One night, the Knicks needed Julius Randle to be a star in the park against the mighty Jazz, and he laid an egg while Donovan Mitchell starred.
The Knicks blew up a huge opportunity to make March even more exciting with Sunday’s 108-93 loss to the Jazz as Randle took out the park and listened to belated boos.
Randle finished 6 of 21 off the field (1 of 6 of 3) for 13 points and, in the final seconds, got into a skirmish with Rudy Gobert, pushing him gently as the Jazz center tried to calm a disgruntled Nick.
No wonder Randall was frustrated, as he was apparently fired up all night long by Joubert and Hassan Whiteside.
Then, Randall was barely coherent in discussing the incident and claimed he wasn’t angry with the jazz star. Players on both sides stepped into the ugly end of an ugly fourth quarter.
“I don’t really know—I was having a conversation with the official at first. When I left, they thought there was some confrontation between me and him from the play before,” Randel said. “But it wasn’t. decent. Not a big deal. ”
When asked if he was mad at Joubert, Randall said, “Nah. Not at all. Honestly. I was confused to be honest. When I left, I was confused.”
Randall’s performance was baffling. Down the extension when the Knicks came in handy, Randle blasted an easy corner kick at 95-89, then lost the ball to dribbling with a 3:40 left and then heard it from the crowd.
In turn, Mitchell, Westchester producer and former CAA client Leon Rose, hit the Knicks by 36 points, making 7 of 12 three-pointers and throwing a sinister left jam with a 5:50 left and the Knicks rally.
“Anyone who is excited to play at home,” said RJ Barrett. ‘But we can’t let him do that. I should do a better job of guarding him, especially when it’s the man’s homecoming. We can’t let him do such a thing.’
Mitchell is an important person among the Copper Knicks Despite his long-term contract with jazz. Mitchell seemed eager to make an offer.
“It’s always nice to play here in front of my friends and family – people who’ve seen me play since I was three, just like watching me hit the little hoops,” said Mitchell. “And to be able to go out and play well and go out and win as a group, it’s fun.”
In one of the bright lights of the night, Mitchell stroked Randle along the baseline and flew into a brutal two-handed immersion. Randle was also caught running back to defend during the Utah bucket for the fast break.
When Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau was asked about Randall’s bad evening, he generally replied, “I thought we fought, but we felt like we were a step behind most of the night.”
At least Randall understood that well.
“Yes. “I’m not sure,” Randall said. “The season eroded from game to game. I’m not sure. Usually we are a high energy team. For some reason we were not today.
There was a golden opportunity as the Hawks actually lost and the Knicks got a chance to advance four games out of the playing slot.
To boot, the Knicks host the Hawks on Tuesday. But now this game will be just a survival exercise rather than a legitimate opportunity to scare the Hawks, who lead them with five matches with 11 to play.
“We lost that game, but we’re actually going to have Atlanta the next, so try to get it back then,” Barrett said.
Barrett also had a poor second run when he scored just nine out of 24 points. During the jazz surge in the third quarter, Barrett witnessed his collision with Whiteside.
Evan Fournier got off to a strong start, hitting four of his first five baskets — including three from three-point ground. He had 11 points in the first eight minutes, and the Knicks, 29-20, advanced late in the first quarter. Fournier finished with 17 points but missed with 2:15 on the left.
“We bounced the ball well but I thought we didn’t get the ball well tonight,” said Thibodeau. “Lots of balls, 50-50 balls, we didn’t get there. We knew they were going to shoot a lot of 3s. So covering the elbows is important. They hit us with those.”
Jazz ignited in the second period as 2021 Sixth Man of the Year award-winning Jordan Clarkson performs. With a combination of floats and mid-range jumps, Clarkson pinned 18 points on the Knicks in his first 14 minutes of movement.
The Jazz were playing without starting guards Mike Conley (maintenance) and Bojan Bogdanovic (calf) and the Knicks were without enough heart in the last six minutes.
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