After what was clearly a disappointing first half, the Knicks’ teammate Evan Fournier and Julius Randle had a heated conversation on the way back to the Garden.
Both veteran players acknowledged following the Knicks’ 119-115 loss to the Bulls that they had a disagreement before clearing the air at halftime.
“I just saw something and the biggest thing is communication, I can’t let things stay in and be frustrated. I’ve got to talk to my teammates,’ Randle said. “I think the biggest thing is, you saw that interaction, and it looks like we’re arguing, whatever it was.
“We went to the locker room, talked it out. We say regardless at the end of the day we’ve got each other’s back and we’re in this together. That’s important. … You can have differences. It’s possible to communicate, talk, and share what you see in court. But at the end of the day we’ve got to know that we’re riding with each other regardless. I think that was very clear communication between us, between all of us.”
Fournier and Randle led the Knicks to recover from an 18-point deficit at halftime to take the lead. However, they were unable to hold the lead for long enough to fall to.500 (11-11), their lowest point total of the season.
“It was a disagreement over I think the last defensive play about the double [team] and the rebounding,” Fournier said. “It was just frustration. However, I believe the secret was communication.
“I would rather have that than not saying anything and hold grudges and stuff. So, stuff like that happens all the time and I’m glad it happened, because we played much better in that third quarter.”
The illness that sent RJ Barrett to the locker room in the second quarter of Tuesday’s loss in Brooklyn also kept him sidelined Thursday night.
Barrett was the Knicks’ only remaining player who played in 72 of their games last season. However, Barrett missed this year’s game due to what the team calls a non COVID-related illness. Jericho Sims (rookie center) was also excluded.
Nerlens’ Noel, who had played in five of the team’s previous games with sore knees, was again out for the season. The 6-foot-11 center also had missed 12 of the team’s first 16 games in two stints with knee issues.
Kevin Knox, the 2018 first round pick in the first round of the NBA Draft, played almost four minutes during the second quarter before he made his first 3-pointer for the season. He’d totaled three points over his previous four appearances this season.