RJ Barrett speaks about dealing with length of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley amid shooting struggles

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers have made life tough on New York Knicks wing RJ Barrett in the playoffs so far.

Over the first two games of Cleveland’s playoff series with New York, the 22-year-old has only made 24.0 percent of his shots from the field and 12.5 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.

It’s no secret that the Cavs have a couple of truly special defenders in Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, and Barrett was recently asked whether those two players have impacted him at the rim.

“I think I’ve missed some shots that I’m comfortable taking, a couple turnarounds that I normally make,” he said. “I was able to get in there, get fouled a couple times, but just their length, you have to be mindful of it. … You gotta watch the film and just make the right play.”

Barrett actually seems very happy with the looks that he’s getting.

Efficiency has been a struggle for Barrett at times during his four seasons in the NBA, and it’s really starting to rear its head now that the Knicks are looking to win a playoff series.

The youngster went 2-for-12 from the field in Game 1 and 4-for-13 in Game 2. As a player that eats a fair amount of volume, Barrett is going to need to turn things around if he wants to help the Knicks knock off the Cavs.

Defensively, Cleveland has to be pleased with the way it has played so far against New York. The Cavs allowed just 101 points in the first game of the series and only 90 points in the second game. That’s a long-term recipe for success, even though the series is currently tied at one game apiece.

Barrett averaged 19.6 points per game in the 2022-23 regular season, and the Cavs are holding him to 10.5 points per game so far in this first-round series. Time will tell if Cleveland can keep that trend alive as the battle continues.

Game 3 will take place Friday in New York. Although momentum seems to be with the Cavs right now, one could argue that the Knicks currently have the upper hand since they stole home-court advantage away from Cleveland in the first game of the series.

Because of that Game 1 outcome, the Cavs are going to have to win at least one game in New York in order to win the series. Friday’s matchup provides the squad with as good a chance as any to check that box.

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Jason has covered the NBA for multiple years and is very excited about the future of the Cleveland Cavaliers.