The New York Knicks are headed into their toughest battle of the season thus far in Milwaukee. After losing to the Bucks on Nov. 3 in their first group play game of the In-Season Tournament, the Knicks will have another shot at Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard.
The tournament's motto is the same as March Madness -- survive and advance. A win means New York will advance to Las Vegas to play Indiana on Thursday, while a loss means the team will travel to Boston for a Friday night game.
In case it wasn't clear in the Knicks' final group play game against the Hornets, the team wants to go to Vegas, especially Julius Randle. He admitted that when packing for Wisconsin, he packed for Vegas, too.
That doesn't mean Randle has already penciled in Tuesday's game as a win for New York. When he said that on Monday, the Knicks still had no idea where they'd head if they lost to the Bucks. The Celtics' loss later that night answered that question. Nonetheless, it isn't bad that Randle already has his eyes on the semifinals.
Julius Randle says Knicks are "excited" ahead of In-Season Tournament quarterfinals
When New York was in Milwaukee a month ago, Julius Randle shot 5-of-20 from the field. That was part of his rough start to 2023-24, and he's since turned things around. In fact, he was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday.
How does he feel about the team's return to Wisconsin? Pretty good.
"We’re excited. We look at it as a great opportunity to come out and play and compete against the best and compete for something. I think every guy in the locker room is excited,” Randle said. “It feels good. We get to see how we stack up against one of the best teams in the league."- Julius Randle, New York Post
There are some Knicks fans out there dreading an extra matchup against the Bucks, but as competitors, New York welcomes the added opportunity. The Knicks have won three straight games, and Tuesday's contest will give them an idea of where they're at a month and a half into the season.
It won't be easy, but hopefully, New York will pass with flying colors.