For those wondering if last year was a fluke for the New York Knicks, they aren’t a fluke. They are in fact, looking like a team who can be a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference.
We have written articles on here that suggested the Knicks should trade for either Zion Williamson or Karl-Anthony Towns. We are going to say now, that the Knicks don’t need to do either of those. They look really good as is.
During last night’s opening game at Madison Square Garden, they went to war against a Boston Celtics team that has been a thorn in their side for years.
Normally, the Knicks would have lost the double overtime game against the Celtics, but not this time. This is a solid Knicks team that has been built with a good combination of youth and experience.
And it was that experience; Julius Randle with 35 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, along with newcomer Evan Fournier with 32 points and six rebounds, who lead the Knicks to a 138-134 victory.
Fournier might be the difference maker here, as he hit some crucial shots in both overtimes.
The Celtics might regret letting Fournier go in free agency, because the Knicks are going to like having him there to go with Randle and RJ Barrett, who had 19 points and five rebounds in the win.
An addition the Knicks have to be glad to have is Mitchell Robinson, and his presence was felt with 11 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks.
The 23-year-old big man only played in 31 games last year due to injuries, so it was a good surprise to see him out on the court being the rim protector and the big body in the middle. If Robinson stays healthy and does exactly what he did on Wednesday night, then they have no need for Towns. And Zion.
One other piece that the Knicks should continue to develop is Obi Toppin, who had 14 points and five rebounds off the bench. Toppin brings energy on the court, and Tom Thibodeau sees that.
Last year, Toppin averaged 11 minutes per game in the 62 games he was in; last night, Toppin played in 28 minutes and gave maximum effort in the win.
All in all, this is a great victory to start a Knicks season that can only go up. The next two games are against the Orlando Magic; a team the Knicks are better than and should beat in both games.
The early test will be when they face the Philadelphia 76ers, who already have drama with Ben Simmons being suspended one game after he refused to do defensive drills. The Knicks could easily use this to their advantage and take a victory from them too.
The Knicks already had the look of a playoff team. Now they’re slowly getting it together to being a top team in the Eastern Comference.