Before RJ Barrett knocked down a high-arching three-pointer off the glass to give the Knicks the 108–105 comeback victory against the Celtics, New York had trailed by as many as 25 points and Knicks fans were booing inside Madison Square Garden.
Julius Randle did not take well to the boos. In the process of the Knicks come-from-behind win, Randle, who struggled early on in the game, had a productive second half that helped lead New York back from the deficit. But after a bucket in the fourth quarter of the win, Randle followed up the score with a thumbs down gesture to Knicks fans and an explicit message.
“Shut the f--- up,” he said when asked what the gesture meant.
Randle, who finished the game with 22 points and eight rebounds, had taken a page out of the book of crosstown star Mets shortstop Javier Báez, who celebrated with a thumbs down after the 444-foot bomb in a Mets’ 9–4 victory against the Nationals on Aug. 29.
The New York Daily News reported that Randle used a series of expletives after the team’s practice on Wednesday in his response to recent fan criticism.
“I really don’t give a f--- what anybody has to say, to be honest,” Randle told the NY Daily News. “I’m out there playing. Nobody knows the game out there better than I do, compared to what everybody has to say. So I really don’t give a s---. I just go out there and play.”
While it is evident that Randle was upset by the boos, his teammate Evan Fournier—who finished with 41 points off 15-for-25 shooting and 10-of-14 from beyond the arc—simply described Randle’s behavior as that of a player filled with a lot of emotion when he plays the game.
“He puts emotion into everything he does," Fournier said. “He probably wasn’t happy about [the booing]. Honestly, no big deal. If I were him, playing hard as hell, and he played well. So when you give everything you have into something, and you give so much into something, and it doesn’t work out, or you’re being called out, it’s frustrating.
“But it’s the business we’re in. And Julius is the image of the franchise. He’s the star player, so of course he’s going to get more criticism. And I think he understands that.”
Knicks (19–20) currently sit in the 10th spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
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