The New York Knicks are in the middle of a tough West Coast trip right now, having lost their last two games of the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns. They are preparing to take on the LA Clippers and the Lakers in the coming days, but the Knicks must find a way to forget about their most recent games, especially a hostile and aggressive loss to Phoenix on Friday evening.
The Knicks held a commanding lead in the third quarter but allowed Phoenix to make a comeback and emerge victorious, being outscored 38-17 in the fourth. While Julius Randle scored 24 points and shot 50% from the field, their three-point percentage was degraded compared to recent games. The squad finished with a 34.4% success rate from beyond the arc, while the Suns hit on 43.9% of their attempts. They desperately missed rookie Immanuel Quickley and Alec Burks in that category, as the seven additional three-point shots the Suns hit were just about the difference in score at the end of the game.
However, this game got a bit zesty at times, especially with Randle and Suns power forward Jae Crowder, who got tangled up at the bottom of the basket at one point. Randle is known for having a hot-head at times and occasionally lashes out at players or even referees for inadequate calls and actions. Both Randle and Crowder got in each otherâ€™s faces, proceeding to clash, landing Julius a technical foul.
After the game, Julius had select words for Crowder, stating his frustration and how Crowder handles his trash talking.
Per Stefan Bondy:
â€œHeâ€™s [Jae Crowder] just a frontrunner. He didnâ€™t say a word in the first half. They were down and they tied the game up and he got a stop on me and wanted to say something. Thatâ€™s just who he is. Everybody in the league knows it. But Iâ€™m not worried about him.â€
At the end of the day, Crowder has helped Phoenix become one of the toughest teams in the Western Conference, and he has played a big part in their success this season. While his actions can be a bit abrasive, Randle needs to temper his reactions and ignore the trash talk. The postseason will only be worse and more intense.