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Kristian Winfield, New York Daily News Knicks Reporter

JR Sports Brief / JR
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May 3, 2024 8:09 pm

Kristian Winfield, New York Daily News Knicks Reporter

JR Sports Brief / JR

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May 3, 2024 8:09 pm

Kristian Winfield joined JR to discuss the greatness of Jalen Brunson and preview Knicks-Pacers round two. 

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The Odyssey app. Christian, how are you, man? I'm doing well, man. It's been it's been a wild playoff, not even just playoff, just the regular season covering this team. And remember, I was I was covering the Nets for four years, so I kind of just jumped right into the fire in terms of learning how this Knicks team works.

And when I tell you just any challenge you throw at them, they find a way to come out on top. That's kind of been the theme of this entire season. When you consider all the injuries, you consider Julius Randle going down. When Julius Randle went down, I thought the Knicks were doomed. I'm like, OK, let's just pack it up. We'll be back next year.

I was wrong. They are a team that it doesn't matter who goes down. That's wearing orange and blue. Someone else is going to step up. And we're seeing it play out now as they go to the second round to face the other faces. It's very much appreciated watching how hard they play, especially with no Julius Randle. Christian, you bring up a point, a great point before we get to the Pacers.

Let's look back at the series that that just took place. We saw how loud it was at Wells Fargo on Sunday. Management and ownership for the Sixers purchased tickets to try to keep things quiet. And Nick fans still showed up and they were the loudest at the end of the game.

How just you talk about covering this team, just that experience. New York, Nick fans are like no other. Yeah. I mean, look, number one, the difference you can really see it when the Knicks go play at Barclays Center, for example, right? Because you've got Knicks fans who are going in droves across the bridge, but the proximity is there. It's only about a 20 minute ride from Barclays to MSG if you're getting on the express train, right? To go from all the way in New York to get to Philly, it's a 90 minute Amtrak, right? And then you got to figure out what your plans are in terms of waiting all day.

And then there's a late start. The game last night didn't start until 9 p.m. And you had ownership sitting there talking about we just bought up a thousand tickets and how much we're going to give them to first responders and healthcare people and, you know, good on them. But it still sounded in many stretches like a home game for this Knicks team. And I asked Tom Thibodeau what it was like to play in hostile territory and he looked at me and said, was it hostile to go and play in Philadelphia? That's what type of advantage the Knicks fans gave this team. Thib said, was it hostile?

No, it wasn't. It felt a lot like a home game. You got to tip your hat to Knicks fans. Now, it's going to be different if we're looking forward to Indiana. Indiana is a lot further than a 90 minute Amtrak, right? Indiana is not even really, Indianapolis is not the destination that Philly is.

So if you're going to Indianapolis, it's a completely different vibe. We see Knicks fans travel a lot. I've seen crazy ovations for the Knicks in Washington, D.C., in Charlotte, sometimes in Miami. Usually, wherever the Knicks go, they end up getting a good ovation. I'm not sure they're going to have that same advantage in Indiana, but I don't think they care.

I think regardless of whether they're getting booed or regardless of whether they got cheers coming to them in different cities, this team knows what it's going to do. They play by Tibbs' core tenets. He wants you to rebound. He wants you to space the floor, shoot the three, play good defense. Don't turn the ball over.

He believes that if you do those three or four things, you're going to put yourself in position to win most nights. And look at that. The Knicks just eliminated the reigning MVP. And hold on. Shout out to Tyrese Maxey.

I mean, I don't think anyone saw him coming into this series. Yes, sir. All star. Sure. Budding star.

Sure. Shooting from pretty much half court to keep your series alive at Madison Square Garden and then hitting the game winner in overtime. I mean, he had a sensational season, but if the Knicks were coming out on top for sure. Christian Winfield is here with us, covers the New York Knicks for the New York Daily News.

When you talk about the Knicks, obviously they follow the lead of their best player, Jalen Brunson. 41 points in the elimination game. He's dropping 37 plus just about every game. You know, Coach Tibbs has a reputation, justifiably so, rightfully so, wrongfully so, of driving people into the ground. How much longer can Brunson do this? Is he not going to run out of gas against the Pacers? You know, I think at this point, the safe bet is to never bet against Jalen Brunson.

Whatever you think he can't do, he's going to end up doing. For example, regular season, he's averaging pretty one of the worst in terms of shooting efficiency. The Sixers in regular season games. Four games, he did not play well in those games, right? You're looking at games where he shot the ball poorly. What we saw in the first two games against the Sixers was what they did to him in the regular season. You have Kelly Oubre, you've got Nick Batum, you're using those guys to guard the point of attack.

It makes life difficult because Jalen Brunson is six foot two on paper, right? And he just takes any challenge and he just takes his time. He's going to figure it out. And then boom, you see him explode for 47. You see him start figuring things out.

You see him start getting comfortable. Now we're talking, we're not talking about shooting. We're not talking about efficiency. We're just talking about his body. Is he going to be able to continue this?

I think so. Just because from the way he approaches taking care of his body in the off season, this is what Tiff, this is what Josh Hart, this is what all these guys say. They say, we work hard in the off season so that we can maintain during the regular season. This is what these guys have trained for, right? If you're telling me that you don't want to be in a position to play 40 minutes for the Knicks while they're trying to make a playoff run that we haven't seen since 1999, 2000, I'm calling you a liar because the way the fans are steering for this team, the way you just have to look at the stakes of it all, right?

So yeah, sure. You know, Tiff has a reputation of playing guys heavy minutes, but a lot of these guys, Deuce McBride, for example, I asked him if he was tired of the playing 48 minutes. He goes, man, I want to play 48 more. You know, these guys want to run through a brick wall, not just for Tiff, but for this organization and for each other. And I think that this is what they've trained last off season. This is why they play heavy minutes during the regular season so that their bodies can hold up when it matters.

Yeah. I think not just Jaylen Brunson. Josh Hart is going to be able to play a lot of minutes now to Deepen Chenzo, Isaiah Hartenstein.

All these guys are ready to play big minutes in the playoffs. When you look at this New York Knicks team and you think about how business like it is, like you said, there is no Julius Randle. Have the dynamics of the team changed as he's been kind of a bystander?

Like this is now and it's moved this way over the past year and a half. This is Brunson's team. And we've seen Julius Randle be a little, you know, a little abrasive here and there, off and on. What about the dynamics from now moving ahead?

You know, that's an interesting question. It's interesting because, number one, there is no, I know people give Julius a lot of flak for his play style. ISO Heavy holds on to the ball.

At the end of the day, sometimes you got to look at the numbers. 24 points, nine rebounds, four assists, can shoot the three, can put the ball on the floor. And really the most important part of his presence on the court is he can command a double team, right?

Jalen Brunson is the only other guy who really commands that type of defensive attention on the roster right now. When Julius Randle was out there, that's when it became, okay, well, now the floor is really spaced. We've got OG. That's why the Knicks were able to run off.

What was it? 12 and two in the first 14 games that OG Onondaga said, yeah, because you got two players who command a double team. You got OG in one corner, Dante DiVincenzo in another, and then you got either Isaiah Harden starting Mitchell Robinson right by the rim.

It's difficult to stop. So when you asked me if what the Knicks are trying to do changes with Julius Randle out, I'd say it does because, you know, you don't have that guy, right? You don't have a second guy who can go out there and get you a bucket when you need it. So you got to play smart.

You got to shoot close to 53s because you're not going to be able to just get the ball to another guy who can collapse the paint and make the right play. But at the same time, this is a team that misses them. The Knicks believe that if Julius Randle was healthy, they'd be, and they still have all the confidence in the world and a deep playoff run, but they're thinking if Julius was healthy and we're able to figure out the chemistry with this team, the sky's the limit on what they can do. Well, I think when you lose a guy who's that important, the ways that you have to figure out how to compensate for his absence has brought this team together. This is a close knit Knicks team.

Like these guys love each other and especially it starts with the trio of guys who went to the Lenovo, right? You got Josh Hart, Dante DiVincenzo, Jalen Brunson. Those guys are kind of the nucleus of this team.

And then you throw Julius Randle in there with his talent. This is a team that could be, you know, they come back next year healthy. I mean, they build on what they've done this year.

It could, we could be seeing the beginning of something very, very special in New York. So to your question, yes, that things have had to change a bit with Julius out naturally, just because you've got a guy who's responsible for so much of the offense, not out there anymore. But you know, I think number one, we, we also started to see Julius start to defer to Brunson as kind of all star, the captain of this team. And I think now the way he's been able to play this year, there's no doubt about it. This is Jalen Brunson's team. Julius Randle, I think he knows that. And I think he likes that, you know, after having a lot of the pressure on his shoulders for a couple of years, now he's got somebody else that he could rely on with the game on the line. Christian Winfield is here with us from the New York Daily News.

Looking ahead to what's going to go down on Monday, we know that we can go back to a year. It's been Tyrese Halliburton or Jalen Brunson, or who's better? Who deserves an All-Star spot? Well, they're here in a series against each other. What do you think this series is going to look like? Are the Knicks going to keep on rolling? Do the the Pacers continue to grow?

What do you see happening with this series? Did you see the photo that went viral yesterday? I tweeted it today as well. It went viral last night of the look Grant Hill gave Jalen Brunson when he talked to him after the game. And obviously Grant Hill is the person who is the director of Team USA Basketball and he's the person who was responsible for not putting Jalen Brunson on the 2024 Paris Olympic team. Instead, guess who got that spot? Tyrese Halliburton. So if you're telling me that this isn't one of those series where you got to grab some popcorn and tune in, this is about to be crazy.

Why? Because I know that even though Jalen Brunson won't say anything, he's not talking about getting snubbed from Team USA. Tyrese Halliburton took his spot and Jalen Brunson is having a better season and he's on a quest to prove not just that, but he's on a quest to prove that anything you throw at him he's going to he's going to find a way to figure it out. This series is going to have everything and I think stylistically it's interesting because the Pacers, they're going out there trying to get 150 points a night on you, right? They're not they're not they're going to maybe talk about trying to play defense during the end season tournament, but what happened in the Milwaukee series, all the games they won they scored 120 or more, right?

That's going to be the key for them. The Pacers are going to run and this is where I get concerned from the Knicks because we talked about all that mileage picking up on your legs. We haven't talked about it, but look, you got Isaiah Hartenstein who had an Achilles situation he was dealing with. Mitchell Robinson dealing with dealing with an ankle.

You don't have Bojan Bogdanovich. So you've got you know you've got guys who are fatigued. You have guys who are dealing with injuries. You don't have Julius Randall and on top of that Tibbs doesn't like playing more than eight or nine guys in a game. In a game at any time especially in the playoffs. So how deep are you going to have to go in your rotation when you've got another team that's playing 200 miles an hour?

So I think stylistically it'll be fun. I think we're going to have to watch out for that Miles Turner because Miles Turner is a guy who's going to pull your center out of the rip out of the paint which means Josh Hart is about to have to get another 20 rebounds a game or whatever he averaged. This is going to be a lot of fun, but at the end of the day this is coming down to a gunfight between Tyrese Hallibur and Jalen Brunson. These are two guys who played on Team USA together last year in the People World Cup.

They came up empty and then Hallibur got the nod to play for the Olympic team while Jalen Brunson got snubbed. It's about to, you're going to see a whole bunch of sparks in this one. It'll be a lot of fun for sure.

Maybe rekindling of an old rivalry that is at this point 25-30 years old. Hey Christian, thank you for taking the time to hop on. Where can people follow you and your work with the Daily News?

You can follow me on Twitter, obviously at Chris Blast, slash sports slash basketball slash Knicks is where you'll find a lot of my work. Well I also just wanted to congratulate you, man. I remember when I was on YouTube watching you doing your videos with the fitted backwards yelling into the camera. I remember that, man. I'm just glad to see how far you've come, man.

Congratulations. Hey everyone, Boomer Esiason here. The NFL Draft is behind us and your favorite team is now gearing up for week number one. The free Odyssey app puts you right in the middle of the pro football conversation with the biggest sports radio stations from across the country. The local voices who know your team the best, giving you their unfiltered takes on the current state of your squad. It's always football season right here on the free Odyssey app.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-03 22:25:53 / 2024-05-03 22:32:53 / 7

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