NEW YORK – Despite helping his team engineer an impressive comeback after trailing the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden Thursday night, the attacking star was 25 points behind. Julius Randle not happy.
In the middle of the fourth quarter, Randle tossed the ball, and as he ran back to the other end of the field, he gave the selling crowd a thumbs up as they chanted his name.
When asked after the match what message he was trying to get across to the fans, Randle didn’t utter his words.
“Shut up,” he said.
Asked by a follow-up whether it was due to the boos the Knicks heard during the first two quarters of Thursday’s win, when the Celtics overtook them completely, Randle said, “I saw it. I saw what was going on out there.”
Randle’s thumbs-down gesture was reminiscent of what her short-time hiatus Javier Baez had done for the New York Mets this summer. After scoring a home goal, Baez gave the crowd at Citifield a pair of thumbs up, later saying it was in response to the fans’ treatment of him and his teammates throughout the season.
For Randell, the gesture was a continuation of comments he made the day before at the team’s training facility when asked about the negativity that has surrounded his play this season.
“I really don’t care what anyone has to say, to be honest,” Randall said. “I’m playing outside. Nobody knows the game better than me, compared to what everyone says.
“So I really don’t give away anything. I just go out there and play.”
Last season was magical for both Randall and Knicks. He became the NBA All-Star and All-Player player for the first time and won the NBA Most Improved Player award on his way to leading the Knicks to 41 wins and the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. He achieved career highs in several categories, including scoring, rebounding, assisting, 3-point field goal percentage and free throw percentage, helping New York break a seven-year drought. Knicks coach Tom Tebodeau also won the league’s Coach of the Year award for the second time.
But this year it was a lot different. Randle’s production has declined, most notably his three-point shot, which is down more than 8 percent from last season. And while the Knicks had roughly the same record at this time last season, the circumstances surrounding it are very different.
Last season, the Knicks entered the season without expectations and surpassed them all. This year, they entered the season with expectations based on fourth place last year in the East, but found themselves in 10th place in the conference – last place in the championship – after Thursday’s dramatic win.
Randle, who gave several brief answers before explaining his actions during the match, was asked if the win was special.
“I don’t know,” Randall said. “It was special for our team. But we kept fighting. Obviously we didn’t want to go into a hole, but as a team, we kept fighting and staying with him and we found a way to win the game.”
Randle has always been playing with his heart on his sleeve, and that passion has arisen at other times this season, including against Cruz Town rival Brooklyn Nets earlier this season, when he and Thibodeau were frustrated about how he took charge of the Knicks loss. .
He said, “He puts passion in everything he does.” Evan Fournier, who scored 41 points in his career against his former team and admitted that he does not see Randle’s gestures towards the fans.
“Maybe he wasn’t happy about that [the booing]. Honestly, no big deal. If I were him, I’d play hard as hell and [playing] Well… when you give all you have for something and you give too much for something and it doesn’t work out or you get called up, it’s frustrating.
“But that’s the business we’re in. And Julius is the image of the franchise. He’s the star player, so of course he’s going to come under more criticism. And I think he understands that.”
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