Knicks 'hopeful' on Randle after re-injuring ankle, Thibodeau proud to end playoffs drought
The New York Knicks are "hopeful" on All-Star Julius Randle's availability for the Eastern Conference Semifinals after re-injuring his left ankle and exiting their Game 5 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Randle left Wednesday's game with 1:17 remaining in the second quarter after landing awkwardly on the same ankle which sidelined hm for the final five games of the regular season.
Knicks head coach Tim Thibodeau revealed after their Game 4 win on Monday that Randle was still dealing with the ankle issue originally sustained on March 29 against the Miami Heat.
Randle was only able to play 16 minutes in Game 5 before exiting when he rolled his ankle, scoring 13 points with four rebounds and six assists.
"It would be premature for me to comment," Thibodeau told reporters after the game. "Obviously, he has to be re-examined tomorrow. We're hopeful that it's not bad."
The Knicks' triumph means they get a longer break prior to the Conference Semifinals commencing on May 31 against Miami, who knocked out the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks.
"The turnaround will be quick," Thibodeau said. "That's the next challenge, be ready."
The magnitude of the Knicks' victory was not lost on Thibodeau, marking the franchise's first postseason series win in more than a decade, dating back to 2012.
"The tradition of the Knicks, not only what it means to the city and the league," he said. "We have the best fans in the world, best city in the world, best arena in the world.
"They respond to the way this team plays. They play hard. They play smart and they play together. There's still a lot of work to be done. We have a lot of areas to improve upon. We're looking forward to the next challenge."
Jalen Brunson scored 23 points, while R.J. Barrett added 21, with Mitchell Robinson pulling in 11 offensive rebounds from his 18 for the game.
The Knicks out-rebounded the Cavs throughout the series, including 48-30 in the clincher and Cleveland All-Star Donovan Mitchell cited that physicality as the difference.
"They outplayed us," Mitchell said. "It's as simple as that. They did their job and we didn't.
"For me, personally, I don't feel like I was the player I needed to be for this group. I just didn’t deliver."