Tom Thibodeau doesn’t regret Julius Randle shot late in regulation


Tom Thibodeau didn’t regret the final shot of regulation. In fact, he was happy with the shot despite Julius Randle’s baseline fadeaway failing to hit iron.

The Knicks opted to isolate Randle with a full 24 seconds on the clock in a tie game.

“The thing is, if you bring a second guy over, they can trap, they also had a foul to give,” Thibodeau said after the Knicks won their fifth straight, 128-120 in overtime, over the Bulls at the United Center.

The Knicks’ coach added: “Get to your spot, take your shot and Julius did that. It’s a good look on that side.”

Thibodeau was really pleased with Randle’s defense on the final play of regulation. With 0.7 seconds left, the Bulls tried to lob it to Patrick Williams, but Randle read it well, and broke up the play, falling hard on his back after giving up his body.

Tom Thibodeau
NBAE via Getty Images

“He’s been on a great run, all the way around,” Thibodeau said of Randle, who had 31 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. “He made so many good plays for us throughout the course of the game, and then to read that play [at the end regulation], which he did, and to put it on the line, that’s a big part of guys sacrificing for the team. There’s no stat for that.”

Mitchell Robinson was battling an illness and still contributed eight points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in 36 minutes. His best moments came in overtime. He blocked a shot close to the basket by Bulls star center Nikola Vucevic and it was his offensive rebound that led to a Quentin Grimes 3-pointer that extended the Knicks’ lead to six with 1:04 remaining. He was a big part of the Knicks crushing the Bulls on the glass, 48-31.

Julius Randle take a shot during the second half of the Knicks’ win over the Bulls.

Joakim Noah, the former Knick who spent a bulk of his career playing for Thibodeau with the Bulls, attended the tail-end of Thibodeau’s pre-game press conference. When Noah walked in, Thibodeau joked: “Late as usual. … My man.”

Noah got in the last question of the media session.

“Are you going to Derrick’s wedding and not mine?” he asked, referring to Knicks guard Derrick Rose, his former Bulls teammate. The two then shared a big hug.

Ryan Arcidiacono (sprained left ankle) and Obi Toppin (right fibula) remained out for the Knicks. … The Bulls were without Lonzo Ball (left knee) and Ayo Dosunmu (pelvic contusion). … Former Knicks and Bulls forward Charles Oakley was in attendance.

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