Sports Update 

Knicks continues to free fall after Julius Randle loses his cool

March 11, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randel (30) shoots the ball over Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the first quarter at Arena. Mandatory credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks offense has petered out in the absence of Jalen Bronson.

Their remaining superstar Julius Randle struggled offensively, his frustrations boiled over in a lack of momentum technical foul that allowed the Los Angeles Clippers to run away with a 106-95 win Saturday.

The Knicks’ third straight loss dropped them to sixth in the Eastern Conference behind close rivals the Brooklyn Nets (38-29).

Without Bronson’s calm leadership, Randle relapsed again, with his feelings getting the best of him as he did last season.

The Knicks came to a head in the fourth quarter on top when Randle blew his top.

He intentionally elbowed Clippers senior backup Mason Plumley in a rebound fight to express his frustration at not getting calls on his previous drive. Instead of leading by one point, the Knicks trailed by two as the Clippers hit three free throws, two from a loose ball and one from a technical foul, with 0.3 seconds left in the third quarter.

Randle had to be restrained, and it took Knicks assistant head coach Johnny Bryant to calm down the emotional All-Star forward, who appeared to have a shouting match with a bench crew while reviewing the play.

“sometimes [Randle] They can get frustrated, but it’s an emotional game,” said New York coach Tom Thibodeau. “So keep playing.”

But the Nicks stopped playing beautiful music together after Randall’s breakdown.

The Clippers opened the fourth quarter with a score of 8-0 and were not seriously threatened.

Randle scored 19 points, but missed 19 of 24 shots and committed five errors. RJ Barrett was only good at scoring 11 points on 12 shots and was the team’s worst minus 21.

On the other hand, Clippers superstars have emerged and raised their game when it mattered.

Kawhi Leonard scored 28 of his 38 points in the second half, while Paul George scored 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Clippers’ third straight victory.

Emmanuel Kwekley bounced back from two consecutive sub-par games with 26 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. But his efforts weren’t enough to lift the Knicks, who didn’t reach 100 points for the first time since their season-changing 92-81 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on December 4.

Against the Clippers’ playoff-type defense, the Knicks only managed 35.4 percent of their shots and made only seven of 31 three-point attempts. Despite their awful shooting, they kept the game close until Randle collapsed by dominating the boards (54-39), running in transition (19-9 fastbreak points), and getting to the free throw line (24-of-27).

The veteran officiating crew led by Bill Kennedy fired just 37 errors during a physical encounter, and the Knicks had only 17.

In the end, Leonard’s shot-making made the biggest difference.

The two-time NBA Finals MVP went 14-for-22 from the floor, including 3-of-6 from downtown. He also made 7 of 7 perfect free throws.

Bronson missed his seventh game of the season with a bruised left foot. Nicks misses him so much. He’s listed day in and day out, but it’ll be hard to claim him back once Sunday against the rookie Los Angeles Lakers, winners of their last three games, even though LeBron James is still on the walk with a tendon injury.

Another loss would bring the Knicks closer to the playoffs than a dream home advantage in the playoffs.

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