It was an infuriated New York Knicks crowd Sunday afternoon as fans had to see their team give up 145 total points to the Oklahoma City Thunder. It was the most points given up by any team this season, but perhaps the most discouraging piece of the game was the play of Knicks forward RJ Barrett.
The 2019 third-overall pick notched just four points in 2-10 tries, resulting in head coach Tom Thibodeau sitting Barrett for most of the second half. With a 6-7 record, the Knicks are still finding a way to coalesce, especially on the defensive side of the floor. Until then, rumblings of the Knicks dismissing Thibs will still be around.
For now, however, Barrett will put the loss on his shooting and effort against Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
“It falls on me for sure because I was guarding Shai, and he got me into some foul trouble,” Barrett said, per Sp. “That’s not good. I got to do a better job of not fouling. Especially the silly one in the third. So I got to do better with that, too.”
Gilgeous-Alexander came away with 37 points (his second-highest total this season) and eight assists on 59 percent (13-22) shooting from the field. The Canadian guard had his way with Barrett on both sides of the ball, but where the Knicks really lost the battle was at the paint. The Thunder outscored the Knicks 64-50, a testament to New York’s shaky defense.
“We just got behind by so much that we were just looking for life,” Thibodeau said when asked why Barrett played just two minutes of the second half. “The group that was in there gave us a little bit of a spark. So that’s what we went with.”
Whether it’s the roller coaster play of Barrett or the team slowly losing its demeanor defensively, the Knicks need to perform at a higher level before the scrutiny of the basketball media finds its way to them again.