Duke basketball star looks motivated following All-Star break

Duke basketball standout RJ Barrett (Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball standout RJ Barrett (Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports) /

Former Duke basketball standout RJ Barrett looks motivated following the All-Star break. 

The NBA All-Star break gave players a chance to reset and relax, and that’s exactly what former Duke basketball product RJ Barrett has done so far.

Despite a lopsided loss to the Milwaukee Bucks (24-14) in the New York Knicks’ first game back from the All-Star break, Barrett still posted 22 points, five rebounds, and two assists on 9-of-15 shooting from the field and 1-of-2 from three-point range.

New York continued its post-All-Star break road trip on Saturday afternoon in Oklahoma City as the Knicks (20-19) got back on the winning track against the Thunder behind a career-best performance from the former Blue Devil.

RJ Barrett went for 32 points, five rebounds, three assists, and three steals on 12-of-21 shooting from the floor and 3-of-6 from beyond the arc as the Knicks pulled away in the second half, 119-97.

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Barrett was named to a member of Team World in the Rising Stars Challenge, but the event did not take place at this year’s All-Star Weekend due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

In five of his last six games, the former No. 3 overall pick has scored at least 21 points. Four of those games were wins for the Knicks.

RJ Barrett’s previous career-high was 28 points, set earlier this season in a victory over the Golden State Warriors.

Former Duke basketball star’s stats look similar to one of his predecessors

Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils have been a factory for molding elite NBA wing players in recent years, and RJ Barrett’s sophomore stats with the Knicks look very similar to that of another former Duke wing.

Barrett is just 20 years old and posting 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game while shooting 45.2-percent from the floor, 35.9-percent from three-point range, and 73.0-percent from the free throw line.

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At the same age and in his second season with the Boston Celtics, former Blue Devil star Jayson Tatum averaged 15.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game, shooting 45.0-percent from the field, 37.3-percent from downtown, and 85.5-percent from the charity stripe.

The New York Knicks still have two games left on their road trip, both coming against the best teams in the Eastern Conference, the Brooklyn Nets  (26-13) and Philadelphia 76ers (26-12).

Tipoff between the Nets and Knicks is scheduled for 8:00pm EST (ESPN) on Monday, March 15.

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