, was especially deflating.

Especially for All-Star Julius Randle who, in addition to logging a 7-for-20 shooting night, allowed his frustration to boil over once again. And this time, teammate Immanuel Quickley was the object of his ire.

Just before halftime, Randle was arguing with referee Leon Wood after a non-call — a move that resulted in a technical foul for the big man. When Quickley tried to get between the two, Randle then turned his attention to the Sixth Man of the Year candidate and a brief but fiery exchange occurred.

In the wake of the loss, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau seemed less than pleased about the incident and what he has seen from Randle in general.

Tom Thibodeau Calls Knicks ‘Out of Sorts,’ Issues Warning to Julius Randle

During his postgame presser, Thibodeau was asked about Randle losing his cool for the “third or fourth” time in the last couple of weeks. In responding, the Knicks play-caller indicated that his squad is going through some things.

“Right now, our team is just — we’re out of sorts, and, so, you have to pull together when you go through rough times… You get into things together, you get out of things together,” Thibodeau said, via MSG Network.

“We have to do everything a lot better and we have to be committed to doing it as a team. There’s going to be ups and downs that we have to navigate — everyone does — and we can’t lose sight of what we’re trying to get accomplished.”

That last line could come across as a subtle message for Randle. And when Thibodeau was asked to comment on the baller’s exchange with Quickley as a follow-up, the coach offered more clues about Randle’s mindset.

“There’s emotion involved, so you want the emotion to get out of it and then, sometimes when you talk, it clears the air. So, that’s good. But you also don’t want… you’ll allow for idiosyncrasies as long as it doesn’t get in the way of winning. Nothing can get in the way of winning.

“The team always has to come first and, so, everyone’s responsible for that.”

Disturbing Fourth-Quarter Trend Continues

For a Thibodeau-coached team, the Knicks have been forced to rely on their offense carrying the day much more than anyone would have anticipated this season. However, the team has descended to some new depths defensively over the last three games, especially down the stretch.

New York’s opponent on Wednesday, the Miami Heat, shot a blistering 66.7% from the field — and 6-of-7 from deep — during the final frame to cap off a 127-point night. And it was more of the same on Thursday night in Orlando.

The Magic, who racked up 36 points in the fourth quarter, connected on 12-of-17 shots (or 70.6%) from the floor in the period and were 7-of-8 from three-point range.

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