After another solid performance in the New York Knicks win over the Toronto Raptors Sunday night, SportsNite predicts when RJ Barrett will finally get the national attention and respect he deserves and preview the Knicks vs Lakers game.
- Time for Home Schooled with Ashley Nicole Moss. An 18 point lead, Ashley, turned into a four point deficit, but R.J. Barrett came up big in the clutch again. We'll get to Barrett in a minute, but are you concerned at all that, once again, the Knicks could not put away an inferior opponent?
ASHLEY NICOLE MOSS: The Knicks never make it easy. Do they ever? Yeah, I'm definitely concerned, and you couldn't get away with a team, like the Raptors, or even the Timberwolves. But you see how that game turned out.
And if you look at the numbers from this game at halftime, the Knicks were shooting 40% compared to the Raptors 31%. The Raptors, on average, can shoot around 45. By the end of the game, they were at almost 42%, which means you let them get hot.
In the third quarter, you saw it. The ball movement was there, but the Knicks were just not shooting well. But they were allowing the Raptors to get comfortable to do so. They were allowing them wide, open court.
They weren't contesting shots. It just was sloppy basketball, and again, you can get away with a team, like the Raptors, who are dealing with their own issues internally. This is a far cry from the Raptors that Kawhi Leonard was a part of that won that championship, but you're not going to get so lucky with a team, like the Lakers. You're not going to get so lucky with a team, like Brooklyn or the 76ers. And you just can't make these sloppy errors, especially when you have a double digit lead.
- The good thing, though, is they still come out with a W, and now, to Barrett, Ashley. It seems like we talk about him, especially in the clutch, every night. When will he, finally, get the respect nationally that he deserves?
ASHLEY NICOLE MOSS: I think when the Knicks collectively start getting respect. I think it's difficult right now, because the Knicks are exceeding the expectations that many people have had for them, especially fans, media, everybody watching basketball. And R.J.'s just kind of in the mix of that. So I think people are trying to wait and see, if this is just a fluke for the Knicks, or this is really the trajectory of what this team is going to look like.
But R.J. Barrett deserves all the respect. He's averaging 17 points a game. He had 19 today. He's just clutch when he needs to be.
He has a mental toughness for someone that's just far older than what his 20 years of age should be. He never sees the game in just totality. He just takes it play by play. He never lets what's behind him affect him, and you see that every single time he's on that court.
- Yeah, R.J.'s definitely locked into a different zone than we've seen prior, and Monday night, it's a step up in weight class, even without LeBron and Anthony Davis. As the Lakers come to town, what do you expect in that game?
ASHLEY NICOLE MOSS: It's definitely going to be difficult, and you know, I said the other day that it was great value versus target when they faced the Brooklyn Nets. And we saw how that turned out, so it's definitely concerning. Because, if you see, the Brooklyn Nets are much better team, whether you want to agree with it or not, Kevin Durant was on that court. And they still lost.
So the Lakers, even without Anthony Davis and LeBron James, are nothing to laugh at and nothing to take not seriously. So the Knicks have to go in there with a different mindset then they went into today's game or rather on Sundays game with. Because you can't blow a lead, a double digit lead, against the Lakers, because they will capitalize off of it as we've seen.