The New York Knicks are coming off two disappointing losses to the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers. Against Brooklyn, they fell by five points but dragged the game until the final moments and had a chance to take a late lead, but star Julius Randle turned the ball over on an arguable travel. Randle was fuming after the call, stating that he lost control of the ball when Kyrie Irving hit his hands.
Julius Randle appeared to be upset after being called for a travel late in the Knicks’ loss to the Nets. pic.twitter.com/uacJSrReYC
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 16, 2021
That was the first of two consecutive losses to playoff-bound teams. Randle is undoubtedly the Knicksâ€™ best player at the moment, averaging 23 points per game over 36.8 minutes, leading the team in both categories. His primary issue, he hasnâ€™t been clutch when given the ball in the final moments, which is something the Knicks desperately need assistance in.
Against the 76ers, in which New York fell 99-96, they forced the ball to guard Immanuel Quickley, who didnâ€™t hesitate to launch up a three-pointer which corralled off the rim and went to waste. Quickley, who has been a revelation for the Knicks this season and projects as a potential future point guard for the team, was finally given an opportunity to come up clutch. The problem is, the team canâ€™t find that one clutch player to finish off games and score when they need it most. While that could end up being Quickley in the future, he doesnâ€™t have that part of his game refined yet.
Having the confidence and motivation to go out and knock down shots at the end of the game is something New York has lacked since Carmelo Anthony departed. If you look across the league, players like Steph Curry, Damian Lillard, LeBron James, and Kawhi Leonard, they all have the instinct and clutch gene.
Of course, they are all bonafide superstars, something the Knicks lack at this current point in time. The expectation is that New York will attract a star in free agency next year to pair with Randle, and hopefully, it is an elite shooter who can knock down shots when it matters most. The Knicks were extremely close to walking away with two wins against elite teams, and losing by a small margin still displays a sense of positivity and momentum moving forward.