New York Notes: Randle, Hart, Simmons, Dinwiddie

Knicks forward Julius Randle, playing in his second game back from an ankle sprain, took a hard fall with 2:22 left in Tuesday’s contest and New York down by 23 points. Randle, who went up for a dunk attempt, was hit by Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen, who was assessed with a flagrant foul 1 ( video link).

Although Randle said after the game that he was “fine,” he wasn’t thrilled with what he viewed as excessive contact from Allen on the play, as Peter Botte of The New York Post writes.

“At this point, it’s irrelevant. But I thought it was a little unnecessary,” Randle said. “I understand playoff basketball. You don’t give up on plays and I respect that. I’m somebody who doesn’t give up on plays. … Typically when you make those type of plays you go across their body, not through them. But it’s fine. It’s irrelevant. We’ll go back to the Garden, and see him there.”

Although Randle appeared to avoid any sort of real injury on the play, Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post called into question Tom Thibodeau‘s decision to still have the star forward in the game that late in the fourth quarter, given the size of the Cavaliers’ lead. Thibodeau told reporters after the loss that he initially planned to take Randle out a few minutes earlier, but the 28-year-old talked him into staying in longer to work on his “rhythm.”

Here’s more on the NBA’s New York-based teams:

  • Originally listed as doubtful for Tuesday’s game due to a sprained left ankle, Knicks forward Josh Hart was available and played 27 minutes. However, after a big Game 1, Hart was a non-factor in Game 2, posting a team-worst minus-29 mark, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Nonetheless, he insisted the ankle wasn’t the issue. “If I’m out there, I’m good,” Hart said. “I’m feeling good.”
  • The idea of undergoing a second back surgery hasn’t been completely ruled out for Nets guard Ben Simmons, but it’s considered unlikely, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post, who hears from a source that Simmons has made showed “really good improvement” in his rehab work in recent weeks.
  • If the Nets hope to make their series with Philadelphia competitive, they’ll need more from recently acquired guard Spencer Dinwiddie, Lewis says in another New York Post story. Dinwiddie, who averaged 16.5 PPG and 9.1 APG for the Nets after the trade deadline, recorded just 13.0 PPG and 6.5 APG on 38.5% shooting in the series’ first two games. “He’s huge for us, and he knows it. We love him, we depend on him,” head coach Jacque Vaughn said. “He’s going to have the basketball back in his hands when we get back home, and he’ll continue to play and lead us.”
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