Tom Thibodeau breaks down Knicks' last two shots in 95-93 loss at Cavs

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RJ Barrett cropped 1/24/22
RJ Barrett cropped 1/24/22

Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau was honest after Monday's 95-93 loss at the Cleveland Cavaliers when asked about the team's last two shots.

New York (23-25) fell short of a fourth quarter comeback from down 15 points against the Cavs (29-19), with the first possession seeing RJ Barrett miss a catch-and-shoot triple around the five-second mark.

"The RJ one, you know, I didn't think was bad," Thibodeau said of Barrett, who led the Knicks with a game-high 24 points on 9-for-16 shooting. "We wanted to attack, open floor. He had been getting downhill pretty good. So we thought that would be a good opportunity for him, and then we may have settled for that. I want to take a look at the film."

Thibodeau delved deeper into his "settled" characterization of Barrett's 3-point attempt with the Knicks only needing a bucket or free throws down 94-93.

"Because the way he had driven the ball -- he got to the line 10 times," Thibodeau said. "You mentioned we missed some free throws, but I love the way he attacked the rim. It looked like it was a pretty clean look. If he shoots it well, it’s a clean look. In those situations you know when you drive the ball there's a lot of good things that can happen.

"You can get the and-one, you can make it, you get to the free throw line, you can have a good chance at a second shot off of it. As long as he's aggressive, I thought he was very aggressive in the second half. I liked the way he stayed with it throughout the course of the game."

Evan Mobley rebounded Barrett's missed shot but missed the second of two free throws after the Knicks fouled.

Julius Randle rebounded and the Knicks called a timeout, but New York had a tough time making the sideline inbound.

Randle, with two seconds left, caught and turned around on a 38-foot shot that air-balled.

"Then with the final one, they did a good job of taking the corner away," Thibodeau said of Randle, who scored 18 points on 6-for-17 shooting. "And there's three options on that play. Julius ended up with a tough shot, but credit to their defense."