- After a historic performance on Friday night, New York Knicks forward Julius Randle was not taking any chances to make sure he could get the ball in the hands of Jalen Brunson.
Randle witnessed the pandemonium that broke out between the Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks over a game ball.
Speaking to reporters after the Knicks’ 139-122 win over the Phoenix Suns, Randle explained why he rushed over to Ryan Arcidiacono as time expired to secure the ball.
“To be completely honest, I’ve never cared about it,” Randle said. “Now I do. …I don’t trust Ryan with the game ball. They might look at him and think, ‘We can take that.’ I had to make sure I got it, and I secured it.”
More attention is being paid to who gets game balls after the Pacers and Bucks had an altercation on Wednesday following Milwaukee’s 140-126 win.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a career-high and franchise-record 64 points. He wanted the ball from the game and assumed the Pacers walked off the court with it, leading to the two-time NBA MVP charging toward their locker room to retrieve it.
Antetokounmpo and Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton exchanged words on the court. Indiana head coach Rick Carlisle told reporters afterward there was a “misunderstanding” about the ball because rookie Oscar Tshiebwe scored his first official points in the NBA during the game.
We always get the game ball,” Carlisle said. “We were not thinking about Giannis’ franchise record. …Unfortunate situation.”
Randle did a great job of making sure there wasn’t going to be any drama like that on Friday night.
With nine assists, six rebounds, five steals, and 50 points on 17 of 23 shots (9 of 9 from three-point range), Brunson led all players in scoring. He became one of only two players in NBA history to have at least 50 points, nine assists, five rebounds, and five steals in a game, along with Michael Jordan and Rick Barry.