RJ Barrett’s shooting woes continue in return to Knicks’ lineup from illness

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RJ Barrett’s 108-game streak against the Bulls came to an end on Thursday, and although Barrett returned from a non-COVID-19 illness on Saturday, he continued his run of poor 3-point shooting. did not end.

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In the Knicks’ 113-99 loss to the Nuggets at the Garden, Barrett shot just 1-for-7 from 3-point range and finished with 13 points (5-for-13 overall).

Barrett, who played all 72 games in 2020-21 and the first 21 of this season, was not 100 percent but said he is good enough to play. Against the Nets on Tuesday, Barrett only played the first seven minutes, and it was ugly.

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“I was messed up. At the Brooklyn game, I kept running back and throwing,” Barrett said. “Then I came back out and tried to play, throwing again. So, I had to take it off for a few days, and [I] feel much better I don’t know what it was. Whatever it is, it’s gone.”

RJ Barrett was just 5-13 off the field against the Nuggets.
Robert Sabo

Barrett hasn’t put his finger on the cause of his 13-game shooting slump. He is hitting only 23 percent of his 3-pointers in that period. Earlier, he had a scintillating five-game run to score more than 20 points.

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“No idea,” said Barrett. “I think especially – at the beginning of the year, when a team is trying to figure itself out, just figuring out the shots that I’m going to get with this team with new players during the game And I think I kinda figured it out now.

“I’m just working on shots that I know I’ll get and some other shots, but I’ve shot for fun before. I’m really not too worried about it.”

Barrett isn’t too concerned about Garden as the Knicks fall 5-8 at home.

“I’ve heard worse,” said Barrett. “My rookie year [2019-20] Too bad, no. Every team has games like this or a few games during the season, so don’t worry too much about it. We have to fight now.”


Nikola Jokic (32 points) chats with Spike Lee and says there is something about Garden that brings out his best.

Knicks
Nikola Jokic speaks with Spike Lee during the Knicks’ blowout loss to the Nuggets.
AP

“I think it’s a really good field,” Jokic said. “It’s like I always play well here. I’m grateful for that. I love something here. I don’t know what it is.”


The Knicks trailed by 30 points with 9:00 left, but that didn’t stop coach Tom Thibodeau from courting Julius Randall for the final 7:30. Randall was joined by main rotations Derrick Rose and Evan Fournier.

Since Jokic had already been fired by Denver coach Mike Malone, it was another curious move by Thibodeau to not play some end-of-bench guys like Kevin Knox. In defense of Thibodeau, he had rogue shooting guard Quentin Grimes.

Thibodeau explained that he wanted to see the long form of Randall and Obie Toppin in alignment with a short ball. Not surprisingly, the Knicks pulled off the deficit and wound up losing by only 14 points.

“We put Julius with Obi at five, and we were just trying to find something,” Thibodeau said. “When you get down the way we’re down, you’re looking for. I thought Quentin gave us a good minute [in the fourth], I like the way he played. He worked hard, played both sides of the ball.


Denver (11-11) was missing three players due to COVID-19: ex-Nick Austin Rivers, who had a feud with Thibodeau last season, Bol Bol and Bones Highland. The Nuggets were also missing Jamal Murray (rehab from a torn ACL) and Michael Porter Jr. (back surgery). … Knicks center Nerlens Noel returned from a knee sprain and the team’s worst was a minus -24.

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