The Knicks took their first win of the season on Monday in front of an emotional Madison Square Garden crowd. Those emotions spilled out onto the floor during the 105-98 win over the Chicago Bulls.
The Knicks did their part to get the Garden going. Trailing by as much as 18 early and 17 in the third quarter, the Knicks rallied and ended the game with 15 unanswered points to close out the game.
But the Knicks locker room said following the game that the home crowd deserves just as much credit as the players for getting the job done.
"It was amazing. It was a lot of fun," forward Julius Randle said.
Randle, who had 13 points on 5-for-13 shooting with 14 rebounds, said that energy in MSG is something he wants to continue. In order to do so, he acknowledged it will take wins on the road, though. The Knicks' upcoming schedule includes games against the Magic and Celtics, respectively, away from home.
"Now we've got to go on the road, it's going to be even tougher, we've got to do it together, we've got to stay connected, and try to get two wins on the road and come back to this amazing crowd. Hopefully we can get these wins and have some momentum coming back home," Randle said.
GREAT 1st win tonight!!! There is no place like the Garden when the crowd is rocking like that!! #NewYorkForever- Frank Ntilikina (@FrankLikina) October 29, 2019
No one felt the energy of the Garden like forward Bobby Portis, though. In his coming out game of sorts with the Knicks, Portis had a team-high 28 points with 11 rebounds. He had two late daggers from 3 against his former team as well. Those baskets in particular had the crowd chanting his name.
"Yeah, it's kind of hard not to (hear the crowd)," Portis said. "It's fun when they call your name, that was my first time that actually ever happened [in the NBA]."
Technically speaking, Knicks coach David Fizdale described his team's late energy to grab the win as "juice." He saw it from his team, and Fizdale, like Knicks fans at the Garden, hopes that will turn into a developing trend. The coach said it was missing before Monday.
"One thing we can say about this game, three out of the four games, we got a lot of fight in us. We don't ever lay down," Fizdale said. "The other night I just thought we ran out of emotional juice, but I knew we would fight back (tonight). I didn't know if we would get over the hump, but I knew that we would fight back. They did that and trusted tonight in that."
After their quick two-game road trip, the Sacramento Kings visit the Garden for a 6:00 p.m. tip this upcoming Sunday.