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Knicks Bulletin: reactions to All-Star reserves, comeback win over Indy

Straight Outta Sources.

Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The New York Knicks had to fight—literaly—for their ninth consecutive win and 15th since the start of the 2024 calendar year, but those two things are precisely what they did and earned as New Yorkers watching live on location and from home enjoyed a come-from-behind dub against Obi Toppin’s Indiana Pacers, 109-105, on Thursday.

The day started nicely with news about Julius Randle seemingly avoiding season-ending surgery, got better with the announcement of the All-Star reserves featuring two Knicks in Randle and Jalen Brunson, and had it climax inside MSG as New York pulled off another W with gusto.

Here is what the protagonists of the day had to say before and after another sublime basketball game.

Tom Thibodeau

On Jalen Brunson’s relentlessness...

“You just love his competitiveness and he never goes away.”

On Brunson not getting calls from the refs...

“The guy, his resolve is so great. He takes a beating. I think he needs to be protected. There were several plays in which he got hit. If it’s a foul, it’s a foul—call it. But what can you say? He comes right back on the next play.”

“The referees, sometimes they’re not perfect, none of us are. If they missed it, they missed it. Move on. And that’s what I like about him, he goes on to the next play. And that’s critical.”

On how Brunson’s leadership has affected all players in the team positively...

“Leon and the staff have done a good job of identifying the right type of guys.”

On Josh Hart’s contributions off the bench and now as a starter with OG Anunoby and Julius Randle out...

“Josh is playing every position on the floor. I don’t know what he is. He’s just a basketball player. That’s what makes him great for us.”

On Miles McBride stepping into a bigger role and dealing with it nicely...

“The one thing is, he’s a gym rat. We track all the shots, and we saw last year that he’s very accurate in practice. It didn’t really translate into the games, but he really never got extended minutes. We felt that eventually it would translate, and it has.”

“He’s a very confident shooter, and he’s a little bit of everything. His defense is elite, he disrupts people, and he plays offensively with speed.”

On Jalen Brunson developing into an All-Star player...

“It’s surreal. I think back to when he was a kid coming here in the 90s—you knew he was a great kid, made everyone laugh.”

“But he was so serious, even then. Whether he was doing an imitation of Latrell Sprewell, Allan Houston, Larry Johnson or Patrick (Ewing), he had it spot on. He was like 6 and he had all their moves down.”

“Then following him through high school, Villanova, his pro career—each step of the way there’s always been naysayers. And he always proves them wrong.”

“It’s great for the family, too. Not only Rick (his father and current Knicks assistant coach) but his wife Sandra, and Jalen’s sister, it’s been a family commitment. And to see it, it’s special.”

On both Brunson and Julius Randle making the 2024 All-Star game rosters...

“It was a challenge this year. Both of those guys are self-made. It wasn’t given to them, they earned it”

On Julius Randle’s injury and update (re-evaluation in 2-3 weeks) provided by the Knicks...

“Yeah, I don’t know the specifics on it. I know the rehab has started and I feel sorry for the [physical therapists]. You know the way Jules works. So he’s upbeat and he’s feeling better, so just take it day by day and hopefully everything goes well.”

”You know his makeup. That’s what you love about the guy. It’ll be full-bore. He’ll give it everything he has to get back as quick as he can. But we’re not going to put him in harm’s way. We’re going to make sure he’s healthy before he gets out there. But we’re encouraged.”

“I think he’s been through things before and I think that serves him well. I think he knows how to approach it from a mental standpoint, and so as I mentioned it to you guys before, I think the fact that he’s in great shape, I think it helps him as well.”

On the impact of Randle on the team and the gameplan...

“I know what he means to our team. I like the way our team has responded. We know we can’t replace what he does individually, so we have to do that collectively.”

”The encouraging thing is obviously we’re hopeful that [the rehab] goes well, and we think it will. But we’re pleased knowing his makeup. The way he works, he’ll be back as soon as he can be back.”

On OG Anunoby’s injury and missing a third consecutive game...

“Same thing. Day to day. Little better each day. When he’s ready, he’ll be out there, but just take it day by day.”

“He’s been out there, doing some work. We’ve just got to make sure—it’s his right elbow, so we’ve got to make sure he’s ready to go.”

On Quentin Grimes getting ruled out of Thursday’s game with a sprained right knee...

“That one, we’ll see where that goes. The same thing: Soreness, and so you can’t put him out there unless he can move.”

Jalen Brunson

On beating the Indiana Pacers and his former coach Rick Carlisle...

“It was a great win. You’ve got to give it to that team over there—they play fast, they play hard, they play physical. Coach Carlisle is going to have those guys ready.”

On how he can draw more fouls...

“No comment.”

On how he’s feeling after getting smacked in the face in a non-call action...

“Fantastic.”

On Thursday’s developments, from getting the All-Star accolade to beating Indiana coming from down 15 points...

“It was really cool. The whole experience. The night. How we won. Obviously what happened before the game… you always work for certain moments, but you never know how to react when they happen. So it was special.”

On focusing on the task at hand and not getting lost in the ASG nod...

“When the game’s going, you’re focused. And when it’s over you kind of relax and realize what’s going on. So yeah, it’s definitely different at that point. So, really thankful for the fans and what they’ve done for myself, my family, and this team.”

On getting named an All-Star player for the first time in his career...

“Really thankful for my family, my wife, my teammates, the coaches, past teammates and coaches, really thankful for all of them. It’s a great moment.”

On Donte DiVincenzo’s efforts...

“It’s a Donte. It’s not a goat, trust me it’s not a goat.”

Donte DiVincenzo

On how the Knicks were able to pull off the comeback victory...

“Because we have an All-Star & an MVP-caliber point guard with us. That’s first & foremost. Second we just play togther. We have a joy with us right now. And we’re gonna keep it rolling.”

On new All-Star Jalen Brunson...

“Teams are going to focus on him and rough him up and get him off of his game. You can’t do that to that dude. What else do you want from him for an accolade? What do you want him to do in a game to get the respect he deserves?”

On Brunson the man, the myth, the legend...

“What do you want me to say? He did exactly what everybody expects him to do, what he’s been doing all season long. One A, One B, it doesn’t matter. The dude is an All-Star. He’s having an MVP-caliber season right now. He should be the player of the month this month. What else can I say? The dude’s doing everything he possibly can for us to win games. It’s not easy right now with Julius going down, OG going down, Mitch not being here. Everything’s been thrown against us and he’s still willing us to win games.”

Miles McBride

On the comeback win against the Pacers on Thursday...

“It shows that our team has guts and we’re willing to do whatever to scratch a hard-fought win out. That’s what we’re gonna do”

On the MSG faithful rooting for him...

“I think the fans have always shown love for me. Now that shots are going in, I think they like me a lot more.”

On getting into a more prominent role following the departure of Immanuel Quickley as the leader of the second unit...

“Honestly, it’s all about my belief. I feel like I was taking the same shots, and now I’m just getting a little bit more of an opportunity.”

“The organization and the coaching staff continued to believe in me, and it was just about me consistently working on my shot. I put in the work and it’s showing.”

“It just feels like it’s in my nature. I feel like I’ve done it my whole life. This is the stage I’ve been dreaming of my whole life. I feel like I’m prepared for it, so it’s natural for me.”

Josh Hart

On Brunson getting named an All-Star player for the first time in his career...

“Oh man, I’m just incredibly happy, incredibly proud of him. He put the work in for a long time and. Hopefully, it’s the first of many, but for him to achieve that goal, that dream, it’s amazing.”

“It’s cool to see. I know he’s not going to make a big deal out of it. It’s really dope to see.”

On if he was prepared to face the reality of living in a world where Brunson had more All-Star appearances than him...

“Yeah, I think so, man... He finally outdid me on that one. It’s gonna be a tough pill to swallow.”

On fighting until the final buzzer each and every game and following Jalen Brunson’s effort on Thursday...

“When your All-Star and your leader does it, it sets the standard, but that’s something that each of us take pride in. We wanna get stops. We wanna rebound the ball. We take pride in doing those things.

“Obviously, [Brunson] being our leader, our star, doing it obviously sets the standard, but all of us take pride in doing that.”

Taj Gibson

On Julius Randle’s injury and his outlook...

“I was just praying his injury wasn’t worse. I’ve been around him when he first came in, so I understand where his heart is at. If you know Jules, if you’re hearing the news that they just said, he’s going to push that ahead of time. He’s playing for something special. He believes in his work. He’s just one of those guys, he doesn’t miss time. That’s one of the things I love about him. He’s just a complete competitor.”

Rick Carlisle (Indiana Pacers Head Coach)

On losing the rebounding battle 60-44 to the Knicks on Thursday...

“We got bullied on the glass and it’s disappointing because we’re a very capable rebounding team and this is the main thing that we talked about with this game. So we failed on the boards, for sure, and it’s obviously the difference in the game.”

On Brunson getting named an All-Star reserve for the 2024 season...

“No surprise. Zero. That kid is special. He was special for us in Dallas. There’s just something about him. He has a bulldog competitiveness. He’s heard all the haters and detractors for so long that he just munches that stuff up and spits it out. Now he’s, you know, All-Star—that’s happening.”