The New York Knicks fly to Chicago on Wednesday to face the Bulls away from home. Today’s game comes after New York’s 112-99 victory over the Kings, the fourth in a row spanning more than a week. It wasn’t all rosy last Sunday, though, with Knicks’ forward Julius Randle getting ejected from the game with 3:35 left in the third quarter.
“I just can’t put my team in that situation,” Randle said after Tuesday’s practice when asked about Sunday’s events. “I don’t want to talk about what happened, and whether it was right or wrong.”
On a positive note, Randle acknowledged that whatever the situation he finds himself in tough games, he can’t put his teammates in that situation, and that what went down—back-to-back techs leading up to his ejection—was “selfish.”
“I’ve got to be better,” Randle concluded.
Randle picked up two technical fouls after thinking he got fouled on offense, staying down on the floor for the Kings' possession after hitting the forward on the previous play. Randle chased the sideline ref, screamed his case to his face, and once given the first tech he moved on to argue with another referee leading up to the second tech in 10 seconds and an early goodbye.
“Hopefully, [the second technical foul] gets rescinded. We’ll see. I’m really trying my best,” Randle said. He then conceded, “Sometimes, my emotions get the best of me.”
This is interesting, coming from a man that, according to the New York Post and coming off a season in which he committed 12 technical fouls, “made a friendly bet ... that he would cut that number down to three this year.”
After Sunday’s back-to-back techs, Randle is already tied for the 13th-most such fouls in the NBA with four on the season.
“I already messed that up,” Randle said.
At the end of Tuesday’s practice and explaining his mental state when it comes to dealing with his emotions on the court, Randle said that he had and that he has absolutely made a conscious effort to avoid arguing with referees.
Randle conceded that he plays with “a lot of emotion, a lot of drive,” and that sometimes it gets the best of him.
Speaking about Randle’s ejection after Sunday’s game, Tom Thibodeau nearly blamed it on the rest of the Knicks instead of Randle himself, saying, “We have to do a better job of helping [Randle] walk away.”
“As a team, staff, all of us,” said Thibs. “When a guy gets frustrated, we got to make sure [to] help. Just [have] an awareness. Go grab him. It’s a dead ball.”
RJ Barrett agreed with Thibs, saying that “once someone gets one [technical], you’ve got to hold him back after that.”
On Tuesday and entering the mini-series against the Bulls (games on Wednesday and Friday), Randle also discussed his conditioning for the season saying, “This is probably the best I’ve felt, probably since my last year with Lakers,” which was back in the 2017-18 season.
Randle has appeared in 27 games this season and is currently averaging 22.3 PPG, 8.7 RPG, and 3.4 APG. In his last season in Hollywood, he averaged 16.1 points, 8.0 boards, and 2.6 dimes a pop.
Randle’s shooting, though, is below his 2018 standards with the forward currently boasting a 53.4 effective field goal percentage compared to a career-high 56.3 eFG% achieved while on the Lake Show back in the 2017-18 season.