The Knicks Should be Encouraged Despite Julius Randle’s Game 1 Performanceby Ben Fadden May 25, 2021 0 comments
There was so much buzz before the New York Knicks took the floor for their Game 1 matchup against the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. But the Garden was as silent as a funeral after Atlanta’s point guard Trae Young hit the game-winning shot with 0.9 seconds left in the fourth quarter. While they are now in a hole, New York should be encouraged more by what they didn’t see from Julius Randle than what they did see.
Randle’s Struggles Won’t Continue
What they did see was their team MVP struggle from the field. Randle averaged 24.1 points per game this season, but only managed to score 15 points on Sunday. The 26-year-old went 6-22 from the field (26.1 percent) and said after the game that he “gotta do better”. If he hit just a couple more shots than he did in Game 1, then the Knicks would have a 1-0 series lead going into Game 2.
That should be encouraging for Knicks fans because there’s no way that Randle is going to have back-to-back bad shooting performances, especially when he’s had so much success against the Hawks this season. What Knicks fans didn’t see Sunday night was Randle being a dominant force offensively like he was this season against the Hawks. In three regular-season games, Randle averaged 37.3 points per game, 12.3 rebounds, 6.7 assists, and 50 percent from three. He shot just 33.3 percent from three on Sunday night.
Teammates Know He’ll Bounce Back
Randle seems to have won over his teammates this season partly due to his work ethic. One of his teammates, Derrick Rose, has plenty of playoff experience and is confident that Randle will have a bounceback game in the second game of the series. “We know what type of player he is,” Rose said after the 107-105 loss. “He’s a hard worker. It’s up to us to tell him things, how they’re just playing him, how they’re forcing him certain ways… he’s just gotta read the game. This is his first time in the playoffs. He loves the game. He’s a student of the game so when we look at the film, he’ll be able to figure it out. That’s the great thing about it.”
History Says Randle Will Be Better
Whenever Randle had a bad game this season (15 or fewer points), he always came back the next game much better offensively. Here are just a few examples:
- January 2 (at Pacers): 12 points (5-16 FG); Next game: 28 points (11-19 FG) vs. Hawks
- January 11 (at Hornets): 11 points (2-9 FG); Next game: 30 points (13-25 FG) vs. Nets
- February 9 (at Heat): 12 points (4-18 FG); Next game: 24 points (8-15 FG) vs. Wizards
- May 9 (at Clippers): 14 points (7-19 FG); Next game: 31 points (11-26 FG) vs. Lakers
So the Knicks might be down in the series but the Knicks and their fans should be encouraged because Randle is going to be ready to dominate in Game 2.
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