The New York Knicks were privately worried about Julius Randle, thinking they didn’t have anybody who could stop his bull-in-a-china-shop style of play.
They didn’t have to be concerned Sunday, it turned out.
Randle had a rough day, scoring six points on three-for-12 shooting as the Lakers lost to the Knicks, 99-95.
In a telling sign of accountabiltiy, the biggest critic of the young power forward was none other than Julius Randle.
“I made some bone-headed plays down the stretch,” he said quietly while sitting at his locker.
He took an ill-advised step-back three-point shot with 2 minutes 24 seconds to play and the Lakers ahead by one point. That was bad, no doubt, for a player who hadn’t taken one all season.
“That was, to me, a little bit of a mental lapse,” Coach Byron Scott said. “But I thought he played OK.”
Randle was also unhappy about the foul he committed on Kristaps Porzingis after the Knicks rookie took a rebound with 1:20 to play. Porzingis made both free throws to give the Knicks a six-point lead.
“It was unnecessary,” Randle said.
Randle has withdrawn enough from the bank of potential to entice Lakers followers. He had 22 points and 15 rebounds a week earlier against Dalls forward Dirk Nowitzki.
And on Sunday, he filled the lane aptly on a fastbreak and dunked a perfect D’Angelo Russell bounce pass.
On another play, though, he shot the ball off the side of the backboard after taking a pass from Jordan Clarkson.
Scott tried to pump him up.
“He defended pretty well, ran the floor, did all the little things that we want him to do. He’ll keep growing,” he said.
Derek Fisher’s opinion
Scott was “professional, stoic in a lot of ways” but willing to share veteran advice when Derek Fisher was a rookie with the Lakers in 1996-97, Fisher said.
It was the same season Scott concluded his playing career with the Lakers.
Fisher, now the Knicks’ coach, revealed a little-known fact about the rookie’s deference to the veteran back then.
“I originally was going to wear No. 4 and since he came back to play that year, I had to switch to No. 2,” Fisher said. “So he changed the course of history … for me.”
Some of Fisher’s rookie trading cards show him wearing No. 4.
Their value was “maybe 62 cents,” Fisher said jokingly.
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