The New York Knicks dropped their marquee matchup against the Brooklyn Nets to close out November, but they showed a lot of fight.
It all came down to a half-court heave by Evan Fournier which was missed, but it proved that the Knicks can be competitive with the Nets, even on the road.
The Knicks have always been a team that runs the offense through their All-Star Julius Randle, but that became even clearer when they decided to start Alec Burks at point guard despite him not typically playing that position.
Randle has had his share of struggles this season, and his numbers are down across the board when compared to last season, but he is still averaging a double-double with 19 points per game to go along with 10 rebounds.
Following the loss, Randle was caught by the TV cameras arguing to the refs, and he went more in-depth with his issues in the postgame press conference. This led to Shaquille O’Neal sending a message to Randle during his TNT postgame coverage.
Shaq Offers Advice After Randle Speaks Out
With Randle being a big man, he doesn’t get the calls somebody who might be a bit smaller than him would get, at least that is what the refs told him.
“I can’t be penalized for being bigger and stronger,” he said. “They said because certain contact doesn’t affect me, like it affects other players because I’m stronger, they miss the calls.”
This is something that LeBron James has dealt with much of his career, and it’s something that NBA Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal is very familiar with.
After the game, the legend offered a bit of advice to Randle.
“Nobody roots for Goliath,” O’Neal began. “Nobody cares. So I’m saying this to say that. Play through it big man. You are correct. You are strong. You’re not going to get a lot of calls. They’re not going to slow the game down for us. So what you gotta do big dog is make them call a foul. When you’re down there on the block, punish them.”
He suggested lifting up his elbow a bit to initiate more contact, something that could force the refs to blow the whistle for Randle more often.
Shaq notoriously didn’t get many calls during his time in the NBA, despite being fouled close to every play. His strength and size meant he wasn’t tossed around much, so it never looked like things impacted him.
While being strong in the NBA can be a good thing, it’s clear that it does have its drawbacks.
Randle Has a Point
For somebody who spends as much time in the paint as Randle does, it might be expected for him to get more foul calls.
His season high in free throw attempts is 14 against the Orlando Magic back in October, and he’s also reached 10 FTAs two other times. Against the Nets, he shot just two free throws while also taking 22 shots. Just two of those shots were three pointers, so the refs might’ve missed a call or two on him throughout the game.
It’s a tough situation for everybody involved as the refs think they are doing the right thing while Randle is obviously frustrated with the whole situation.
Perhaps Shaq’s advice is just what Randle needs.