Julius Randle-Obi Toppin combo gives Knicks new dynamic

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Julius Randle and Obi Toppin shared the tribunal for a expansive full of 39 minutes past season. They’re already closing successful connected that fig this season.

In portion due to the fact that of the lack of Taj Gibson, who became a begetter connected Tuesday, and Nerlens Noel’s near genu injury, Knicks caput manager Tom Thibodeau went to the small-ball lineup successful Wednesday’s double-overtime triumph implicit the Celtics, to awesome results.

“It got america going, it got america into the unfastened floor, which was good,” Thibodeau said. “That radical played truly good together.”

When Randle and Toppin were connected the level unneurotic for a shadiness nether 16 minutes, the Knicks outscored the Celtics by 12, with Toppin burning Boston successful transition, taking disconnected aft missed shots and finishing with easiness astatine the different end. In 28 minutes, the second-year guardant scored 14 points.

“When I americium connected the tribunal with him and I spot that helium has the rebound, I instrumentality disconnected and that is what I bash best,” Toppin said.

Julius Randle (left) and Obi Toppin gave the Knicks a large  assistance   successful  their opening-night triumph   implicit    the Celtics.Julius Randle (left) and Obi Toppin gave the Knicks a large assistance successful their opening-night triumph implicit the Celtics.N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

Thibodeau has said the Knicks suffer defense, successful peculiar rim protection, erstwhile helium uses Randle astatine halfway and Toppin astatine powerfulness forward. But playing them together, present that Toppin has improved astatine some ends of the floor, makes them hard to defend. With 5 players each susceptible of stretching the floor, the improved court-spacing gives Randle much country to maneuver.

“I deliberation it was truly effective, america being capable to make activity, get stops and get retired and tally connected the violative end,” Randle said. “If they enactment maine astatine the 5, I consciousness similar immoderate 5 successful the league, it’s going to beryllium a mismatch. I bash clasp that role, but I’ll bash immoderate Thibs asks me.”

The Knicks experimented with the lineup immoderate successful the preseason and it worked successful the opener for important stretches. Randle and Toppin shared the tribunal for the 2nd portion of the 3rd quarter, erstwhile the Knicks took over, and astir the full closing agelong of the fourth, earlier Thibodeau went backmost to Mitchell Robinson for astir of the 2 overtimes.

It remains to beryllium seen if Thibodeau volition support going to it erstwhile Gibson and Noel are back. But if Toppin continues to perform, helium whitethorn not person a choice.

Randle has been fined $15,000 for throwing the crippled shot into the stands astatine the decision of Wednesday’s game, the NBA announced Thursday.

Wednesday night’s Knicks-Celtics crippled was ESPN’s most-watched play opener successful 18 years, according to Nielsen. It averaged 1.96 cardinal viewers, peaking with 2.87 cardinal viewers from 10:30-10:45 p.m.