If there’s one New York athlete who knows how to navigate the ups and downs with fans in the Big Apple, it’s Julius Randle.
During his Most Improved Player campaign in 2020-21, New York Knicks fans serenaded him with MVP chants.
The following year, during his matches, he heard unfamiliar boos, prompting him to give fans a thumbs down during a game.
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Randle returned to his All-Star form this season, and the Knicks were on pace to clinch a playoff spot before hitting a wall.
Coming off a nine game winning streak, they are 3-6 in their last nine.
Randle dropped 57 points in one of the losses and earned a technique in the matchup. On Thursday night, he faced not only a referee but also his teammate Immanuel Quickley.
It wasn’t his first outburst with things going wrong, either. But if the Knicks want to make a surprise run in the playoffs, Randle needs to calm down, says former Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy.
«Emotion and passion lead to a better game, but a lack of emotional control and poise lead to a lesser game», Van Gundy told the publication. «To play well in the playoffs, to play well in close, hard-fought, close games, ultimately you have to have your best players with a level of balance that leads to them being able to play through tough moments of games or a tough loss. in a playoff series and to bounce back Balance is very critical to being able to handle late-game pressure situations.
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«I think a couple of years ago in the playoffs, [Randle] I had some problems with that. I think he had to close out games this year, he had some challenges with that.»
Current head coach Tom Thibodeau is known for his tough coaching style, but Van Gundy says there’s not much Thibodeau can do in this situation. It’s up to Randle.
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«As far as what a coach can do, if this problem is going to be corrected, it’s going to be because Julius Randle wants to correct it,» Van Gundy said. «It can be sanctioned by a coach or an organization. But it can only be corrected by the player.»
The Knicks are 42-33 and rank fifth in the Eastern Conference. If the season ended today, they would face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round.