RJ Barrett’s guarantee for a Game 5 victory didn’t exactly pan out the way he hoped but the ever-confident second-year swingman predicted many additional playoff runs and a future title.
On Wednesday morning, an edgy Barrett said, “We’re winning tonight,” when asked how he viewed the season overall if they didn’t get out of the first round.
They didn’t win — didn’t come close — as the Hawks rolled in the third quarter to post a 103-89 victory in Game 5 to send the Knicks into the offseason.
Barrett finished with 17 points on 5 of 14 shooting but powered to the free-throw line where he made 5 of 6 free throws. Barrett struggled in the first three playoff games, but did decently enough in the final two.
“For me personally I didn’t play my best,’’ Barrett said. “I felt I was able to figure it out along the way. After Game 3, I got in a rhythm and started to feel it out. It’s a good first experience. I’m definitely looking forward to many more.’’
RJ Barrett goes up for a shot as Clint Capela defends during the Knicks’ season-ending 103-89 series-ending loss to the Hawks. AP
Indeed, Barrett sees a big orange-and-blue future even if they couldn’t get out of the first round. The Knicks have $60 million in cap space and will need a starting point guard to add to next season’s mix.
“Shoot, I’m 20,’’ Barrett said. “I’m hoping to be here very long time and winning many more games, making more playoffs, get championships. I think this is a really good experience for us. It was a lot of our first times in the playoffs and now what we know what to expect in it, we can come back hungry for more after the summer.’’
Barrett is expected to play for Team Canada in this summer’s Olympic Games.
Marv Albert, the former legendary Knicks broadcaster, did his last Knicks game for TNT Wednesday with partner, Reggie Miller.
Albert, who was a Knicks broadcaster for their two title teams in 1969-70 and 1972-73, is retiring. It was Albert’s first appearance at the Garden this season and his presence wasn’t acknowledge on the scoreboard. Albert had a falling out with owner James Dolan years ago.
Taj Gibson said this season was a success no matter the first-round result.
“Have you seen the crowd and emotions around the city — it shows the love,” Gibson said. “I’ve been around a long time in some really loud places. The atmosphere in the Garden, atmosphere around the city, people constantly encouraging you about the game. You go down and get a bagel or cup of coffee, everybody is giving us praise about what we’re doing in changing the culture. The city is paying attention.’’