Duke basketball: Questions surround RJ Barrett after late game absence

Former Duke basketball standout RJ Barrett (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Former Duke basketball standout RJ Barrett (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

There are a lot of questions surrounding Duke basketball standout RJ Barrett following the latest New York Knicks loss. 

Former Duke basketball star RJ Barrett has come into his own in his second year in the NBA with the New York Knicks (8-10).

The shooting guard has begun to thrive under new head coach Tom Thibodeau, and although the Knicks aren’t the most talented team in the NBA, New York is consistently competitive, unlike last season.

Despite being in the best stretch of his career, Barrett was not on the floor in crunch time in Sunday night’s loss to the Portland Trail Blazers (9-6).

Barrett had posted at least 20 points in five of his last six games entering Sunday’s matchup, as the lone game the former No. 3 overall pick did not score at least 20 points was a 19-point outing in a 30-point victory, in which he only played 29 minutes.

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New York fell behind by 25 points early in the third quarter against the Blazers on Sunday night, and the Knicks slowly began to chip away at the deficit.

As the Knicks got closer in the final minutes of the game, Barrett remained on the bench despite his quality showing.

RJ Barrett posted eight points, four rebounds, and two assists in 23 minutes, a season-low for the former Blue Devil.

The Canadian was 4-of-9 from the floor, only committed two personal fouls, and did not turn the ball over.

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RJ Barrett only took the floor in the final minute of the game to replace standout forward Julius Randle after he fouled out in the last 30 seconds of the 116-113 loss.

The southpaw was openly frustrated that he did not make an NBA All-Rookie team last season and is now averaging 17.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game while shooting 41.3-percent from the floor.

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New York concludes its four-game road trip on Tuesday night as the Knicks battle the Utah Jazz (12-4), who will be looking for revenge after a 12-point loss in Madison Square Garden on January 6.

Tipoff is scheduled for 9:00pm EST.

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