New York Knicks fans are considered among the most knowledgable of the lot in the NBA. Expecting them to have a short memory would be highly unlikely.
The Knicks’ game against the Spurs on Monday night was their first game back home after hosting the Celtics last Thursday, a game New York won courtesy of a game-winning triple at the buzzer by RJ Barrett.
However, an interesting subplot coming out of the game was headlined by Julius Randle and his ‘thumbs-down’ gesture to the team’s faithful after a bucket late in the game.
While he was still fiery postgame and sort of defended his actions, he later apologized and was even fined $25,000 by the league.
It was still fresh in the minds of Knicks fans and they responded Monday night.
Knicks fans boo Randle off the floor
Although New York registered a 111-96 victory, it was a forgettable 34-minute outing for Randle. He only finished with two points, going 1-of-7 from the field while also recording 12 rebounds and three assists.
He eventually checked out of the game with 3:49 remaining in the game as the Knicks were up by 24. As he headed to the bench, the crowd’s reaction wasn’t exactly warm.
Knicks win but Julius Randle situation only gets worse. His night ended with a frustration foul and a beeline to the bench, with the crowd booing and then chanting for his replacement, Obi Toppin.
Randle scored just two points. It was his lowest output as a Knick.
— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) January 11, 2022
“First of all, it’s devastating when it first happens,” Clyde Frazier said of getting booed on the MSG broadcast.
“So Randle, I thought did the right thing. He apologized to the fans. And it’s a revelation when you play in the World’s Most Famous Arena. If you don’t perform, you’re going to hear about it. Last season he got all kudos and was rewarded handsomely as well. He just has to go on the court and play his game.”
Postgame, the Knicks’ head coach was diplomatic in his response.
“It’s a long season. We love our fans. Our fans are fantastic,” Tom Thibodeau said. “There’s an appreciation for them. But along with it, there’s gonna praise; there’s gonna be criticism, and don’t get wrapped up in either.”
The outburst from the Knicks fans comes following Randle’s struggles this season especially offensively. With each game, his performance last season is looking like an outlier rather than a trend headed upwards.
After averaging 24.1 points on shooting splits of 45.6 percent from the field and 41.1 percent from beyond the arc, he’s only producing 19.5 points on splits of 41.9 percent from the field and 31.6 percent from 3-point land this season.
There’s certainly more to this developing story between Randle and the fans, so stay tuned as the Knicks play five of their next six games at home at Madison Square Garden.