Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Here's how David Fizdale assessed what he saw from Julius Randle on Friday night:
"He's pressing. I thought he was really pressing. He's one of our horses. I think a lot of it was just he was so hyped up for the game," Fizdale said.
Randle shot 5-for-15 in the Knicks' loss to the Nets. He had a chance to tie the game but turned it over with 11 seconds to play. He spun on Jarrett Allen in the paint and lost the ball out of bounds.
Fizdale thought fatigue might have been an issue for Randle, who had 14 points and a team-high six turnovers in 39 minutes.
"I might've played him too many minutes. Some of his plays were tired plays, I think," the coach said. "I'll go back and watch the film and see how I can help him."
Randle had 11 rebounds and four assists, but Fizdale often talks about players holding on to the ball too often on offense. Randle, from an outside view, seemed to be guilty of that transgression a few times on Friday.
Fizdale is tinkering with lineups and personnel groupings to try to find combinations that work for New York. It's an ongoing process, and an understandable one given that New York has nine new players.
The coach acknowledged on Friday night that finding a lead ballhandler has been 'difficult.'
He started Elfrid Payton at point guard on Friday; RJ Barrett finished the game as a primary playmaker with Wayne Ellington, Marcus Morris, Randle and Kevin Knox.
"We have depth, we've just got to get them all to play on the same night and get them clicking on the same night," Fizdale said. "But that's going to take time obviously. We've had three weeks together. But the fact we have the kind of grit that doesn't lay down, those are two playoff teams we lost to on the road that we had a chance to win those games."
Knox (16 points, 4-4 3PT) was phenomenal on offense. Same goes for Allonzo Trier, whose 22 points on 6-of-7 shooting helped the Knicks climb back from a 19-point deficit.
Barrett was a catalyst, handling the ball down the stretch and finishing with 16 points (6-for-17 shooting) and six steals. Barrett and Ellington helped lead the comeback, but both were on the floor when New York went scoreless in the final 3:30. The Knicks missed four shots and had two turnovers down the stretch.
"We have grit. Now we've just got to put it together with consistent play and trust," Fizdale said.
The Nets hit 15 of their first 30 3-point attempts and led by 11 heading into the fourth quarter.
Here's what Fizdale saw from the sideline: "Just a lack of cohesion. Not trusting defensively. Not executing what we wanted to execute defensively and offensively, the same thing. We weren't moving the ball, we weren't trying to get the ball to the second side of the floor. I think we had like five or six assists in the first half and ended it with I think 17. The ball moved better in the second half. We've just got to get out of that mindset that, 'I want to be the one to will it.' We've got to get a place where we're going to trust each other."
Frank Ntilikina received a DNP. It's fair to wonder if he could have helped defensively, though New York did a commendable job for most of the night against Irving. Dennis Smith Jr. missed all four is his shot attempts in four minutes on the court in the first half.
"I think he's just struggling. I've just got to figure out how to get him out of it. He's just overthinking things a little bit. But we'll figure it out," Fizdale said.