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The new Julius Randle wants peace with the referees – Boston Herald


Julius Randle has extended an olive branch to the referees.

Two days after his ejection from a victory at MSG — and following last season’s persistent war with the whistleblowers — Randle not only took accountability Tuesday but also revealed his preseason goal of being more patient and compassionate.

“I don’t want any beef or confrontation with officials,” Randle said. “I could never do their job. Dealing with us as players, it’s like I said I could never coach. It’s a lot to deal with. I understand they can’t get every call right. You know me. I’m a passionate player. I play with a lot of emotion. A lot of drive. So sometimes it gets the best of me. BUt that was a conscious thing going into the summer. To try to limit that.”

Randle’s message was noteworthy because such awareness and maturity was missing last season, when the power forward racked up 12 technicals and $130,000 in fines. His outbursts and emotions negatively impacted Randle’s leadership and relationship with Knicks fans, creating a toxic environment at MSG.

Until Sunday’s tantrum at officials — which started with Randle arguing a non-call and ended with two quick technicals — the 28-year-old was noticeably less confrontational toward the zebra stripes.

His fuse is longer.

“I was good until the last game,” he said. “What the hell happened? I had a relapse.”

Randle was also disappointed he lost a wager with a member of the Knicks organization. The bet was to keep his technicals to three or under this season. He now has four.

“So I already messed that up. Hopefully, that last one gets rescinded,” Randle said. “So we’ll see. I’m really trying my best. Sometimes my emotions get the best of me. But that’s just kind of what comes with it.”

This is part of the new Randle. Beyond the attitude toward referees, he feels re-energized physically and it’s evident on the court.

Randle acknowledged his physical condition is at its best since leaving the Lakers in 2018. He credited his chef, personal trainer and sleep cycle, which has translated to a boost of spring and athleticism. Randle’s overall statistics are better than last season, but they’re especially impressive over the last four games — all victories — at averages of 28 points and 10.3 rebounds.

He said the evolution included a shift of focus toward helping teammates, which is notable after instances last season of Randle abandoning the timeout huddle, fighting with an assistant and leaving the court early.

“Just trying to be more invested and in tune with what’s going on with our team,” Randle said. “How can I help my guys? How can I make the best plays for my team? Next play mentality. So the more I focus on that, the more the outside distractions don’t become a thing.”

Still, Sunday’s ejection brought back memories of last season’s ejection. Then his explanation and empathy afterward was a lot different.

Perhaps the next step is a Christmas card to the referees.

“I can’t put my teammates in that situation and that was selfish of me,” he said. “I got to be better.”



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