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Breathe easy: Julius Randle’s braids are back.

Return of the braids.

Atlanta Hawks v New York Knicks
The braids are back in town.
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

There’s no need to bury the lede: the Knicks are a better team when Julius Randle has braids, and his braids are back for game one. Thoughts and prayers to the Hawks.

Prior to Sunday morning, it wasn’t clear whether Randle was planning to tap into his superpower (braids) or if he was going to try and beat the Hawks as a mere mortal (without braids). For reference, here’s what he looked like as of early Saturday, per Randle’s Instagram story.

This is not braids.
Julius Randle’s Instagram story.

Knicks fans, excited to the point of panic for the team’s first postseason appearance in eight years, needed to know. Would Randle head to the hairstylist to get fresh braids for the big night?

Fortunately, Randle chose to get braided up. And he even addressed the issue, telling reporters that he might be superstitious when it comes to the braids, and adding that fans needn’t worry, because benchman extraordinaire Theo Pinson has promised to personally braid Randle’s hair if it’s ever not braided, according to SNY’s Ian Begley.

Most of you get it, because you’ve been watching the Knicks all season, but maybe we’ve got some PeachTree Hoops readers lurking who are wondering why we’ve decided to address how Randle is choosing to style his hair for game one against the Hawks in Madison Square Garden.

Well, here’s the deal: statistically, Randle having braids gives the Knicks a much better chance to win. Back in April, Adam Kester over at Daily Knicks compiled some numbers. As of early April, the Knicks were 22-17 when Randle had braids, with the big man posting his usual stat lines of roughly 24 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. . A Twitter user named Ty Harris, who might or might be credible, Tweeted on April 3 that the Knicks were just 3-8 when Randle didn’t have braids.

He certainly had braids when the Knicks beat the Hawks by 10 in overtime on April 21. That night, Randle finished with 40 points, 11 boards and 6 dimes.

So, yeah. The braids are back. Good luck, Atlanta. You’re going to need it. Tip-off is 7 pm. There will be 15,000 Knicks fans who get to see the braids in person.