Knicks' RJ Barrett says 'don't sleep on us' heading into 2022

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  • New York Knicks
    New York Knicks
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  • RJ Barrett
    RJ Barrett
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RJ Barrett solo white jersey close up
RJ Barrett solo white jersey close up

Following the Knicks' 95-80 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night, RJ Barrett spoke about the team's mindset heading into 2022.

The Knicks fell to 17-19 with the loss, and are currently the No. 10 seed in the Eastern Conference. Barrett said the team is going to keep fighting and do everything they can to get back on the winning track.

"You know I think don't sleep on us," Barrett said. "I think we're working our way back. Kind of just like every other team, we've had a lot of guys in and out. I think that we're going to keep grinding, we're going to keep pushing. No matter what we're not going to give up. Don't sleep on us."

With Julius Randle out due to health and safety protocols, Barrett led the team with 26 points on 10-of-20 shooting over 36 minutes of action. He also chipped in seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals.

Rookie Miles "Deuce" McBride scored seven points in 24 minutes, and got his first start as Kemba Walker was also out with a sore knee. Barrett then talked about leading the offense and helping McBride along the way.

"I'm just trying to play, I'm just trying to play whatever the game dictates," Barrett said. "I'm always going to be aggressive. Especially with Deuce coming in the starting lineup, I told him before the game I'm there with him, I'm going to help him out as much as I can."

Randle has struggled a bit this season compared to his 2020-21 All-Star season, averaging 19.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game. Barrett said the team is going to have to step up in Randle's absence, but added there are plenty of guys on the roster ready to play.

"Yeah it's different, it's different not having him there," Barrett said. "You can rely on 20 and 10 from him every night. We're going to have to make up for that. We have guys, we have guys, and guys are ready to play. I feel like we're going to regroup and come out a lot better next game."

Barrett struggled shooting from deep against OKC, going just 1-of-8 from three-point range. The Knicks as a team shot a troubling 8-of-41 (19.5 percent) from three, while the Thunder went 10-of-43 (41.9 percent) from beyond the arc. Alec Burks was the only Knick to make two three-pointers in the loss.

"Man, happens, happens sometimes," Barrett said. "I think there was a night we made like 24 or 25 threes, tonight we only made eight of them. It happens. I'm sure we'll knock them down next game."