The New York Knicks have a lot of talent, but so far this season, they have also shown a disturbing tendency to play down to their competition. The Toronto Raptors were missing leading scorer Scottie Barnes, but they’re a smart, disciplined squad with more than enough talent to take down New York.
The Knicks went up 15 in the second quarter, and then completely ignored this reality. They played sloppy, lazy basketball, allowing Toronto to come back to within four by halftime and then take a double-digit lead by the end of the third quarter.
Key among the culprits was Julius Randle. It’s sad, because Julius was on fire in the first quarter, scoring 18 points. But his defense was still suspect, and when he subbed back in during the second quarter, Randle was an offensive black hole. He chucked bricks, dribbled into double-teams, and ignored open teammates. Meanwhile, OG Anunoby was getting the better of him.
But Randle wasn’t the only Knick crapping the bed. Evan Fournier was dribbling way too much against Toronto’s pressure defense. Tom Thibodeau was out-coached.
Perhaps the lone bright spot was the continued excellence of RJ Barrett, who scored 27 points on 9-13 shooting.
Recap to come. Embarrassing stuff.