‘I Don’t Know What They’re Watching’ | Julius Randle’s Criticism Of Refs Is A Bad Look For Knicks

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 30: Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks gets fouled during game against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on November 30, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Michelle Farsi/Getty Images)

The Brooklyn Nets beat their cross-town rivals the New York Knick — for the fourth straight time — 112-110 on Tuesday, Nov. 30. The Knicks’ Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson each picked up a foul late that according to the team changed the outcome of the game.

Randle drew a technical for arguing a non-call with the officials.

“Got to ask them,” Randle said of the officiating crew of Scott Foster, Mark Lindsay and Jason Goldenberg. “I don’t know what they’re watching or what they’re seeing. As aggressive as I played, attacking the paint, I can’t be penalized for just being stronger than people. And that is an answer that I got today.”

Knicks’ head coach Tom Thibodeau pointed out the glaring discrepancy in free throw attempts. The Nets went to the free throw line 25 times, while the Knicks managed only 12 trips.

“I want to watch the film but … something’s not right,” Thibodeau said. “I don’t know [why]. I don’t know. I am watching what is going on both ways. [The Nets] are a good team. They played well. But I know Julius is driving that ball pretty darn hard.
“And I’m pissed.”

Tuesday’s game was a back-and-forth affair; there were 10 lead changes in the fourth quarter alone. Emotions are always going to run high after a tough loss to a rival team.

ESPN’s chief talking head Stephen A. Smith was fired up after the game and lamented Randle’s technical foul.

The Barclays Center crowd was about a 50-50 split in terms of rooting interest. Tough beat for the Nets, who have the better team with more accomplished superstar players but have yet to gain traction and a significant fan base in Brooklyn.

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Randle heard MVP chants, though they were drowned out quickly.

The reality is the Knicks have been in New York for 75 years. They have fans that span generations, and they are firmly established in the NYC basketball culture.

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The Nets as a franchise have only existed for 54 years and were once the New York Americans, then the New York Nets in the ABA playing on Long Island. They then moved across the river and became the New Jersey Nets, and in 2012 relocated to Brooklyn.

In all those years there wasn’t a lot of sustained success and the franchise struggled to build a fan base. No matter where their home arena was, a popular visiting team always brought in more fans.

Knicks fans are louder, more passionate, and have the numbers. As a crew they resonate within basketball culture. Bing bong.

The Nets are still chasing that, and, barring a lengthy sustained period of excellence, they will be forever.

As far as the past few seasons Brooklyn has been the superior team. They’ve made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons, and the additions of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden signify a championship push.

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The Knicks exceeded expectations last season and made the playoffs and were soundly beaten by the Atlanta Hawks in the first round. They have a ways to go before they can talk about title aspirations.

This really isn’t much of a rivalry except for the fact that they play in the same city. Both teams have never been good at the same time. They’ve only faced off three times in the postseason, the most recent in 2004, a Nets 4-0 sweep in round one.

The Nets swept the regular season series last year. These two NYC teams will play each other three more times this season, so there is plenty of time to win the season series and gain bragging rights.

Let’s hope these teams match up in the playoffs not only this year but for the next few. Then we can talk rivalry.


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