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Julius Randle after loss to Nets: “We weren’t ready for some reason”

Must have been something, indeed.

New York Knicks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

After beating the Cleveland Cavaliers at MSG. After dealing with the Celtics on the road. After all of that... the New York Knicks (27-24) visited their neighbors from Brooklyn (30-19) and dropped a stinker ending in a 122-115 result in regulation at Barclays Center.

It’s the ninth time in a row that the Nets have defeated the Knicks, going all the way back to those good old times when he didn’t have a clue what COVID meant. It was, also, one more W in both Kevin Durant (who missed yesterday’s affair) and Kyrie Irving’s columns vs. NYK—and the record is now sitting at 11-2 since they joined the Brooklyn-based organization ditching New York on their way to Flatbush & Atlantic.

We can deal with this very quickly.

The Nets shot 40 times beyond the three-point arc. The Knicks did so on 28 occasions. The Nets hit nylon in 22 of those attempts. The Knicks did so just 10 times through the game. For those keeping score at home, that’s 66 points to 30 just on three-point shots alone. Story of the game, and the game is history.

“It’s Kyrie Irving, man. He’s gonna make those shots. We had to try to get the ball out of his hands as much as we can, but it wasn’t like he was getting easy layups or anything. He really made some tough shots. So, tip your hat off to him,” RJ Barrett conceded after all was said and done after yesterday’s game.

Of course, the most fanatic Knickerbocker fan out there will tell you that New York shot 51% from the floor (yay!) but, I mean, Brooklyn hit 55% of their treys and nearly 53% of all shots they took on Saturday. Just saying.

At least the Knicks won the free-throw battle 15 to 8, I gues...

Kyrie stopped hitting buckets after reaching 32 points. Of course, it was too late for the Knicks to do anything by then. And even earlier in the game, as New York got buried down 19 in the middle of the third.

“I don’t really know what you’re supposed to do,” added Barrett.

“We weren’t good,” said Julius Randle. “Closing out. Sense of urgency. None of that. We have to be better.”

Now, if we’re honest, the Knicks actually had a chance. They cooked themselves a 15-2 run cutting the Nets’ lead to just seven. Later, already in the fourth period, the distance separating both teams on the scoreboard got down to a measly three points after Quentin Grimes tipped one in with three minutes left to make it 105-108.

That was it for the Bockers, sadly, as Brooklyn went on to dump 15 pops to New York’s 10 in those ticks of the clock with Irving going supernova and dumping nine points in that brief span of time.

“I love beating the Knicks and playing against them,” Irving said. “Nothing personal.”

All Nets starters scored at least 13 points while pulling down at least one rebound and dishing out two or more dimes each, too. On the Knicks, Randle led the way with a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double to go with eight dimes and a theft.

Randle, though, had one of his classic good-not-great, empty-calories packed-stat-line type of outings. He shot 1-of-6 from three-point range, hit just 7-of-16 shots overall, and committed a game-high three turnovers.

“Losing bothers me, so no matter how many in a row (against the Nets) it’s been, it bothers me,” Jalen Brunson said.

The Knicks' point guard contributed the most points with 26 while Barrett added 24 to make it 50 overall between both faces of the franchise alone.

Jericho Sims got another start with Mitchell Robinson out and went a perfect three-for-three from the field on his way to getting a low six points and 10 rebounds, evenly splitting them into defensive and offensive efforts grabbing five of each variety.

The dimes went dry, though, with New York only getting 19 assisted buckets to Brooklyn's 31, though the Knicks clearly outrebounded the Nets winning the glass battle 45 to 35. Not that the latter squad wanted or needed any of that.

“I thought offensively we were fine, but we got in a hole early and we didn’t cover the line as well as we could have or should have,” coach Tom Thibodeau said after the game.

The Nets went down 1-0 to start Saturday’s matchup. Royce O’Neale made a three-pointer after that. The clock was reading 10:53 when that shot went through the rim. That was it for the Knicks when it came to holding possession of the lead, which Brooklyn never relinquished after that swish.

You wouldn’t believe it, but the Nets announced Ben Simmons’ unavailability right before the game and Thibodeau acknowledged after it was all over that he “don’t know if we weren’t quite ready” and that Simmons’ absence “threw the game plan off kilter.”

Just in case you’ve gotten lost, we’re recapping a National Basketball Association game here, which involves professional workers—coaches and players—doing it at the highest levels of their profession. Or so one would assume...

“There were a lot of moving parts because we didn’t know who was in or out,” said Thibodeau referring to Ben missing Saturday’s game. “So we knew the personnel would change and we would change who was on the floor with different groupings.”

Alas. Back to MSG for a four-game homestand in which the New York Knicks will host the Lakers, the Heat, the Clippers, and the Sixers. Quite the gauntlet, isn’t it? Ask NBA offices about Rivalry Week.

Next tip-off comes Tuesday, Jan. 31, to cap January off with the Lake Show arriving in Manhattan and scheduled to play basketball against your Knickerbockers from 7:30 PM EST on.