Julius Randle left without speaking to the media after being benched in the 4th quarter of Game 4. Is this a big deal for the Knicks moving forward?
It’s safe to say that Madison Square Garden was an absolute madhouse this past weekend. Knicks fans had the joy of watching their team defend home court and take a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Cavaliers. From their dominant defensive performance to their clutch shot making on the offensive end, the Knicks clicked on all cylinders. They made the necessary adjustments in both games to secure both wins. One of the adjustments was benching a struggling Julius Randle in the 4th quarter of Game 4.
Which is something that he didn’t seem pleased with due to the fact that he left before addressing the media after the win.
Now, was it the right call for Tom Thibodeau to stick with the lineup he had down the stretch of that game? Absolutely. With Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett leading the way, the Knicks made key plays on both ends and fed off the energy of the crowd. On the other hand, before the 4th quarter, Randle only had 7 points while shooting 3-10 from the field. In situations like this, you have to stay with the lineup that’s giving you the best production which Thibodeau did. This is a big reason why the Knicks were able to pull away with the win.
Even though this is the case, Randle leaving early is not a good sign especially after a thrilling win like that.
Time to Focus!
Recently, Randle addressed the media and said he didn’t have an issue with the benching. Ultimately, whether he did have an issue with it or didn’t, it’s something that the Knicks should try to monitor and keep an eye on. With Randle being one of the leaders on this team, you do not want this to be a distraction for the team moving forward; especially during the postseason. The Knicks are in the position to win their first playoff series in a decade and have a lot of momentum on their side. Plus, with this series not being over, they need everyone to be focused on the task at hand.
Just like Jalen Brunson stated after Game 4’s win, there’s nothing to celebrate. The job is not finished.
In the end, I think this is something that Julius Randle can leave in the past and move on from. Maybe he was in the heat of the moment and was just upset about not making his imprint on the game. It’s playoff time. Everyone wants to make their presence felt. Maybe a talk with Coach Thibodeau should smooth things over but this situation needs to be left in the past to limit distractions.
The Knicks will have a chance to close out the series this Wednesday in Cleveland. We’ll see if the Knicks can keep this momentum going.