Knicks’ huge road playoff win came with one massive problem

New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

The New York Knicks did it, getting their first Game 1 road win since 1999, taking down the Cleveland Cavaliers, 101-97. This was easily the best game of the first day of playoffs as it truly went down to the wire.

There were many standout performances from both teams, with multiple players stepping up when it mattered most. Despite this, one player for the Knicks stood out in all the wrong ways possible.

RJ Barrett had the chance to prove his doubters wrong entering this game. However, he did the exact opposite, arguably being the biggest reason this game was as close as it was. To keep it simple, the Knicks needed him to play well. And boy, he sure didn’t.

RJ Barrett struggled mightily in Game 1, causing Knicks fans to worry

Coming off the heels of a disappointing season, Knicks fans were hoping for RJ Barrett to potentially step up in the playoffs and help lead New York past the first round. However, Barrett not only struggled in Game 1, but he was flat-out awful.

In 31 minutes of play, Barrett scored just seven points, dished out six assists, and grabbed four steals, shooting 2-of-12 from the field and 1-of-5 from beyond the arc. Barrett did make some nice passes throughout the game, but there were just far too many moments where he seemingly had no purpose on the floor.

If not for Josh Hart stepping up as he did, this game very easily could have gone in the other direction. At the same time, a player like Hart shouldn’t need to carry the Knicks. Instead, the team’s former third overall pick should be the one to make the difference.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Barrett to death, but this is just getting ridiculous. It’s year four now, and it’s painful watching all of these players either from Barrett’s draft class or those who are even younger than him succeed whilst he has yet to put together a consistent season in the NBA.

We still have faith in Barrett, but games like this in the playoffs are inexcusable. There’s still plenty of time for him to turn things around in this series. However, Game 1 was far from promising in terms of how he played.