After having stolen Game 1 on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the New York Knicks fell in Game 2 Tuesday night by a final score of 107-90. With this loss, this quarterfinals matchup finds itself all tied up at one game apiece.
Though there were many factors that contributed to New York’s ultimate demise, one of the most noteworthy was the inefficient performance put forth by fourth-year wing RJ Barrett.
Despite hoisting up the third most shots on the team, of those who played 10 or more minutes on the night the 22-year-old finished with the third-worst shooting percentage for the Knicks, registering with a clip of 30.8%.
When asked post-game about his feelings on Barrett’s slump during these early stages of the postseason, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau issued a statement suggesting that the hope is, in time, his play on offense will end up meeting expectations.
“Just keep trusting the game, trust your reads,” Tom Thibodeau said on RJ Barrett’s offensive struggles. “If they’re blitzing or if you’re in the open floor, if the second defender comes just pass. If you’re open, if you have an angle go to the basket, attack the basket.”
Thibodeau was asked a follow-up question of whether he believes Barrett is “taking the right shots,” where, in response, he noted that he’s had good looks despite the fact that they haven’t been falling, and closed out by stating he needs to “do other things to help the team” when he’s not knocking down his looks.
Thus far into the postseason, RJ Barrett finds himself boasting rather underwhelming per-game averages of 10.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.0 assists while shooting an abysmal 24.0% from the field and 12.5% from deep.
Julius Randle Dishes on Jarrett Allen Foul After Knicks Loss
During Tuesday’s Game 2, Knicks star Julius Randle took a bit of a tumble during a late-game fast break, as the big man was bumped by Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen while mid-air heading for a dunk that, ultimately, sent the power forward plummeting to the ground.
After grimacing on the hardwood for a beat, the 28-year-old wound up hoisting himself up and, seemingly, avoided any major injury. For his part in the incident, Allen was issued a flagrant foul penalty one.
Following the outing, when discussing the collision, Julius Randle noted to reporters that while he doesn’t feel as though there was any malicious intent from Cleveland’s star pivot, he still believes it was “a little unnecessary.”
“When you understand playoff basketball, you don’t give up on plays, and I respect that. I’m somebody who plays hard. I respect that, but typically when you make those kinds of plays, you run across their body, not through them. But it’s fine. It’s irrelevant [now]. We go back to the Garden, and we’ll see them there,” Randle said.
Julius Randle finished the contest with 22 points and 8 rebounds while shooting 42.9% from beyond the arc.
Charles Barkley Calls Out Knicks Coach Tom Thibodeau
While a large chunk of the heat for Julius Randle’s tumble has been directed toward Cleveland big Jarrett Allen, NBA legend and current Inside the NBA personality Charles Barkley called out Tom Thibodeau for not pulling his star out of the game sooner, calling his decision “flat-out stupid.”
“That was just stupid,” Charles Barkley said. “Reggie Miller said that it was just stupid to have Randle and Jalen Brunson in the game. That’s just crazy. I really like Tom [Thibodeau], but that was just flat-out stupid. If [Randle] got hurt right there. … I was saying, why is he in the game? They were down  with five minutes to go, and they still have them in the game. That was just a flat-out stupid [decision] by the Knicks.”
With Tuesday’s contest now in the books, the Knicks look to play host to the Cavaliers for a two-game stint at Madison Square Garden, with Game 3 scheduled for Friday night.