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For Knicks' Julius Randle and Tom Thibodeau, it's good to see old friends Reggie Bullock, Frank Ntilikina, Jalen Brunson

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau has fond memories of

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau has fond memories of the Mavericks Jalen Brunson, who he's known since he was a youngster. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

As the Knicks have sought to duplicate last season’s success a reminder arrived with the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday night.

The Mavs came to town without Kristaps Porzingis, who remains in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, but with two defensive stalwarts from last year’s team — Reggie Bullock and Frank Ntilikina.

"With guys you coached and played with, there’s a brotherhood and appreciation for them," Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. "They’re great guys with great character, hard workers. They’re team-oriented but really good people. It’s good to see those guys."

Julius Randle, who has struggled of late, spoke Tuesday of his excitement in seeing Bullock again, who he was close with during their time in New York.

"Definitely be great," he said of seeing Bullock. "Just with the relationship that we had here. Obviously, he was great for us. He’s a great teammate and I’m happy to see that he’s playing well over there, especially as of late. Anytime I see my old teammates it’s always love, especially with him being a guy on our team last year. We’re all texting now. I think we’ll be tied in together forever. It’ll be love to see him for sure."

Older ties

More than just having spent a season together, Thibodeau recalls his start with Mavs guard Jalen Brunson.

"What I think of Jalen?" Thibodeau said. "I think of when he was a little kid, used to come in and practice. Used to imitate Allan Houston and Latrell Sprewell. He was about six years old. And just to follow his career and what he’s done, it’s not surprising.

"Obviously I was in Chicago in his high school part of his career. Then continued on at Villanova, and now the pros. His father [former Knick Rick Brunson] had a similar path — he was a high school All-American, great career at Temple and then carved out his niche in the NBA. And Jalen is a much better player than his father. It’s a great story. His mom has done a great job. A wonderful family.

"It’s a reminder you’re getting old when you start seeing their kids," he added. "But it’s great. You always enjoy seeing that. Especially the success he has. But it’s also how he is as a person, how he carries himself."

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