2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Thunder

Think about it, the Knicks are now 5-3 and this is only the second game where you can realistically say, “Oh, the Knicks SHOULD win this game.” That’s pretty awesome.

Not only that, but due to the chaos involving COVID, the Knicks might be in line to win more than their fair share of games going forward due to other teams having COVID problems, so the Knicks might be in the running to go a nice streak now!

Let’s go, two games over .500 Knicks!

NY Post: Knicks signing Taj Gibson, releasing Omari Spellman in frontcourt fix

From Marc Berman and Peter Botto:

After discussing reunions with big men Taj Gibson and Tyson Chandler, the Knicks appear to have settled on the one with multi-team ties to coach Tom Thibodeau.

The 6-foot-9 Gibson, who played for Thibodeau in Chicago and Minnesota, is expected to re-sign with the Knicks, according to a source, after they declined his $10 million team option in November. The Knicks have opened the season 5-3 despite operating with razor-thin depth up front due injuries to rookie Obi Toppin, Nerlens Noel and Omari Spellman, but they are likely to waive Spellman to facilitate Gibson’s return.

According to a person close to Gibson, 35, he’s been in Los Angeles since the start of the season and has worked out for seven teams, including the Wizards. The shortened free agency didn’t help Gibson as teams filled up their rosters quickly.

“He’s in shape,” the person said. “There’s no hard feelings. He knows it’s a business.”

According to an NBA source, the Knicks also had held internal talks about bringing back Chandler, a key to their 2012-13 team that won the Atlantic Division when current assistant Mike Woodson was head coach.

I imagine the end scene of Officer and a Gentlemen with Taj and Thibs reuniting. I’m unclear which one is Debra Winger in this scenario.

It’s funny that they even considered Chandler. Taj is pretty done, but Chandler is beyond done, I’m shocked that he’s still trying to keep playing. Dude won a title and made a ton of money, what more does he have to prove?

Gibson is a fine back-up back-up center. And luckily, Mitch has played so outstandingly that we don’t have to worry about Gibson suddenly starting over Mitch, which was my only concern about bringing Gibson back earlier.

Spellman…well, what can you say? Dude showed up way out of shape. It was pretty embarrassing on his part.

2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Jazz

Kind of hard to care about this game with what is going on right now (and I wouldn’t be stunned if the NBA delays some of these games), but well, here’s a thread!

Bullock is out tonight, as the Knicks keep dropping like flies as they continue to win. I guess Rivers probably starts?

The Knicks can move TWO games over .500 for the first time in a long time!

Let’s go, winning record Knicks!

NY Post: Tom Thibodeau’s effect on Knicks has been drastic

From Greg Joyce:

From the minute the Knicks hired Tom Thibodeau as their new head coach in July, their defense figured to be in for an upgrade.

But there was no guarantee a tangible change — and the wins that followed — would come this quickly.

The Knicks left New York on Dec. 27 fresh off their first win of the season, a surprising defeat of the Bucks. They returned on Tuesday as winners of four of their last five entering Wednesday night’s showdown against the Jazz at the Garden, with plenty of strong efforts fueling their surge but the defense chief among them.

“I think the togetherness is a big part of it. I think the willingness to share the ball, to play hard for each other,” Thibodeau said after Monday’s 113-108 win over the Hawks. “[But] it starts with our defense and the rebounding. We still have to get our turnovers down but I think just the overall way they’re playing for each other. I think that’s a big part of winning. They come in and they work every day.”

Last year, under David Fizdale and then interim coach Mike Miller, the Knicks had the NBA’s 23rd-ranked defensive rating (112.4). Through seven games this season under Thibodeau, they had the NBA’s ninth-best defensive rating (106.1).

I just wanted a new thread before tomorrow night’s game thread.

2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks @ Hawks

I love the idea of road trips in the era of COVID where there are no crowds and thus home court no longer really exists.

Anyhow, the Knicks head to Atlanta to take on the Atlanta Hawks, who just lost to the 4-2 Cleveland Cavaliers, whose fans at Cavalierblogger, I am sure, are also convincing themselves that the Cavaliers are for real. In any event, according to the transitive property of team ass kicking, the Knicks beat the Cavs and the Cav beat the Hawks, so this means that the Knicks will beat the Hawks (“But wait, Brian!” you might annoyingly shout, “The Cavs beat the Sixers and the Knicks lost to the Sixers, so shouldn’t that mean that the Knicks beat the Sixers, too?” To which I would respond, “SILENCE!”).

Getting to play against Trae Young and Cam Reddish also allows us for the always (never) entertaining game of “Wait, maybe the Hawks did win the Doncic trade?” (they didn’t).

The Hawks like to score, so it will be interesting to see the Knicks match the Hawks on the offensive end. The Knicks are probably going to need to shoot a lot more threes tonight, so let’s hope that they’re up to it.

No Burks, so we don’t have to see yet what Thibs will do with the rotation when he returns.

As I noted in the Raptors game, the Knicks haven’t been over .500 after New Year’s Day since Jason Kidd was on the team, so this would be nice to see (yes, they were over .500 33 games into the ill-fated 2017-18 season, but the vagaries of COVID meant that that was all before January 1st while now, Game 7 is after New Year’s).

Let’s go, winning record Knicks!

2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks @ Pacers

The starting lineup remains the same, and Burks is still out, but the big news is that Immanuel Quickley is back! Oh yeah!

I’ll be fascinated in seeing who the backup point guard will be, Quickley or Rivers. They’ll both play major minutes, but who will be the lead guard?

The Pacers are without TJ Warren, but Sabonis is still out there and we’ll see if Mitch and Noel can handle him any better this time than they did in the first game.

Also, maybe RJ could repeat his first half performance again like he did against the Pacers last time? Perhaps for the full game this time!

Let’s go, Knicks!

2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks @ Raptors

The Knicks head to…TAMPA to play the Toronto Raptors tonight, as Canada still won’t let sports teams play in the country, so the Raptors are playing their home games in Tampa. Amusingly, Kevin Knox is from Tampa, so he gets to play at his hometown. Larry Brown would start him over Barrett.

Burks and Quickley are out tonight and while Smith is with the team, he’s unlikely to play. Austin Rivers, though, will be playing without getting any scrimmages in, so that’ll be interesting.

The Raptors are 0-3 and are struggling with the loss of both Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, replacing them with Aron Baynes and gum and spit. Fred VanVleet has been terrible, as well.

If the Knicks win, they’ll be over .500 for the latest in a season since they were over .500 after Game 33 of the 2017-18 season. That’s insane. Not only that, but due to the vagaries of the NBA schedule this year, this means that the Knicks would enter 2021 with a winning record if they won tonight, something that hasn’t happened with this team since Jason Kidd was still on the team! Game 33 of the 2017-18 season was in December.

If you’re going to play the Raptors, getting them while they are 0-3 is a good time to get them!

Let’s go over .500, Knicks!