Let’s relax.
The overreaction about Sunday’s Knicks loss to the Hawks in game one of the first round has been exhausting.

If you look at the box score and read Julius Randle’s 6-for-23 night from the field and 2-for-6 from behind the arc and RJ Barrett’s 1-for-6 from behind the arc, you would’ve thought the Knicks lost by 15 points.

They lost by two on a last-second shot.

Secondly, Elfrid Payton’s inability to play basketball in the NBA becomes more and more noticeable. You had the same amount of points and rebounds as the starting point guard for the Knicks in game one of an opening series to the playoffs.

Payton went 0-for-3 from the field, zero points, zero rebounds, zero steals, one assist, and one foul. He cannot shoot a jump shot if his life depended on it, and there were numerous occasions on defense in which Payton looked like he flat out did not care. Plays like that by Payton are the difference in the playoffs.

Every possession is precious, and it looks like the Knicks starting point guard does not care. 

Here is a clip in which Payton’s jump shot is rightfully not respected and resulted in a missed shot. 

In a press conference on Monday, Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau neither confirmed nor denied if Payton would be the starting point guard for Wednesday’s Game 2. There will be a party on Knicks’ Twitter if Payton is removed from the starting lineup.

Payton’s inability to do anything offensively is also glared by the fact the Knicks have a rookie guard who can make it rain.

Immanuel Quickley had 10 points, splashing two threes and making a tough floater. 

Photo: Seth Wenig/Getty Images

If the Knicks don’t feel comfortable with Quickley guarding Trae Young, which is understandable, New York has other options. There is a French fella who got just 31 seconds of playing time in game 1 who can definitely guard him despite the final play of Game 1. Thibodeau, the defensive genius, thought putting in the kid who hadn’t played since the final play of the second half was a good idea. Frank Ntilikina was cold. He has to play more than half a minute.

Again, if the Knicks don’t feel comfortable with any of those men guarding Young, Barrett has shown his ability to hold his own on defense. There are numerous better options on the New York Knicks than Elfrid Payton. 

Another adjustment the Knicks need to make is to continue to attack Young when New York has the ball. It’s been displayed repeatedly that Young’s on-ball defense is, putting it nicely, highly questionable. There was one possession in which Barrett found Young guarding him, and Barrett backed him down and pushed him into the paint, which resulted in one of the easiest layups in Barrett’s young career. 

There is another possession where Barrett finds Young on him. With ease, Barrett spins out of the post and drives. Luckily for Young, Capela rotated and was ready to contest at the rim, which led to Barrett passing to the open teammate in Bullock. Bullock missed the wide-open three.

Lastly, Julius Randle needs to take advantage of the moments in which Capela isn’t on the court and finds former Knick Danilo Gallinari guarding him. I nearly forgot to mention the performance of Knicks guard Alec Burks. He has been such a great player for the Knicks the entire season. Surely, Knicks fans would LOVE to bring him back.

On Young, he isn’t a public enemy. He isn’t an enemy. He did this in the first game of his playoff career. There are levels to becoming an enemy. Had Young did this to decide the series, then maybe he could become an enemy. He’d definitely become an enemy if he did this more than once. Pump the brakes on him, becoming Knicks’ enemy number one.

One final note, this is a lazy take, but it’s worth mentioning that, in a game officiated by Tony Brothers, Young took his first free throw with 6:43 left in the fourth quarter and finished with nine free throws attempted. Just an interesting fact.

Again – the Knicks lost by two in the last second of a game in which their two best players had rough nights.
There is really no need to panic.

Featured Image: Seth Wenig/Getty Images
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