Up 13 points with three minutes left in the fourth quarter, the New York Knicks failed to score a single point down the stretch, allowing the Chicago Bulls to put themselves in the conversation. Coming down to the wire, Julius Randle missed two free throws, allowing Chicago to win the game down just one point.
However, veteran DeMar DeRozan didnâ€™t anticipate having third-year guard RJ Barrett directly in his face attempting to take a shot for the win. DeRozan gave Barrett a fake shot look, but RJ stayed on his feet and waited for the second attempt, inching a little bit closer to his ultimate goal of being an All-Defensive player.
â€œHonestly, the biggest part Iâ€™ve been trying to work on is my defense. I want to be first-team all defense, I want to be (a top defender), I want to be that guy for this team. So just looking at (my defense).â€
Barrett didnâ€™t only provide stellar defense in the Knicks’ fourth victory of the season, he also contributed fantastic offenses, scoring 20 points, shooting 53% from the field. He did most of his damage in the paint, disrupting the interior and attacking Chicagoâ€™s defenders. Rather than acting as a spot shooter in the corner, hunting for three-pointers, he got more aggressive and pursued the rim instead, drawing several foul opportunities.
RJ displayed something special in this victory, a combination of quality defense and offense, which was expected going into his third season. If the Canadian-born player can develop and reach his potential, the Knicks will be sitting on a gold mine of talent.
The shooting guard was asked this week about his slow start, indicating that heâ€™s the type of guy that never quits, and he will begin to show his progression at some point.
â€œI donâ€™t know why, third year in a row I started like this. But Iâ€™m a guy that I never give up, I never quit. Godâ€™s blessed me with that ability.â€
Clearly, Barrett has put his early seasons struggles behind him, displaying his talents against a red-hot Bulls team.