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Knicks Bulletin: RJ and IQ’s return, Bruce Brown loves Thibs, Brunson and Randle on win over Raptors

Straight Outta Sources.

Toronto Raptors v New York Knicks Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The New York Knicks hosted and beat the Toronto Raptors on Saturday easily by a final result of 126-100. This matchup would have been just another one falling on the first day of a silly mid-January weekend—only it was the total opposite of that with emotions running high inside MSG.

The reason? Saturday marked the return of two former Knickerbocker prospects to New York while dressed in different threads than those we’ve always watched them ply their trade into.

RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley tried to help their new team to no avail, Brunson and Randle excelled, and Precious Achiuwa surely joined the party.

Here is what we’ve heard from the protagonist in the past few hours, before and after The Return game took place.

Julius Randle

On dealing with the Raptors' defensive gameplan...

“Every time I got it, they were bringing two (defenders). That was kinda my mindset coming in: be aggressive, but just kinda read and take what the defense was giving me. And that’s kinda how I’ve been seeing it the past few games. I’ve been able to score the ball at a high clip, but if they double-team me, I gotta be able to make the right plays.”

On the Knicks committing 21 turnovers through Saturday’s matchup and overcoming those issues...

“Just turning the ball over too much. Me—seven is way too much.”

“We just had to get our turnovers down. Once we executed in the second half, slowed down and just made sound decisions, we were fine.”

On the time RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley spent in New York and the love showed to them by the Knicks faithful at MSG...

“New York should be extremely proud of them. They raised them. Seriously, they were brought up here, now they’re going to take off and flourish. I’m proud of them.”

On going against his former teammates for the first time ever...

“It was trippy, man. As I saw Quick at tipoff, whatever it was, as he was bringing the ball up, it just threw me off a little bit, so it was kinda trippy in the beginning.”

Jalen Brunson

On how he keeps taking and making shots consistently...

“Being comfortable while being uncomfortable. My game’s a little unorthodox, different—I’m comfortable with being uncomfortable. I work on those things. I find the ways to keep the defense off balance while remaining on balance.”

On outrebounding the Raptors 61-31 on Saturday and focusing on winning the battle on the boards every game...

“We try to emphasize outrebounding teams as best you can. It was one of those nights where we just outrebounded them by a lot, but it’s always an emphasis.”

On RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley...

“I love those two. Being teammates with them the past couple years has been special. Great character dudes, they both work really hard and are everything you want in a franchise player.”

“Toronto has a couple good dudes over there and I wish them nothing but the best—those are my guys.”

Tom Thibodeau

On focusing on outrebounding a small-size Raptors lineup missing their starting center...

“That was one of the things: We knew that they would play small so we thought we have a big advantage rebounding-wise. “(I told the players) lets really try to emphasize that and take advantage of it.”

On the ever-changing rosters of NBA teams with multiple trades reshaping the Raptors roster entirely...

“That’s the challenge of our league. There’s constant change. You have to adapt quickly.”

“They also had another trade with Siakam going out, Bruce Brown coming in. So there’s constantly changing personnel.

“You factor in [Jacob] Poetl being out—[they have] a different style of play. You have to factor all that and you have to be ready to go.”

On coaching RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley in New York, as well as the players coming in exchange for them...

“RJ and Quick were terrific. Nothing but love and respect for both of them.”

“Just great guys, great workers, gym rats, they’re going to be in. Really upbeat guys (who) handle themselves with a lot of class. And just continually got better. And will continue to do so.”

On Isaiah Hartenstein’s injury and the Knicks' big-man rotation...

“I haven’t talked to medical (staff) yet. So we’ll see where it is tomorrow.”

“I feel really good about our center position because Jericho is — he’s ready.”

Precious Achiuwa

On putting together his best performance since arriving in New York last December...

“Just playing the game, you know what I mean? I didn’t do anything different. I approach the game the same way every day, play the same way. The same intensity. Today just happened to be a day where things went my way.”

Isaiah Hartenstein

On the Knicks' impressive run on results since acquiring OG Anunoby and his impact in the game...

“He’s made our lives a lot easier.”

OG Anunoby

On his legendary plus/minus figures since joining the Knicks and contributing all across the board...

“I always want to impact winning. So I want to keep having a good plus-minus.”

“Yeah, I feel like (I’m making a difference), even plays that don’t go on the stat sheet, little stuff, a steal here and there, a block or a contest or a closeout that forces a bad shot, little stuff that doesn’t get noticed.”

On his eventual return to Toronto to face the Raptors as a member of the Knicks next March...

“It’ll be a crazy feeling when I go back for sure.”

On his feelings after getting traded away from Toronto...

“It’s still weird not being a Raptor. Like (Siakam), I never imagined playing for another team. I was in Toronto for seven years. I loved it there. So I never imagined playing for another team.”

RJ Barrett

On his tenure in New York and how he helped improve the franchise results...

“I mean, look at where they are. When you build something you’re a part of something.

On spending his first years as a pro with the Knicks and how that helped him...

“Getting back to the playoffs after a long drought, then not making it, then going back and winning a playoff series, those experiences with those people over there, coming in at 19 and then leaving at 23 they definitely helped me grow up. I’ll never forget New York.”

On how he spent Friday and Saturday in New York ahead of the game...

“Nah, man (I didn’t hook up with my former teammates). I went home and tried to get some [of my] stuff.”

On his mindset ahead of the matchup against his former team at Madison Square Garden...

“I’m not there yet, so I don’t know [what to expect]. I’m just gonna try to go in there, have fun, play hard, and try to get a win.”

“I’m trying to focus on the game as much as I can. I’ve already said it, I loved the fans, the New York fans, from Day 1, and I still do.”

On his appreciation of the New York Knicks faithful...

“I think the one thing [I appreciated most here] was the fans. Sold out every night, it’s like a show at the Garden, with all the lights and everything that goes on. So I was always appreciative of that, I always loved playing in the Garden. But [Saturday] I’ll be a visitor, and I’m excited to see what that’s like.”

“It was amazing. Thank you to the fans.”

“It’s like a show at the Garden with all the lights and everything that goes on. I was always appreciative of that. I always loved playing in the Garden.”

Immanuel Quickley

On being accustomed to performing in high-pressure situations...

“Going to Kentucky, probably the biggest media market in college basketball, and then going to the New York Knicks, one of the biggest media markets in sports period—probably top five in sports — is just preparing me, I think.”

On the smaller spotlight in Toronto compared to New York...

“It’s not the same as far as the media, the scrutiny, the attention, whatever. New York is definitely different in that sense.”

On his days as a member of the Knicks and what was coming on Saturday at MSG...

“It was nothing but love when I was there. I feel almost like part of my childhood is gone.”

“I don’t cry during movies, so I’d probably say not that much, but this one will be—I’ma try not to cry.”

“I’ve been tripped the whole day—since the scouting report, since I’ve seen Knicks I’m like, ‘wait.’”

On his adaptation to a new role with the Raptors and the franchise outlook...

“It definitely takes time. It’s like meeting a new girl. You can’t just—you got to take time to get to know her. You got to take her out to eat, stuff like that. You ain’t gonna just walk up to her and say, ‘Let’s get married.’ That ain’t gonna work. No, it’ll come together. Rome wasn’t built in a day. We have to keep working, individually and as a team we have to continue to try to take steps, and if we keep chopping wood and carrying water we’ll get there.”

Bruce Brown Jr.

On his potential fit in a team coached by Tom Thibodeau...

“I’m a dog. I play extremely hard on both ends of the floor. I would think [I’m] the type of player that [Thibodeau] likes.”

“Every time we play Thibs, I go up to him and shake his hand, just because of what he’s done. Nothing but respect for Thibs.”

On his mindset and potentially getting traded for a second time between now and the Feb. 8 deadline...

“Try not to pay attention to it and just hoop, control what I can control. I can’t control if I get moved again or not, it’s out of my mind.”

On his past with the Brooklyn Nets and knowing the New York environment...

“I love New York. I hated New York before I lived here, but as soon as I moved here I loved it. Anytime you want to do something you can go do it. Great restaurants, great city, I love being back.”