New starter Alec Burks believes Knicks are close to turning it around

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Alec Burks quietly said on Friday that he doesn’t believe his role has “really changed” since he was anointed earlier this week as the Knicks’ starting point guard ahead of Kemba Walker.

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But Burks, an 11-year NBA veteran, entered a career-high 43 minutes in Thursday’s defeat to the Bulls, and he led the team in playing time with at least 39 minutes in each of his three, as Walker was previously “rested. A second night of back-to-back games last weekend.”

Burkes had previously averaged 21.4 minutes in his first 19 appearances this season, all off the bench.

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“I don’t think of everything [has] Changed. I played with everyone throughout practice and training camp, so I don’t think it’s really changed much,” Burks said Friday after practice in Tarrytown. “We’re all just trying to find ways to help us win, so I don’t think it’s really changed at all.

Alec Burks entered a career-high 43 minutes against the Bulls.
Charles Weinzelberg/New York Post

“It’s basketball at the end of the day. Never go too high. Never go too low. I think that’s how I live life, not only on the basketball court, but off it.”

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Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau installed 6-foot-6 Burke as the starter, as his size and length were on the defensive end, leaving the 6-foot Walker completely out of rotation.

The Burkes have scored 21.3 points per game in their three starts, but before Saturday’s game against the Nuggets, the Knicks have lost their last two encounters – close losses to the Nets and Bulls – on .500 points (11-11). to slide up to. For the first time this season.

“It just plays out here and there,” Burks said. “The second game against the Nets, one last game at the end, it could have been either way. You put the call in the hands of the referee. And [Thursday] Night, just people made great plays at the end. We are getting there. we are very close. It will be for us. It will turn. ,

Julius Randall likewise said after Thursday’s loss in Chicago that he believes the Knicks are a heated stretch away from stepping into the tighter standings of the Eastern Conference.

Still, he’s dropped 10 of his last 16 games after a 5-1 start, and he’s made 18 turnovers against the Bulls—including by Randall to tie a seven-season high.

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Julius Randall insists the Knicks will ‘find it out’ in relation to their recent struggles.
Charles Weinzelberg/New York Post

Thursday’s game also included an early rejection for veteran forward Taj Gibson and a brief on-court verbal brawl between Randley and Evan Fournier just before halftime.

“We’ll find it. We just have to understand that we have to lock in defensively,” Randley said. “We’ve got to get people out in healthy, full strength. We’ll be fine. It’s 22 games in, a great run could put us on top of the former in under two weeks, so it’s just like plugging in. But understand that we must also feel a sense of urgency. ,

According to Thibodeau, starting wing RJ Barrett has been upgraded to a potential against the Nuggets after missing the last one and a half games with a non-Covid illness.

Despite his absence in the lineup, the 31-year-old has not come off the bench in the last two games. Rookie Quentin Grimes and even Kevin Knox saw limited minutes against the Bulls on Thursday.

“He’s done a good job. He’s a staunch supporter,” Thibodeau said of Walker. “There he is. He is a great companion. He has been great at practice. So, that’s what you expect.

“We won a great [Sunday] in Atlanta. We had a hard-fought game in Brooklyn, then a hard-fought game [Thursday] Night. And so, if we can lock in and continue to improve on both sides – sometimes, when people are out, you get to see some other people and so you’re learning more and This is good too. So sometimes, you might find things that you might not have been seeing before.”

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