Randle: Knicks must get back to winning games with defense

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The New York Knicks have lost four of their last five games, and forward Julius Randle believes the team can turn its season around by improving its collective effort, especially on the defensive end.

"I just think we gotta understand that in order to win games we gotta play really hard, extremely hard. We gotta have game plan discipline, and we gotta win games on defense," Randle said after Saturday's loss to the Denver Nuggets, according to ESPN's Tim Bontemps.

"If our offense is great, great. That's just a bonus. But who we are as a team, how we built this team and this culture is just fighting defensively, the togetherness, just the effort, the hustle plays. I feel like that's what the city of New York loves. That's what the fans love - when they know we're out there giving it our all."

New York has struggled defensively in 2021-22. The team finished with the fourth-best defensive rating (107.8) last season but has regressed to 24th (109.8) this campaign.

The Knicks' 3-point defense has slipped in particular. After limiting opponents to a league-worst 33.7% mark from long range last season, they now allow their opponents to connect on 35.2% of their 3-point attempts, which ranks as the league's 11th-highest percentage. In Saturday's loss to the Nuggets, New York surrendered 20 3-pointers on 43 attempts (46.5%).

"At the end of the day, I just wanna win. ... I know everybody in that locker room wants to win, too," Randle said. "We gotta look ourselves in the mirror and decide what we want the season to be. I know what I want it to be. I know what the guys want it to be. But we have to commit to it, and that's just really what it is."

The Knicks are now 11-12 on the season, which has them positioned 11th in the Eastern Conference but just two games back of the sixth-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers.

Randle: Knicks must get back to winning games with defense
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