1: Hit your free throws!
An NBA team that misses 12 free throws doesn’t deserve to win the game, especially against one of the top squads in the league. New York carried over its free throw woes against Boston, shooting 14-of-26 (53.8%) from the line.
The Celtics also attempted 26 free throws, except they made 22 for 84.6 percent. Considering the Knicks made eight fewer free throws, it’s surprising that they only lost by four.
Free throws have been one of RJ Barrett’s weaknesses since he was drafted in 2019, but he shot 6-of-7 from the line. The more aggressive he is, the better, especially when he isn’t a liability from the charity stripe.
Julius Randle’s rough outing included him shooting 1-of-5 from the line, which isn’t a pattern the Knicks can afford for him to continue. Mitchell Robinson getting in foul trouble limited him to 22 minutes, and he missed the two free throws he attempted.
Free throws are supposed to be free, but they are far more mentally challenging than they look. Still, New York will lose many more close games if players can’t capitalize on the shots they get at the line.