Coach Tom Thibodeau is quite familiar with Heat star Jimmy Butler from their time together with the Timberwolves. Now, Thibodeau will square off with Butler in the second round of the playoffs.
“Anyone that you’ve coached or been around, I always follow him and support him and want him to do well except when we play each other,” Thibodeau said, via Nick Friedell of ESPN. “I know what he’s about. He knows what we’re about. So let’s go. Let’s see what’s up.”
- Power forward Julius Randle didn’t do much at practice Friday, per Friedell, but Thibodeau said he’s hopeful Randle will be ready for Game 1 vs. the Heat. We have more on Randle here.
- Knicks legend Patrick Ewing said he’s pleased to see Jalen Brunson leading the Knicks, as Ewing player with Rick Brunson, now an assistant coach in New York. “It’s funny. I told Jalen when I first started coaching at Georgetown that if I knew he was going to be a basketball player like this, I would have started recruiting him back then,” Ewing said, via Barbara Barker of NewsDay. “He wouldn’t leave my locker. He was always at my locker. And then that kid kicked my butt when I was at Georgetown and he has done a good job of improving his game every day. I love the type of player he is and his mom and dad did an outstanding job of raising him.”
Coach Erik Spoelstra said that a Knicks-Heat matchup is good for the NBA, considering their longtime rivalry that dates back about 25 years or so.
“It’s good for the game, it’s good for the interest,” Spoelstra said, via Wes Goldberg of The Ringer. “We want people watching this series.”
- Spoelstra seemed to indicate he thinks Julius Randle will play for the Knicks in Game 1. “You have to prepare for both (possibilities),” Spoelstra said, via Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Forward Khris Middleton is expected to be one of the hottest names on the rumor mill this summer, given the Bucks’ first-round meltdown against the Heat.
“I can guarantee you right now Khris Middleton is going to be a name that other teams are looking at,” Fischer said on the Ball Don’t Lie podcast. “And now this gives more credence for that potential door to be open for his exit.”
- In case you missed it, there are some rumblings that coach Mike Budenholzer may be on thin ice. We have that full post here.