Julius Randle scored another triple-double, but he let the big three win and missed the big two.
Rand entered the Barclays Center for the first time since his teammates had to confront referee Scott Foster after the controversial game on March 15th. Rand had 19 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists. But, just like last time, even though the Knicks’ best players had the opportunity to control the ball, they still lost to the unmanned net team.
“It looks great-I practice every day,” Randall said after missing the final blow with a 114-112 loss. “It feels good, it came out of my hand and didn̵
Three weeks ago, when Randle was asked to travel, the Nets trailed 115-112. The replay showed that when Randle raised a 3-pointer, Kyrie Irving slapped the ball, but Randle never lost control of the ball. When he dropped the ball, the officials ruled that it was a trip. Two teammates prevented him from pursuing Foster after the final buzzer, but did not prevent him from turning his chair back to the locker room.
Without whistling on Monday, Randle said the sequence was not new in his mind. When his 18-foot high jump pitch shot on Jeff Green sounded to the back rim, only one horn was heard.
After the timeout, the Knicks pulled Randall away, pretended to be a screen, and retracted freely outside the arc, in exchange for an inside pass from Alec Burks.
“There were three different options in the last game, obviously he was the focus,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He has two other books that he can read. I thought he read very well.”
Irving scored 40 points and the Knicks wasted a 13-point lead in the third quarter. One of Irving’s biggest baskets, leading 100-94. This was a backward dribble that left him behind by 3 points, which made Randle miss the defensive transition.
Three minutes later, Randle and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarroot were convicted of two technical fouls after their bodies appeared.
“I really don’t know what his problem is,” Randall said. “He is not a person on the court. I was really worried during the game. He tried to give me a forearm or anything, so I took his arm from me.”
Four of Randall’s 10 career triple-doubles were for the Knicks, including three of the last 12 games. Only five players-all guards-have more franchise history. This statistic is irrelevant to the proximity loss.
“It doesn’t help me in any way,” Randall said. “Is this a win or a loss. There really is no moral victory.”
Randall had been playing with the sore thigh, making faces from pain in the last two minutes. He grabbed a defensive rebound and grabbed his right knee, but that didn’t stop him from dribbling the ball through his legs in isolation and shooting from mid-range in the next few rounds. His two free throws reduced the Knicks’ deficit to 112-109.
“I’m fine,” Randall said. “do not worry.”