RJ Barrett looked like his regular Sunday of the season after all, but on the final scoreboard it made little difference.
Despite Barrett’s series high of 21 points, the Knicks fell after the 113-96 win of Atlanta in Game 4 with 3: 1 in the best-of-seven series. He added six rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Barrett, who averaged 11.3 points in the first three games in a 13-on-38 combined shootout, was 8-on-15 in Game 4 off the field.
“I just played harder. I didn’t really think about it, “Barrett said.” Coach [Tom Thibodeau] told me to be aggressive and be myself, and I did. “Before Game 4, Thibodeau emphasized the importance of it to be aggressive.
“Do whatever you did to get here.” If you’re open, shoot and find a way to get around simple buckets. … You get a simple bucket and now all of a sudden your energy changes and you get into the rhythm, “said Thibodeau.
” I don’t want guys to rethink things. Just play free, be aggressive, shoot yours Shot. If guarded, pass. Just keep it. “
Despite missing his first three shots, Barrett was involved in the first quarter with four rebounds and four assists early, ending the quarter with a seven-point punch in two Minutes when the Knicks took an early lead.
The Knicks were still in play at halftime, 53-49, but the Hawks flashed them in the third quarter.
“We can’t let them go on these runs “said Barrett. “In the third, when they were running, we couldn’t really stop it. We have to be aggressive. We were aggressive in the first half and got good results.” Barrett scored 12 of his 21 points after half, but those Knicks stopped running after the Hawks ran 15-5 to open third.
Trae Young did most of the damage – with 27 points and nine assists – but Barrett said it was a lot more than Young.
“You have a lot of people, not just Trae,” said Barrett. “You have to protect your entire team. We’ll find out, just go back and see a movie. We’ll think of something. “
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