New York Knicks: Julius Randle needs to find his way in Game 2

New York Knicks Julius Randle. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
New York Knicks Julius Randle. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The New York Knicks need Julius Randle to reemerge for Game 2. 

As much as Madison Square Garden was rocking in Game 1, New York Knicks fans left the arena in heartbreak. The Atlanta Hawks defeated the Knicks after a Trae Young floater with 0.9 seconds remaining.

A hard-fought battle-tested matchup has many NBA fans anticipating how the rest of this series will pan out. Heading into Game 2, head coach Tom Thibodeau will go back to the drawing boards as he must scramble to get back on track.

Trae Young was one of the biggest stories in Game 1. But for Knick fans, the concern revolves around their MVP-caliber player Julius Randle. In his first playoff performance, Randle shot a horrific 6-23 from the field and only scored 15 points for the contest.

The New York Knicks are in a must-win situation heading into Game 2

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Luckily, the Knicks got big contributions from their bench, including a 27-point night from Alec Burks to keep afloat. Randle’s performance in game one is certainly what he wants to put behind him and focus on Game 2.

The nervousness of Randle showed in Game 1. I’m not sure if the playoff atmosphere got to him, but he did not come out aggressive as was expected. Randle had many great open looks on the perimeter but wasn’t able to convert the majority of the time. The problem with Randle wasn’t the fact that he couldn’t knock down shots, but his inability to become a decision-maker on the court.

Besides Randle’s scoring and rebounding, he was excellent at setting teammates up during the regular season. When the shots are not falling, it is up to Randle to figure another way to impact the game.

For those who watched Randle in his regular-season matchups against the Hawks, he was a man amongst boys and highlighted some career performances. In their first matchup on January 4, Randle had a monster 28-point, 17-rebound performance in a five-point victory. He would carry it over a month later with a season-high 44 point performance. Randle has had his way with the Hawks through this season.

Except now in the playoffs, Hawks head coach Nate MacMillan has found a new scheme to keep Randle from going on a scoring tear.

Heading into Game 2, Randle must play with a chip on his shoulder and set the tone for the rest of the series. Him being aggressive with shot-taking and playmaking can go a long way throughout the contest.

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The Knicks already let a game slip on their home floor Sunday night in Game 1. It will become a difficult situation if they travel to Atlanta for Game 3 down 2-0.