New York Knicks forward Julius Randle’s frustrations boiled over during Thursday night’s game against the Orlando Magic.
Randle’s emotional outburst seemed to stem from a play late in the second half when he appeared to have been fouled as he drove to the basket. But referees did not whistle a foul.
Randle lashed out at NBA officials and teammate Immanuel Quickley, and Randle was assessed a technical foul. It marked the third consecutive game in which Randle has been called for a technical foul.
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Quickley appeared to have interjected himself into the argument between Randle and the referees in an effort to prevent Randle from receiving a technical foul.
Randle didn’t take kindly to his teammate and had some words for Quickley. Randle was eventually pulled away from Quickley, but the teammates continued to exchange words as they approached the locker room.
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Despite rallying from a 19-point deficit at one point in the game, the Knicks lost their third straight.
After the game, Randle was not made available to speak with reporters.
Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau did speak to the media and mentioned some of the issues the team is facing.
“It’s just right now our team, just, we’re out of sorts. And so you have to pull together when you go through rough times,” Thibodeau said. “You get into things together, you get out of things together.
“So, it’s just we have to do it, do everything a lot better. And we have to be committed to doing it as a team. There’s going to be ups and downs that we have to navigate. Everyone does. And we can’t lose sight of what we’re trying to get accomplished.”
Randle’s production on the court has been up-and-down lately. He finished Monday night’s game with a career-high 57 points but followed with a 15-point night two days later in a loss to the Heat.
He scored 23 points Thursday despite shooting poorly from the field. Quickley finished the night with 25 points, starting in place of the injured Jalen Brunson.
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Quickley attempted to downplay the situation in his postgame media session.
“Honestly, everybody’s trying to win. Heat of the moment. That’s basically what it is,” Quickley said. “We all want to win. We’re all trying to get dubs.
“That’s all I can really say. Sometimes that happens. It’s part of sports, part of what it takes to be a professional athlete. It’s not just basketball. It’s other things with that. But everybody is trying to win.”
This is not the first time this season Randle has let his emotions get the best of him. During a game March 11 against the Clippers, Randle had to be physically restrained by Thibodeau.
Randle has 11 technical fouls for the season.
“There’s emotion involved, so you want the emotion to get out of it. And then sometimes when you talk, it clears the air, so that’s good,” Thibodeau said. “You allow for idiosyncrasies as long as it doesn’t get in the way of winning. Nothing can get in the way of winning. The team always has to come first. And, so, everyone’s responsible for that.”
The Knicks hold the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference standings, but their lead over the sixth-place Heat has tightened.
New York now holds just a 1.5-game lead over Miami. The Nets fell into seventh place after a 116-114 loss to the Cavaliers Thursday.