Atlanta Hawks center Clint Capela, who has been playing against the Knicks‘ backup center who is hurt (Nerlens Noel) while avoiding their starting center who is hurt (Mitchell Robinson), went off on the Knicks on Tuesday in advance of Game 5 of their first round playoff matchup.
“They’re trying to play tough,” Capela said. “Pushing our guys around, talk s—t. But we can do that too and we showed them as soon as we came back here we can push guys around, too. We can talk s—t as well, so whatcha gonna do about it? We can get a win with it, too, so whatcha gonna do about it? Now we’re coming to your home to win this game again and we’ll send you on vacation.”
Capela also labeled the Knicks “dirty” for retaliating late in Game 4 after the Hawks made two dirty plays.
Asked on Tuesday about Capela’s comments, Julius Randle said “don’t care” three times before elaborating a tad.
“Just heard about it. I do not care. We’re not focused on it,” Randle said. “We’re focused on what we gotta do as a team. So if you want to ask me what we gotta do, that’s great. Why would I give a hell what Clint Capela has to say?”
As far as what the Knicks can do to avoid elimination when they face the Hawks in Game 5 at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night?
“I just think this is who we are as a team,” Randle said. “We’ve been counted out all year. Odds have been stacked against us according to experts — whatever the hell you want to call it — all year. And this is where we’re comfortable. Obviously we’re not going out without a fight, and we’re not even worried about that. We have the ultimate confidence and belief in who we are as a team that we can get it done.
“Like I said, this is where we’re comfortable — being in uncomfortable situations. And for me personally as a player, this is where I’m most comfortable. So I’m looking forward to the challenge. Us as a team, we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Speaking shortly after Randle, Derrick Rose paid no mind to Capela’s comments.
“I’m 32 years old, bro. I never talked s–t like that in my life and I’m not going to start now that Clint Capela starts talking crazy,” Rose said. “It don’t get to me like that. No disrespect. I’m too old for that s–t.”
RJ Barrett was even more succinct.
“We’ll see tomorrow,” he said.