BOSTON — Knicks coach David Fizdale made his first RJ Barrett/Kawhi Leonard comparison. The remark centered on Barrett’s cool-as-a-cucumber oncourt demeanor and stamina.
Barrett is leading the Knicks in minutes at 36 per game and Friday in the 104-102 loss to the Celtics he logged 39 minutes. Fizdale was asked if he’s not like other rookies who wouldn’t be able to handle massive minutes.
“He’s really put together,’’ Fizdale said. “There’s time he’s not sweating and I’m like “Are you going hard? But he is. He’s playing really hard. The only other guy I saw who I’ve coached against that doesn’t look like is breaking a sweat is Kawhi. Kawhi doesn’t look like he’s breathing (hard). RJ has that same act where he’s out there, his face doesn’t change and he’s going about his business.’’
So far, Fizdale isn’t concerned about overplaying the 6-7 lefty and having him smack into the rookie wall sooner than most. “He’s never out of it – no matter how he startsa game he finds a way to iipact the game in a big way,’’ Fizdale said. “It’s hard to take him off the floor. He does so much for us.”
Against Boston, Barrett scored 15 points but shot 5 of 17. He notched 7 rebound and 5 assists. His fourth quarters have not been his best work – 2 points, 1 of 5 Friday.
Ex-Knicks center Enes Kanter, who has not made his Celtics debut because of a knee bruise, was only complimentary about the Knicks. His tumultuous season last year ended with his release in February after which he joined Portland. Kanter remarked early in training camp he was happy to be at a place that doesn’t tank.
“In the end, it worked out for me,’’ Kanter said, dressed in a dapper suit before the game. “I went to Portland to the Western Conference Finals. I am blessed.”
Kanter was not going to gloat — even though he had a recent twitter spat with Julius Randle. Kanter had tweeted Zion Williamson was Julius Randle with hops. Randle shot back to Kanter he should quiet down because last time he played him he racked up 40. Kanter and Randle played pickup in New York over the summer.
“I love those guys — even Julius,’’ Kanter said. “We had that (Twitter) thing. We played pickup games in summer. An amazing dude. I see a lot of good characters on the team and I’m excited to see them grow.’
Told he was once drumming up the notion the Knicks would sign superstars this past summer, Kanter said, They did — Julius.’’
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