The New York Knicks stormed out of the gate during Monday night’s bout with the Toronto Raptors, hitting eight three-point shots en route to dropping a 34 spot in the first quarter. When OG Anunoby and his crew came with the hard counter, though, the Knicks were completely unable to adjust.
The Raptors wrested control of the game in the third quarter, outscoring the Knicks 38-22. By night’s end, they had pulled out a 113-104 win on the 75th anniversary of the NBA‘s very first game between the Knicks and the Toronto Huskies on Nov. 1, 1946.
Much of the damage was done on the fast break, where Toronto outscored New York 21-3. But the Raptors raised their intensity across the board; they converted 17 Knicks turnovers into 20 points and were plus-eight in both second-chance points and points in the paint.
These things apparently escaped Knicks star Julius Randle, who wasn’t able to identify an area where the Raptors had done anything differently after the game. Head coach Tom Thibodeau had a different outlook, however, and even took aim at the big man for his efforts.
He Said, He Said
Randle was cooking during the Knicks’ big first quarter, accounting for 18 of those 34 points. From that point on, though, it was tough sledding. The 2021 All-Star scored just four points on 1-of-8 shooting over the game’s final three periods.
Despite the seismic shift that occurred, Randle wasn’t about to give any credit to Toronto in the wake of the loss.
“They didn’t do a thing,” he said of the Raptors’ in-game adjustments, via the New York Daily News. He further maintained that the struggles that he and his team encountered were just a “flow of the game” thing. In Thibodeau’s eyes, though, this particular game may have just passed Randle by.
“You’ve got to read the game, put it on the floor and you’ve got to spray,” Thibodeau said. “And when we did that, we were able to find open shots. If they’re going to commit to sending two to [Randle], he’s got to keep moving, we’ve got to keep searching.”
One thing they can probably agree on, though, is that losing is not fun, especially when it comes in front of their own fans at MSG.
“Both our losses this year have come at home. They’re games we feel like we shouldn’t have lost,” said Randle. “So yeah, it’s disappointing. A loss is always disappointing.”
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RJ Goes Off (Again)
Two days after dropping a season-high 35 points against the New Orleans Pelicans, former No. 3 overall pick RJ Barrett was at the top of his game again versus the Raptors. In 38 minutes on the floor, Barrett scored a team-high 27 points on 9-of-13 shooting and added six rebounds.
For his part, Thibodeau has taken note of the strides made by Barrett. He’s not at all surprised by them, though.
“He’s got a lot of talent. He’s an elite talent. And then when you start to measure his intangibles, you look at the toughness, you look at the basketball IQ, you look at the competitiveness,” he said, via the New York Post. “So those three things — he’s got a great work ethic. Those type of guys always get better.”