Julius Randle isn’t playing like an MVP candidate or even an All-Star this season. Knicks fans, who are very smart, recognize it.

They can also recognize when their team is exercising, as the Knicks did against the Celtics Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. The locals gave Randle and everyone else on the court wearing a home uniform an ear in the second half.

Randle wasn’t thrilled with that.

MORE: Stats You Should Know About The Knicks’ Wild Return

That explains why he left completely during the Knicks’ thrilling fourth-quarter comeback. The veteran forward dived into Javier Báez-Francisco Lindor’s playbook and showed a thumbs-down sign after cutting New York’s deficit to four points with a bucket. The Knicks won 108-105 after trailing by as many as 25 in the game. Randle finished with 22 points.

He got an unholy response when New York Daily News reporter Stefan Bondy asked what was up (down?) With the wave of his hand:

“Shut the fuck up,” Randle replied. That was said towards fans and not, as some on Twitter expected, about Bondy.

MORE: Celtics coach says his team lacks mental toughness under pressure

Randle and the Knicks have earned boos with their game at times. The forward is still the team’s top scorer and rebounder, but his production is low:

Category 21-22 ’20 -21
MPG 35.5 37.6
FG% .422 .456
3PT% .324 .411
FOOT% .764 .811
role playing game 10.1 10.2
APG 4.9 6.0
PPG 19.6 24.1

And his intermittent seasonal divisions before Thursday weren’t favorable:

Classification About Off
ORtg 107.0 116.4
DRtg 112.1 106.0

New York is 19-20 and is in 10th place in the Eastern Conference as of Thursday. It’s a complete game over the Celtics for last place in the entry tournament.

VOTE OF THE STARS: conclusions of the first vote of the fans returns

The good news for the team is that the core of the roster that produced a 41-31 record and a No. 4 seed in the playoffs a year ago is still around, although Derrick Rose is out long-term with an ankle injury. . The bad news is that one of their leaders took time out during a game to message fans after saying the day before that he “doesn’t care what anyone has to say.”

Randle should have held that position when the going got tough Thursday. Golden rule: fans are not going to be very nice when they tell you that your performance is poor.