Julius Randle does not play this season as an MVP candidate or even as an All-Star. Knicks fans who are savvy acknowledge this.
They can also recognize when their team is training, like the Celtics Knicks on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. The locals put Randle and everyone else on the field in home uniform in the second half behind their ears.
Randle wasn’t thrilled.
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That explains why the Knicks took off in the fourth quarter during a thrilling comeback. The experienced striker plunged into Javier Baeze-Francisco Lindor’s playbook and pointed a thumbs down after using a bucket to reduce New York’s deficit to four points. The Knicks won 108: 105 after losing up to 25 points in the game. Randle finished with 22 points.
When New York Daily News reporter Stefan Bondy asked what was up (down?) With a hand gesture, he had a profane answer:
“Shut up,” Randle replied. That was said towards the fans and not, as some on Twitter hoped, about Bondy.
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Randle and Knicks have occasionally boomed with their game. The attacker is still the team’s best scorer and rebounder, but his production is declining:
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And his divisions after the season before Thursday were not favorable:
New York is 19-20 and 10th in the Eastern Conference by Thursday. The Celtics are playing for the final place in the play-in tournament.
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The good news for the team is that the core roster, which set a 41:31 record and number 4 in the playoffs a year ago, still exists, although Derrick Rose has long been out of the game with an ankle injury. The bad news is that one of its leaders took time during the game to send a message to the fans after saying the day before that he was “not giving – what anyone has to say.”
Randle was supposed to maintain this attitude when everything got worse on Thursday. Basic rule: Fans won’t be nice when they tell you you’re performing poorly.