Knicks’ Big 3 biggest reason for Game 2 playoff loss with disheartening effort

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
New York Knicks forward Julius Randle Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

Following an incredible Game 1 win on the road, the Knicks couldn’t replicate the same success in Game 2, losing 107-90. While on paper, this final score may not seem like the end of the world, watching the game told an entirely different story.

The Knicks put on a hilariously pathetic offensive display and showed a lot of their flaws. Not only could the Knicks not get anything going offensively, but their defense was porous throughout the entire game.

A big reason for this was because of the poor play from the Knicks’ Big 3 of RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, and Jalen Brunson. These three were all disappointing in their own ways and share the blame for New York’s loss.

Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle, RJ Barrett all collapse in Knicks’ Game 2 loss

Before we talk about the Knicks’ Big 3, it’s worth noting that really no one lived up to their expectations. As a team, the Knicks shot 36.7% from the field and 24.1% from three on 29 attempts.

Despite how poorly the whole team played, the Knicks’ top players are held to a much higher standard than the rest of the roster, making their horrendous play much more disastrous to the team’s chances of success.

We’ll start by talking about Randle, who was flat-out awful on both sides of the ball this game. In 33 minutes of action, Randle scored 22 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished out an assist, however, he shot 8-of-20 from the field, 3-of-7 from three, and had six turnovers.

Randle was a black hole offensively, having far too many possessions in which he would be guarded by more than one man in the paint and would refuse to pass out. This sort of play is the exact opposite of what the Knicks need from Randle and it cannot keep up.

As for Barrett, he had yet another rough game, scoring 14 points on 13 shots and not doing much of anything else. While he had some flashes of solid defense, his bad screen navigation killed him several times throughout the game.

We’re two games into the series now and Barrett has been borderline unplayable in both of them. Whether he receives fewer minutes or is straight-up benched, Tom Thibodeau needs to make some sort of change to how Barrett is played.

Lastly, we have arguably the most disappointing player from this game in the form of Brunson, who had a fantastic Game 1 performance. However, instead of following this game up with similar statistical output, Brunson played rather poorly.

Through 33 minutes, Brunson scored 20 points on 5-of-17 shooting from the field and 1-of-8 shooting from deep while also dishing out six assists and grabbing five rebounds. Brunson is supposed to be the Knicks’ most consistent player offensively yet he failed to be the guy for New York in a key game.

Entering Game 3 at home, the Knicks cannot afford for these guys to play the way they did on Tuesday. Fans expect better out of these three and for them to be so disappointing is worrisome for the potential future of this team.