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Knicks’ RJ Barrett eager to face Scottie Barnes, Raptors again


RJ Barrett is looking forward to the Knicks’ game Sunday at Toronto, especially after sitting out the visit to his hometown on Jan. 6 due to a lacerated finger.

“I can’t wait to play. I can’t wait,” Barrett said after scoring 23 points on Friday night in a loss at Atlanta. “But [sitting out] wasn’t as bad, because I knew we were coming this time.

“It’s going to be a tough, physical playoff-type game. That’s what it’s been the three times we played them. We owe them. It’s going to be a good matchup. You know I’m excited.”

The game Sunday will be the third matchup in 17 days between the Knicks and Raptors. The Knicks prevailed north of the border barely two weeks ago before the Raptors pulled out an overtime win at the Garden on Monday to take a 2-1 lead in the season series.

Barrett appeared to be fouled by Scottie Barnes on a game-tying dunk at the end of regulation Monday, but the league absolved the referees for the non-call in its Last Two Minute Report the following day.

RJ Barrett
RJ Barrett
NBAE via Getty Images

Barrett hopes to be assigned again to guard Barnes, the 2021-22 Rookie of the Year who netted 26 points Monday. Barrett added they were high-school rivals in Florida when he played for Montverde Academy.

“That’s what I want,” Barrett said. “He had a good game [Monday]. Rookie of the Year. Good player. I’m not taking anything away from him. But he got to guard me, too.”

Quentin Grimes played just 16 minutes in the loss to the Hawks due to foul trouble, including a flagrant foul for extending his foot into Trae Young’s landing area on a 3-point attempt in the third quarter.

“He definitely did frustrate me. I’ve got to be a little more disciplined, knowing that’s what he’s trying to do — draw fouls and put the pressure on the refs,” Grimes said of Young, who finished with 27 points. “I feel I’ve played him pretty good up until this game. This might be the seventh time — one out of seven, I’ll take it. But I’ve got to be smarter.”

That marked the fewest minutes Grimes has played in 30 games since becoming a full-time starter on Nov. 20. He had averaged 34.2 minutes and 12.2 points over the previous 29 appearances.


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