NY Post: Nets pay big James Harden price in close win over Knicks

From Brian Lewis:

The Nets lost James Harden — again. But they dug down deep enough to win the game, and a season sweep of the cross-river rival Knicks.

Already without Kevin Durant, the Nets saw Harden go down after just four minutes. But Kyrie Irving led a huge comeback, and Jeff Green capped off a 114-112 rally before a mixed crowd of 1,773 at Barclays Center.

The last man standing of Brooklyn’s Big Three, Irving had a game-high 40 points and seven assists. Jeff Green added a season-high 23 points, including the tiebreaking points in the final seconds. Julius Randle’s miss at the buzzer sealed it.

After going just 1-for-4 from the stripe in the first half, Green went 8-for-9 in the second — including the game-winning pair with 3.7 seconds left.

I get it. I really do. It seems like we’re way too late into the season to still have moral victories, and once James Harden went down, I don’t know if you’d term the Nets all that good of a team with “just” Kyrie available of the Big Three, but whatever, I still think it was impressive to see the Knicks continue to battle. That three by Burks was awesome.

You know Thibs will always make sure that the Knicks fight at the end of the game. That’s always nice to see.

And luckily, the Raptors are still, what, four and a half games back with just 21 to play and two teams between the eighth-placed Knicks and the tenth-placed Raptors (and the Raptors not even seeming like they’re necessarily trying to win at this point, as they seem almost more interested in adding a top lottery pick to their OG/Siakam/VanVleet/Boucher core. Their win tonight against the Wizards was almost like “Who didn’t want it less?”)? It’s looking very good for the Knicks. The key, though, is the 1 1/2 game lead they have over the Pacers for the #9 seed. You definitely want to be playing in the #7/8 game and not the #9/10 game. It’s literally the difference between only having to win one of two games to make the playoffs and having to win both games to make the playoffs. That’s huuuuuuuge.

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119 thoughts to “NY Post: Nets pay big James Harden price in close win over Knicks”

  1. Against certain teams like the Nets and Mavs, I no longer get any pleasure from moral victories. I just hate them so much.

  2. Enough of moral victories, we let big leads slip away in too many games and we lost too many heartbreakers…

    The Bulls against a superior Nets’ lineup won easily (don’t be fooled by the final score),
    we got them more depleted (Griffin and Shamet played in Chicago), on a SEGABABA and we still managed to lose after leading by as much as 14 points in the third quarter.

    That’s unacceptable, being beaten by Alize Johnson and Jeff Green is unacceptable and the more we understand this the quicker we could become a better team.

    We lose because of sloppy play, bad defense and lack of fundamentals (careless turnovers, easy fastbreaks, too many offensive rebounds allowed).

    Yesterday they need to “fight to the end” because they were unable to fight when needed, they went up and began to play dumb instead of killing the Nets, go up by 25 and let the game become a garbage parade…

    So much for the “big 15” bravado… shut up and play, you bunch of clowns.

    We’ll (probably) be in the play-in game, but this was a bad, bad, bad loss.

    I expect a quick reaction against the Celtics.

  3. Pretty ugly game last night.
    I was only watching peripherally but was there any offensive plan last night other than to have Randle charge into the paint and look around for a possibly open shooter (hi Elfrid!)?

    Randle has clearly fallen in love with the midrange jumper – now taking fully 1/3 of his shots from 10-23 feet. His % of FGA at the rim is less than 1/2 his career average. I understand he’s the creator now, and so someone else is not gifting him shots in the paint, but his FTR is a career low and his midrange attempts are at a career high. If not for his unbelievable improvement in 3 point shooting, we’d be looking at a really bad scoring year for him. Thibs has to fix this. Randle is a gigantic human being with pretty reasonable touch around the basket — get in there and get fouled. I don’t know how many possessions ended with Randle as the only player inside the 3 point line, taking a fadeaway 16 footer. Even as a good midrange shooter, you’re looking at a PPP of ~0.84 (he’s averaging about 42% from midrange) with very little chance of a foul or an offensive rebound.

    I was really disappointed we didn’t get to see Frank on Kyrie last night. Thibs literally said that Frank changed the last game against the Nets with his aggressive D in the 4th. Instead we get 22 minutes of Elfrid Payton and his classic 4/10 for 8 points with 1 assist as a starting PG in the NBA.

  4. I know this is Knickerblogger and not Jetsblogger, but I need to get this off my chest– which is, has there ever been a worse GM in major sports history than Mike Mccagnan?

    Draft history:
    2015 – 6 picks, none left on the team (although Leo Williams is finally playing well)

    2016 – 7 picks, none left on the team. Only 1 player that looks to be a real NFL player (Jordan Jenkins). 2016 was also the year he picked Hackenberg, which was widely panned as a horrible draft pick the second it happened.

    2017 – with Josh McCown, Bryce Petty, and Hackenberg on the roster as the only QBs, he passes up Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson to draft a safety. A safety! Marcus Maye is an ok pick at 2.39 but no one else is left in the NFL (7 more picks)

    2018 – picks Darnold, who I still like.

    2019 – Quinnen Willliams – best pick of his entire record, quickly followed by the worst pick of his tenure (Jachai Polite).

    FA signings – blows a ton of money on non-premium positions (CJ Mosley, Leveon Bell)
    Ignores offensive line completely

    Coaching: Hires Adam Gase, easily the worst coach in the NFL in the last decade, move immediately panned by everyone.

    Contracts: gave a bunch of big contracts to players who obviously didn’t deserve them (Mo Wilkerson stands out).

    Very difficult to see how he could have done worse. Obviously Deshaun Watson looks totally toxic right now, but to pass up Mahomes and Watson for Hackenberg is completely indefensible.

    OK, back to the Knicks!

  5. My take on this game is..this is the difference between having a star and a superstar. Say what you will about Kyrie, but he is a superstar talent. That being said, I think we could have won this game rather than should have. There were 2 big things that I feel like killed us:
    1. Our “closer” had no legs in the 4th. D Rose. It’s bad enough that his health has to be monitored closely due to past injuries, but coming off of covid has really drained him. This is where having #6 really hurts us. We pretty much have to lean on him as a vet PG at times where we probably shouldn’t. Thibs needs to find a better way to manage Rose’s minutes more effectively. Rose plays hard. And we probably need more options out there to help manage his minutes- which leads me to my next point..
    2. Thibs coaching with his head up his ass. If there was EVER a night to throw Frank out there, it was last night. All the Nets had was Kyrie. The other guys were not playing well enough to beat us. As soon as Kyrie gets going, DAMMIT YOU THROW YOUR BEST PERIMETER DEFENDER AT HIM! And guess what? He also plays PG more efficiently than #6 has this season- he certainly shoots better. What in the entire fuck, Thibs??

    If we’re gonna get to the playoffs, Thibs has to be more flexible with his game plan.

    We could have won this game

  6. against a team with much more talent, that it once again came down to… “the last possession was just so, so Thibsy.”

    There, E, fixed it for you!

  7. Before the game started i asked for 19-20min of Frankie and a man on JGreen.
    What i got?
    A mechanic rotation from Thibs…
    Despite praising his coaching even before season’s start i have to charge this L on him.
    Would Frank had made the difference?
    We’ll never find out…
    One thing’s for sure: Thibs could try slightly faster game adjustments imo

  8. The more that Frank sits, the better he looks to us. Funny, isn’t it?

    This was a joke in a Mad Magazine parody of the later years of Happy Days. Potsie complains that he never gets to sing anymore, and Al or Fonzie or someone tells him that the less he sings, the better he sounds to everyone. And he takes it as a compliment. No idea why that lingered all these years later, but here we are.

    In short: play Frank when you need some stops against a guy like Kyrie.

  9. I know Kyrie ended up with 40 and this is Frankerblogger so we have to talk Frank at any time it’s remotely relevant, but I didn’t think the D on Kyrie was that much of a problem. He was absolutely wild with his shotmaking last night which is what Kyrie does and the reason it’s such a highly sought after skill is specifically because it’s not something the defense can do all that much about. It’s not like he was consistently carving us up on the pick and roll or something like that and down the stretch we were able to consistently get the ball out of his hands with double teams. In fact Kyrie ended up -5 for the game; for me the game was lost during the stretch at the end of the 3rd, beginning of the 4th where Kyrie was out and we threw away the whole lead with sloppy turnovers and bad defense/rebounding. Maybe the Knicks should’ve busted out their (hypothetical) stopper for Alize Johnson.

  10. regarding this quote from Randall, and the reaction to it:
    So much for the “big 15” bravado… shut up and play, you bunch of clowns.

    I thought this was the perfect response for him to give….he said we are a team, basically. shit, when was the last time we had that!!!! he’s being interviewed….he had to say something, why is this a concern?

    yeah, they should have won the game though.

  11. The Knicks lost because they couldn’t stop their scrubs like Alize Johnson and 400-year-old Jeff Green.

    Also, no one can move the ball except Randle, who really shouldn’t be a last-possession guy. As a “point guard,” can’t Rose pass at all?? Maybe we should try Obi at point guard because between Rose/Frank/Quick/Elf, the Knicks’ point guard play must be bottom-3 in the league.

  12. chriskZIPCODE:
    regarding this quote from Randall, and the reaction to it:
    So much for the “big 15” bravado… shut up and play, you bunch of clowns.

    I thought this was the perfect response for him to give….he said we are a team, basically.shit, when was the last time we had that!!!!he’s being interviewed….he had to say something, why is this a concern?

    yeah, they should have won the game though.

    Talk the talk AND walk the walk, otherwise shut up.

    Three games against Brooklyn:

    1st game:
    Durant in, Kyrie and Harden (just acquired) out. Nets undermanned because of the trade.
    We let Bruce Brown take 6 OREB and Reggie Perry score 11.
    Result: Loss

    2nd Game:
    Kyrie and Harden in, Durant out. Jeff Green 20 points (8-11).
    Result: Loss

    3rd Game:
    Kyrie in, Durant out, Harden injured after 4 minutes.
    Jeff Green 23 points, Alize Johnson 11 points, Joe Harris 4 OREB.
    Result: Loss

    We never played against the Big3, and still we have lost all three games.

    They made you a question, you’re not obliged to answer.

    And by the way, where are our “Big 15” when we lose in Minneapolis against the worst team in the league?
    Or when we had our asses kicked at home by Miami and Dallas (this one a very important game for Knicks fans)?

    Shut. The. Fuck. Up. Clowns.

  13. i get it was a tough loss…. but we didn’t lose the game because frank didn’t play just like the a few hundred times before he wouldn’t have saved us….

  14. Shut. The. Fuck. Up. Clowns.

    So, we’re talking about a team that won 21 games last year, 17 the year before, hasn’t been over .500 in 10 years, and was mostly picked to do about the same this year and finish bottom 5 in the league, yet they are near .500 and had an all star for the first time in ages. yeah they lost some games they should have won, but they won a lot of games they should have lost. Why be a fan then?

  15. Isn’t becoming totally unhinged and apoplectic after a bad loss the very essence of being a fan?

    Randle looks tired. Alize Johnson is clearly much better than we thought he was. Jeff Green is, uh, a true veteran

    I am going to focus on Champions league today. Never been a better day to sign up for Paramount +

  16. chriskZIPCODE: So, we’re talking about a team that won 21 games last year, 17 the year before, hasn’t been over .500 in 10 years, and was mostly picked to do about the same this year and finish bottom 5 in the league, yet they are near .500 and had an all star for the first time in ages.yeah they lost some games they should have won, but they won a lot of games they should have lost.Why be a fan then?

    I know I’m overly pissed off.

    I’m overly pissed off exactly because I’m a fan, a fan that (living in Europe) lose sleep every time there’s a game and still continue to do it, no matter how bad the previous game was.

    I’m pissed off because they’re doing exactly what the media haters predicted us to do (“Their schedule will take care of them”, “Knicks wins are fool gold” and so on) and that irks me, I’m tired of years of jokes on the Knicks.

    I’m pissed because we were a gritty team that always gave 110% to win games and now we’re a lousy team that think they’re good, try too much to play fancy (reason number one for the majority of the turnovers) and as a result barely survived against the Bucks G-League team, lost in Minnesota, lost badly at home with Miami and Dallas and couldn’t beat the Nets without Durant and Harden.

    I’m pissed because every time Obi Toppin did something good, a siren sounds and our coach sits him on the bench no matter what (so much for “rewarding good play”).

    And I’m writing here because is better than go outside and hit someone on the nose :-)

  17. Isn’t becoming totally unhinged and apoplectic after a bad loss the very essence of being a fan?

    Shut. The. Fuck. Up. Clowns.

    i used to think so but it turns out there is a cringe line

  18. Max, I appreciate your answer. I can’t imagine waiting up in the middle of the night to watch the knicks!

  19. The sad truth is a team with any 1 of the Nets big 3 plus a bunch of scrubs still has as much, if not more talent than we do.

    We have Julius Randle, whose all-star seems to be fading anyways, and a bunch of guys who bring their lunchpail to the game.

    We probably should have tried Frank on Kyrie, but almost no coach is going away from his normal rotation in a close game.

  20. ess-dog: between Rose/Frank/Quick/Elf, the Knicks’ point guard play must be bottom-3 in the league.

    And it’s not 3rd or 2nd

  21. I’m going to take another victory lap for being right about Reggie Bullock who really turned it around this year after a slow start. Almost makes up for the enormous L for Lfrid Payton who I thought would be good and has been godawful.

  22. It’s very predictable with Derrick Rose:

    1st quarter: make a few floaters, maybe even a couple of 3’s, rarely pass the ball

    4th quarter: miss all the floaters, brick a few 3’s, rarely pass the ball.

    And I’m no Payton fan either, having to choose between the two of them, I’ll take “none of the above”

  23. d-mar:
    It’s very predictable with Derrick Rose:

    1st quarter: make a few floaters, maybe even a couple of 3’s, rarely pass the ball

    4th quarter: miss all the floaters, brick a few 3’s, rarely pass the ball.

    And I’m no Payton fan either, having to choose between the two of them, I’ll take “none of the above”

    Who needed Haliburton anyway?

  24. With Noel and Payton the Knicks’ starters are basically playing three on five. Noel is a terrible offensive player- I’d rather start Taj at this point despite Noel’s excellent defense.

    Also, as disappointing as Obi’s offense has been, his rebounding as been just as disappointing to me- just useless on the boards.

  25. Nicos, while I don’t really disagree, it’s worth noting that it’s hard to get rebounds when you’re either hanging out at the logo or stuck in the far corners (“He’s kinda shaped like Kevin Knox, let’s put him over there”).

    I can’t say what’s happening on the defensive side, as I studiously avoid watching him there.

  26. The more that Frank sits, the better he looks to us. Funny, isn’t it?

    i wonder where frank will be playing next year…

  27. And I’m writing here because is better than go outside and hit someone on the nose :-)

    ha, too funny max :)

    this season i’m doing a little bit of what donnie do – being more careful with how much of my time and emotion i devote to the knicks…

    i watched the game and didn’t really find it that terrible…i just thought the nets are a better team, kyrie is really something else out on the floor…i kept wondering what kind of special sneakers he must have to be able to withstand all that stop and go he does…

    we’ve lost more close games (3 points or less) than any other team in the league…

  28. nicos:
    With Noel and Payton the Knicks’ starters are basically playing three on five. Noel is a terrible offensive player- I’d rather start Taj at this point despite Noel’s excellent defense.

    Also, as disappointing as Obi’s offense has been, his rebounding as been just as disappointing to me- just useless on the boards.

    I think we need Noel in there. We’re near .500 because of our defense and Noel is a big reason why. It’s harder to notice defensive impact, but a couple games without Mitch or Noel and it would become clear (unless Pelle or Henson step up)

  29. At this point, I would almost kill for 30 minutes a night of Jared Harper, warts and all.

    Early Bird:
    I’m going to take another victory lap for being right about Reggie Bullock who really turned it around this year after a slow start.

    No offense EB, but that’s a tiny little trophy you get there lol. Bullock has been “steady” but not far off his career stats. He was just bad over the last year-plus.

    But that has me thinking that probably a lot of these “middle-class” NBA guys would eventually start trending upward if given a solid 30 minutes per night, even [[ENTER ANY BIG-EYED EUROPEAN COMBO GUARD HERE]].

  30. ess-dog: No offense EB, but that’s a tiny little trophy you get there lol. Bullock has been “steady” but not far off his career stats. He was just bad over the last year-plus.

    I mean, that’s what I predicted when lots of people thought he was trash. He’s not amazing by any stretch but still a very useful 3&D wing on an excellent deal.

    So I’m celebrating my being accurate, not Bullock being amazing.

  31. Even on the playground when your opponent is more talented than you, you stick to your best D and be minimalist offensively.
    Trying to be fancy and beat a more talented opponent by competing him on offense while letting your guard down on D has fuked us numerous times this season…
    That’s what hurts..
    Not the loss but the stupid way we do it every fkn time…

  32. nicos:

    Also, as disappointing as Obi’s offense has been, his rebounding as been just as disappointing to me- just useless on the boards.

    Obi’s nose for the ball on the glass, might be the worst I’ve ever seen…I watch him pretty closely and his lack of instinct there is really concerning… my gut take right now is they are having him focus on putting a body on someone (which he forgets sometimes), essentially just box out your man so someone else can actually get the rebound… it sounds ridiculous but i think its happening right in front of us… step 2 for young, but old Obi, is to actually jump for the ball… imagine that…

  33. KJG: Obi’s nose for the ball on the glass, might be the worst I’ve ever seen…I watch him pretty closely and his lack of instinct there is really concerning…my gut take right now is they are having him focus on putting a body on someone (which he forgets sometimes), essentially just box out your man so someone else can actually get the rebound… it sounds ridiculous but i think its happening right in front of us… step 2 for young, but old Obi, is to actually jump for the ball… imagine that…

    I’ve noticed this too but would also add that he’s maybe not used to working the glass from out on the wing. In college, he was the guy in the post, which is now occupied by two other massive guys. This really is quite a role shift for him, and I think he’s handling it as best he can. Hopefully, it works out.

  34. We were all in on Bullock at the time he was signed (he and Morris were the only two one and one deals which seemed like actual assets at the time, especially once Bullock re-worked his deal to make it cheaper), but then he missed most of the season and was terrible when he played. Him returning to levels of decent play he hadn’t seen in a couple of years was not shocking, exactly, but I don’t think it was a particularly good bet after he was so terrible last season (and not very good the year before that, as well).

  35. Bullock was terrible to start this year too but he’s been really good the last two months. I wonder if the neck injury just completely threw him out of whack for a year.

  36. nicos:
    Bullock was terrible to start this year too but he’s been really good the last two months. I wonder if the neck injury just completely threw him out of whack for a year.

    I was thinking the same thing,
    he had a “not so good” year with DET/LAK,
    but that’s a subtle and scary injury to have for a man involved in a contact sport.

    I think his defense is sometimes overrated (he’s good but prone to brain freezes, for instance he give up many and-1s and 3FTs fouls) but I’d like to have him back next year as a rotation bench player.

  37. Early Bird:

    ess-dog: between Rose/Frank/Quick/Elf, the Knicks’ point guard play must be bottom-3 in the league.

    And it’s not 3rd or 2nd

    So you’d trade our PG rotation – Elfrid + DRose + Frank + Harper – with which team?
    CHI – Satoransky + Coby White + Arcidiacono + Devon Dotson + Javonte Green
    CLE – Garland + Damyean Dotson + Dellavedova
    DET – Killian Hayes + DSJ + Cory Joseph + Saben Lee + Frank Jackson
    WAS – Russell Westbrook + Raul Neto + Ish Smith

    Honorable mention to ORL, as without Fultz they’re sporting this PG rotation – Cole Anthony + Carter-Williams + Chasson Randle + Devin Cannady

  38. Sato would be by far the best point guard on this team.

    Westbrook is interesting. He’s obviously not someone I’d ever want on the Knicks, but, like another guy I’d never want on the Knicks, John Wall, it isn’t that he’s bad. He just isn’t nearly good enough to warrant making so much money while also too famous to make him take a back seat on your team, as well. But Westbrook would also be the best point guard on the Knicks.

  39. cybersoze: And it’s not 3rd or 2nd

    So you’d trade our PG rotation – Elfrid DRose Frank Harper – with which team?
    CHI – Satoransky Coby White Arcidiacono Devon Dotson Javonte Green
    CLE – Garland Damyean Dotson Dellavedova
    DET – Killian Hayes DSJ Cory Joseph Saben Lee Frank Jackson
    WAS – Russell Westbrook Raul Neto Ish Smith

    Honorable mention to ORL, as without Fultz they’re sporting this PG rotation – Cole Anthony Carter-Williams Chasson Randle Devin Cannady

    Oh, I was joking. But there’s only 2 teams worse than ours and there’s some big caveats to those.

    Satoransky & Garland both seem a lot better than any of our guys. Plus, CHI has LaVine play some PG and CLE has Sexton do the same.

    Westbrook is godawful so WAS is worse, but I’d probably trade any of our PGs for Neto. Even here it’s close if not for Westbrook’s contract.

    DET is a joke but that’s largely because they had a fire sale of all their assets, including Delon Wright & Rose who would easily be better than our PGs.

  40. Satoranksy is sneaky good, he’s in that TJ McConnell tier of reliably competent but unspectacular point guards. I kind of wanted us to pick him up a couple years back but it never happened.

  41. Satoranksy is sneaky good, he’s in that TJ McConnell tier of reliably competent but unspectacular point guards. I kind of wanted us to pick him up a couple years back but it never happened.

    I was fine with him in theory, but he seemed like an odd expenditure at the time for such a shitty team. I think he fits better on a good team. But then he signed for such a cheap deal with Chicago that I do think it would have been worth it (3 years/$30 million, only half of the third season guaranteed). Chicago did have to give up two seconds in the deal, though).

  42. Brian Cronin: I was fine with him in theory, but he seemed like an odd expenditure at the time for such a shitty team. I think he fits better on a good team. But then he signed for such a cheap deal with Chicago that I do think it would have been worth it (3 years/$30 million, only half of the third season guaranteed). Chicago did have to give up two seconds in the deal, though).

    I’m definitely looking at this with some hindsight bias haha, since Satoransky would be such an upgrade over Payton just by being reasonably competent at an affordable pricetag.

  43. Rose would be better if he was on Detroit than he is with us now?

    I’m trying to keep things in perspective this season. We got so much work to do in front of us in the off season and next year. But at least the effort and defensive foundation has been laid and we know that Randle and RJ are keepers, to some degree.

    We need dynamic guard play no doubt. Its been destroying the Knicks for so long now its ridiculous. Sign Ball. Draft PG’s and guards who can shoot and handle the rock. Develop the hell outta IQ this off season. IF we do that, we can jump to the next level, which is good but not great teams. Then its just wait for a star to emerge on the market (or hopefully luck into drafting one).

  44. swiftandabundant: Rose would be better if he was on Detroit than he is with us now?

    Nah, the rotation of Wright + Rose would be better than the rotation of L-frid + Rose

  45. L-frid makes me laugh…man, that dude is just getting crushed on social media…i can’t imagine he’ll be too sad to see his time as a knick come to an end…

    no doubt, it’ll bring tears of joy to our eyes…

  46. ESPN fired NBA analyst Paul Pierce after the Boston Celtics legend posted a racy Instagram Live video over the weekend. The video featured Pierce in a room with exotic dancers.

    On Monday, Pierce posted a short video of him smiling with the caption, “Big Things coming soon stay tuned make sure u smile #Truthshallsetufree.”
    Later on Monday, he tweeted again writing, “I can’t lose even when I lose I’m winning.”

    whoa, i wonder what kind of drugs pierce is on???

    not the exotic dancers, or maskless encounter stuff, but, getting fired for doing dumb shit (broadcasting your adult romp, while still being employed by Disney) and then coming out with some mania type exclamation that all is better than before…

  47. Just a silly ESPN list, of course, but their 25 under 25 (based on future potential) seems a bit all over the place after Luka and Zion, which both make sense.

    Luka
    Zion
    LaMelo
    Donovan
    Tatum
    Fox
    Simmons
    Booker
    Bam
    Shai
    Ingram
    Brown
    Murray
    Porter Jr.
    Ja
    Trae
    Mikal
    Sabonis
    Edwards
    Ayton
    Haliburton
    Collins
    Jarrett Allen
    Lonzo
    Sexton

    No RJ at all. Harsh. Fascinating to see Mikal on the list. Has ESPN not seen him play 3-on-3?

  48. Brian Cronin:

    No RJ at all. Harsh. Fascinating to see Mikal on the list. Has ESPN not seen him play 3-on-3?

    i saw that too…actually…RJ was number 23 on one of the guys’ ballots…that was the lone knick appearance…

  49. Brian Cronin:
    Just a silly ESPN list, of course, but their 25 under 25 (based on future potential) seems a bit all over the place after Luka and Zion, which both make sense.

    Luka
    Zion
    LaMelo
    Donovan
    Tatum
    Fox
    Simmons
    Booker
    Bam
    Shai
    Ingram
    Brown
    Murray
    Porter Jr.
    Ja
    Trae
    Mikal
    Sabonis
    Edwards
    Ayton
    Haliburton
    Collins
    Jarrett Allen
    Lonzo
    Sexton

    No RJ at all. Harsh. Fascinating to see Mikal on the list. Has ESPN not seen him play 3-on-3?

    25 yo is a weird choice outside of the obvious reason. It’s really not that young in the NBA.

    Lonzo & Jarrett Allen are weird inclusions over RJ

  50. 25 yo is a weird choice outside of the obvious reason. It’s really not that young in the NBA.

    I think it’s just for the 25 for 25 effect. But yes, 25 is a very weird age to choose.

  51. I’m not even going to dignify the list with a counter-argument. It’s clickbait, designed to pull viewers back to ESPN after casuals were let down by Gonzaga shitting the bed. And 25 is generally considered the beginning of one’s prime, so it makes sense that they’re using it for idle speculation.

    That said, the crazy thing about the list is that there’s Luka and Zion at the top of the list, where they should be, but neither of them are any good on defense, and there’s really no reason to believe they’ll ever have the impact that the perennially elite have had. Luka will win an MVP or three someday, and Zion will win at least one himself, but there’s no LeBron on the list to dominate both ends of the ball deep into June for a decade straight.

  52. Brian Cronin:
    Just a silly ESPN list, of course, but their 25 under 25 (based on future potential) seems a bit all over the place after Luka and Zion, which both make sense.

    Luka
    Zion
    LaMelo
    Donovan
    Tatum
    Fox
    Simmons
    Booker
    Bam
    Shai
    Ingram
    Brown
    Murray
    Porter Jr.
    Ja
    Trae
    Mikal
    Sabonis
    Edwards
    Ayton
    Haliburton
    Collins
    Jarrett Allen
    Lonzo
    Sexton

    No RJ at all. Harsh. Fascinating to see Mikal on the list. Has ESPN not seen him play 3-on-3?

    Today has been a harsh day for my mental sanity, so I’ll refuse to comment on this list… :-)

  53. Anyone change their mind and think we should pay a premium to make sure we get Lonzo Ball and finally end this PG drama once and for all?

    We also still need a #1 option closer unless we are counting on RJ becoming that player either next year or the year after that. If we pay Lonzo a lot of money it could get tricky to bring a star in. Personally, I’d like to keep Nerlens, Burks, and maybe even Bullock. It’s going to get expensive.

    Imo we should use those Dallas picks for something other than what will likely be role players. We have to either move up to get a potential star/legit PG in the draft or use them as part of a trade. If we could add Lonzo and an all star scorer (or prospect) in the off season and bring back 2 out of 3 of Nerlens, Burks, and Bullock I think we could be very good next year.

  54. A lot of the players on that list are obviously better than RJ at this stage (many also older). There are reasons I think he’s underrated, but I couldn’t be happier with his progress. I knew he could score inside, make some plays, and rebound a little. I was worried about his defense, going right, and his outside shot. Now it’s starting to look like he can become a plus defender and average or better 3 point shooter. The rest of the world can underrate him all they want. I think he’s clearly going to become a player that’s good enough to be a key piece on a contender. We just have no idea where the top is yet.

  55. The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    Lonzo isn’t really a PG anymore.

    IMO, he has good passing skills and is a natural PG. If the Pelicans want to run the offense through Zion and Ingram and stick Lonzo in the corner to shoot 3s, that’s fine. That doesn’t mean we have to use him that way. I’d like to see him get out and run and maybe even find Obi in transition once in awhile. We have to do something at PG. I’ve been patient with Payton hoping he could improve his shot just a bit, but we desperately need a starting PG. I think it will help a lot.

  56. THCJ is right, he’s not a “true” PG anymore but for me is “get Lonzo or get lucky in the draft”.

    We could try our luck in the draft before deciding what to do with Lonzo, because we’re surely going to overpay him, but that’s life in the NBA.

    We desperately need help in the backcourt, we can not afford to roll over a rotation of Payton-Rose-IQ even with Randle point-forwarding and the FAs market is poor (I don’t think CP3 will decline his option).

  57. Anyone change their mind and think we should pay a premium to make sure we get Lonzo Ball and finally end this PG drama once and for all?

    i wouldn’t have been heartbroken if we had pulled in both ball and bledsoe at the trade deadline…

    i’m not sure what it would have cost – but yeah, hard to win games without a starting point guard – i know, i’ve been watching the New York Knickerbockers try to win without one for years…

  58. The main problems with Lonzo are:

    He can’t get to the FT line
    He sucks at running pick and roll

    These are two things I really want my PG to be able to do.

  59. THCJ is right, he’s not a “true” PG anymore

    I don’t think his current role on the Pelicans is his choice or indicative of what he’s capable of. It’s Stan Van Gundy choice. That’s specifically what his father was complaining about and why he wanted him traded. The question isn’t what is he doing on that team. The question is what is he capable of doing. If you think he doesn’t have PG skills, that would be a different issue. I’ll try to watch some more Pelicans basketball.

  60. How well Lonzo fits will depend a lot on Lonzo’s salary, the NBA salary cap, & the longterm contracts we sign between now and then.

    Lonzo at the salary I expect he commands will be close to preventing us from opening a max salary spot in 2022. If we sign Lonzo for $20M for his 2nd year and sign Mitch to a contract prior to 2022, then we probably can’t sign a max contract player unless we trade Obi or sign Randle for $25M, maybe both.

    It’s difficult to find solid PGs, so I’m not necessarily against spending a lot on a Lonzo, but he needs to take a number of steps forward to be worth that deal since he doesn’t run the offense.

  61. he needs to take a number of steps forward to be worth that deal since he doesn’t run the offense.

    Doesn’t on the Pelicans or can’t?

  62. I’m rooting for the Bulls against Indiana. I think it’s unlikely for the Bulls or Raptors to catch us, so my focus is on Indiana, if we win and lose at the same clip as them, we’ll be 8th. And as Brian says, the difference is huuuuuuuge.

  63. Deeefense: Doesn’t on the Pelicans or can’t?

    If he can, then I’d probably favor signing him at around $20M/yr. I don’t watch games outside the Knicks, so I can’t say one way or another.

    But at $20M for Ball we likely need to dance around the cap to have a 2022 max slot open, even if we do nothing but sign the 6 draft picks coming our way between now and 2022 FA.

    So I’m just noting that the cost may be more than his salary alone if we want to sign Beal, Harden, KD, or whoever else is available in 2022. Definitely doable, but it starts getting complicated.

  64. geo: getting fired for doing dumb shit (broadcasting your adult romp, while still being employed by Disney)

    This reminded me of one of my favorite short stories — really a sub-story in a set of three — by Harlan Ellison on exactly this topic. You can read it here, it’s the third one, Labor Relations (they’re all good, but Labor Relations stayed with me all these years for some reason… especially the end line). http://harlanellison.com/iwrite/mostimp.htm

  65. that was a great read Raven :)

    wow, how absolutely skilled with words Harlan Ellison is, it’s like he’s writing music…

    sounds like he was a pretty flaky dude though…yeah, nobody fucks with The Mouse

    what really made me smile with the pierce thing was his alonzo harris’: even when I lose I’m winning, sure thing kong…turns out those words are actually part of some song lyrics…not surprised by that…

  66. Raptors down 26 at halftime to the Lakers. But they’re due to get hot any day now and eventually pass the Knicks in the standings….

  67. ***this season i’m doing a little bit of what donnie do – being more careful with how much of my time and emotion i devote to the knicks…***

    I drove through Redlands today coming back from the desert, and I thought quietly to myself “I wonder what geo is doing right now”…

  68. ***desmond bane is already an incredibly solid nba player for a rookie picked 30th***

    Other than sit doe-eyed at the fedex forum, what do you like to do on your weekly jaunts to Memphis? Visit Graceland? Eat slow-cooked barbecue? Take the Sun Records guided studio tour?

  69. I drove through Redlands today coming back from the desert, and I thought quietly to myself “I wonder what geo is doing right now”…

    well now, this caused a bit of reflection…dang my life is pretty routined, chances are about 100% i was either:
    eating
    smoking
    working
    gardening
    video games/tv

    i mix it up a bunch on the weekends and add in: cooking and cleaning for the kids…

    a life well spent, yeah, not so sure about that…

    one of the boys asked me to take them fishing, thought of all the times over the years i took their sister fishing, and we never caught a thing…yep, not such a dynamo dad…

    i think the real thing that stuck out to me regarding the pierce story – was envy…

  70. PTMilo and Fastbreak Breakfast should definitely go get some hot chicken.

    It’s hard not to look at the Grizzlies and think the Knicks could be like them, if DRed had been given the reins.

  71. i’ve only been to memphis a couple of times irl but if it knew my league pass behavior a restraining order wouldn’t be out of the question

  72. BigBlueAL:
    Raptors down 26 at halftime to the Lakers.But they’re due to get hot any day now and eventually pass the Knicks in the standings….

    This schtick is tired. Most of the people on here saying are now saying the Raptors are probably leaning into the tank for this year.

  73. This schtick is tired. Most of the people on here saying are now saying the Raptors are probably leaning into the tank for this year.

    With Lowry and VanVleet out, I don’t think there’s really any other option for them, right?

  74. No need to worry about landing Lonzo Ball in RFA when Jalen Brunson can walk to us in UFA whenever Dallas decides to let his contract run out. Is it embarrassing that:

    1) We didn’t draft him or Mikal Bridges in 2018?
    2) We didn’t ask for him instead of/along with DSJr in the KP trade?

    Yes! Maybe not so bad that we didn’t draft him because we ended up with Mitchell Robinson, but Brunson is the guy we need and he’ll never be an RFA because Dallas gave him a non-guaranteed 4th year instead of a team option on the 4th year. He’s our guy, and it would be very embarrassing to offer Dallas one of their picks back in return for him but he would change a lot for our team. If Leon Rose can’t get his first NBA client’s son to come join his point-guard needy playoff team in New York we should just fire him now.

  75. I don’t think Brunson was ever on the table in the KP deal. Dallas was already trying to move Smith at the time. As for Brunson, the Mavs will have his full Bird Rights next offseason, right? After they extend Luka this offseason and probably sign one other notable name (and maybe bring Hardaway back), wouldn’t it make more sense for them to just use his Bird Rights to keep him on a sizable contract?

    But yes, it is true that he will be unrestricted, so the Knicks could pay him whatever the Mavs could (although who knows what the Knicks’ cap will look like next offseason).

  76. And Rick Brunson was literally Leon Rose’s first client, and one of the people to whom he’s closest on the earth. So I imagine this is a situation where Jalen Brunson would probably want to come here if all other things were relatively equal.

  77. Brian Cronin:
    I don’t think Brunson was ever on the table in the KP deal. Dallas was already trying to move Smith at the time. As for Brunson, the Mavs will have his full Bird Rights next offseason, right? After they extend Luka this offseason and probably sign one other notable name (and maybe bring Hardaway back), wouldn’t it make more sense for them to just use his Bird Rights to keep him on a sizable contract?

    But yes, it is true that he will be unrestricted, so the Knicks could pay him whatever the Mavs could (although who knows what the Knicks’ cap will look like next offseason).

    Leon Rose notwithstanding, you have to think that if the Knicks want Brunson they’ll probably be able to get him — or maybe more fairly, I think it will be difficult for Dallas to keep him if another team offers him a starting PG job and $. With Luka on the team, Brunson will never be more than a backup PG playing 25 minutes/game – sure they could “start” him, but it makes a lot more sense for Dallas to commit those $ to wing defenders and shooters to decrease Luka’s workload on the other end. It just doesn’t make sense for Dallas to commit starting PG dollars to someone of Brunson’s description, especially with KP on a max deal and Luka presumably on a max extension. And that’s assuming Brunson even wants to stay. Dallas will have his Bird rights but he’ll be unrestricted.

  78. I saw the Heat signed Dwayne Dedmon. IMHO we would have been better off signing Dedmon than the combo of Henson and Pelle. Henson/Pelle are fine in their own right, but how about having some diversification of skill sets? How many non-shooting rim-protecting bigs does one team need? Both RJ and Randle would greatly benefit from having a floor-spacing big on the floor with them.

  79. Frank:
    I saw the Heat signed Dwayne Dedmon.IMHO we would have been better off signing Dedmon than the combo of Henson and Pelle.Henson/Pelle are fine in their own right, but how about having some diversification of skill sets? How many non-shooting rim-protecting bigs does one team need? Both RJ and Randle would greatly benefit from having a floor-spacing big on the floor with them.

    I’m not expecting both Pelle and Henson to be here for the rest of the season. Thibs even said they wanted to get both in to check them out. My guess is that after one or two 10-day contract periods, the loser gets cut and we explore other options with the last roster spot.

  80. Both RJ and Randle would greatly benefit from having a floor-spacing big on the floor with them.

    We should have kept, ah nevermind.

    Luke Kornet? :-)

  81. I’ve been clamoring for Brunson all season, but now that everyone knows how good he is, I suspect he won’t come cheaply in a trade or as a free agent.

  82. Brian Cronin: With Lowry and VanVleet out, I don’t think there’s really any other option for them, right?

    IMO they have a better team than us, but it has been “one of those seasons” where everything that could go wrong went wrong. They aren’t going to win a title this year and most of their good young players already have playoff experience and are battle tested. It probably makes sense to just throw in the towel and play out the season. They probably have a few young players that would benefit a bit from extra minutes. I’m not sure they will do that yet though. There are still enough games left to make a playoff run with all the mediocre teams above them. 1-2 will probably finish off the season poorly (hopefully not us). All they need to do is to win a few games and they’ll be right back in the playoff mix. It may be too soon to all out tank.

  83. April 9th is the deadline for a player to be waived and be playoff eligible. Any way Ujiri does Lowry a solid by buying him out and letting him sign with a playoff team?

    The Athletic produced a podcast trolling the Dolan era called Shattered:Hope, Heartbreak and the New York Knicks for those who want an extra dose of masochism.
    This is the link from The Athletic ( it may be available to non-subscribers as well
    https://theathletic.com/podcast/246-shattered-hope-heartbreak-and-the-new-york-knicks/?episode=2

  84. I’m surprised Toronto has struggled as much a they have, but they also have every excuse in the world (and I mean that literally, as they can’t even play in their own country this year, and have been deported as a group to Florida. They are basically the NBA equivalent of the Acadians during the Great Expulsion of 1755).

  85. Not saying it’s right or wrong as I don’t know how well their model has performed historically but 538 still thinks Toronto’s odds of making the playoffs (by which it means the top 8 after the play-in) are pretty close to ours, 35% vs 40%. You definitely get the feeling that there’s something going on behind the scenes there because they’ve had some really troubling losses but they’re still only a couple games out of the play-in and have one of the biggest discrepancies between net rating and team record I ever remember. If it comes down to it I’d much rather face Chicago or the Hornets than them in a play-in game.

  86. I saw the Heat signed Dwayne Dedmon. IMHO we would have been better off signing Dedmon than the combo of Henson and Pelle.

    This was my first reaction too. For the love of god can we trot out one single lineup in which everyone can shoot? If we’re not going to take flyers on younger guys with upside, it would be nice if we could at least sign someone who gives us a different look.

    April 9th is the deadline for a player to be waived and be playoff eligible. Any way Ujiri does Lowry a solid by buying him out and letting him sign with a playoff team?

    No chance, this would prevent them from being able to sign-and-trade him in the offseason.

    Re: Brunson, I’d be completely fine paying him provided that he remains this good in 2021-2022. If you shoot 40% from 3 and play point guard reasonably well, you will not become an albatross without an injury.

  87. The Honorable Cock Jowles: https://www.si.com/nba/raptors/news/toronto-raptors-battle-covid19-issues-detroit-pistons-game

    The Raptors are 3-14 since pretty much their entire team contracted COVID.

    I wonder how much of that is the players missing games and the just the typical “get back in stroke” part of basketball when you are hurt or out sick and how much is the toll Covid takes on a players wind, stamina etc… that goes beyond normal injuries. I can’t remember who it was, but I’m pretty sure I read a quote (maybe from Boston) where someone was saying about month after he still wasn’t 100% even though he fit enough to play.

  88. VanVleet revealed that he tested positive for the virus, adding that the symptoms gave him some problems.

    “I wouldn’t wish it on anybody,” VanVleet said. “But I’m here, I’m alive, I’m breathing and I know there’s a lot of people that didn’t make it through COVID. So, my thoughts and my heart are with the families and people that’ve been affected by this thing that weren’t as fortunate as I was — as I am.”

    VanVleet said he was dealing with body aches, a fever and other issues. He also had to separate himself from his family and teammates immediately after testing positive.

    “At that point, it was just a matter of trying to get somewhere and get isolated and get away from my kids and my girl and my family,” VanVleet said. “I hunkered down. I had it. I had symptoms, a few days of symptoms. It was pretty rough, a few of those days.”

  89. thenoblefacehumper: If we’re not going to take flyers on younger guys with upside, it would be nice if we could at least sign someone who gives us a different look.

    Pelle & Henson aren’t young but conceivably play well enough for a cheap 2-3yr deal to backup Mitch so we don’t need to commit big money to keep Noel.

    We also have up to 4(!) draft picks coming this year. We probably won’t have room, or at least playing time, for young guys outside of those 4 (plus Obi & Knox) for next year.

    That said, I have no idea who is out there and open to someone presenting a talented young player. But this hole is pretty short term & even mid-term Pelle or Henson potentially have a lot of value.

  90. JK47:
    It was pretty enjoyable watching Marcus Stroman generate ten million ground balls yesterday

    Watching Cole strike out 13 batters was pretty enjoyable too :-)

  91. I guess my issue with Brunson to the Knicks (beyond whether “My father’s agent”/”The son of my first client” is actually anything more than trivia) is that he’s not going to be a free agent until next season. I don’t think any of us have any real idea what the Knick cap will look like next season, other than knowing that they’ll have to make a choice on Randle (who will also be unrestricted) and Mitch (who will also be unrestricted). Depending on what they do this offseason, will they even have the cap room to outbid teams for Brunson (especially since the Mavs can exceed the cap to resign him or, in the alternative, could trade him to another team where that team could exceed the cap to resign him).

  92. Brian Cronin: oice on Randle (who will also be unrestricted) and Mitch (who will also be unrestricted). Depending on what they do this offseason, will they even have the cap room to outbid teams

    Before re-signing anyone and without signing anyone new, the Knicks will have about $50M in cap space in 2022. This assumes ~$17M to rookies (signing 3 firsts & 3 seconds between 2021 & 2022). Our roster is RJ, Obi, IQ, 6 rookies, Randle’s cap hold, & Mitch’s cap hold. We let go of Knox & his cap hold. There’s a negligible, for this approximation, 1 open roster spot hold.

    But yes, a lot can change which I think is your point. And $50M sounds like a lot but the 10yr vets will likely cost over $40M, which is basically all the big FAs except Randle, LaVine, and Rozier.

  93. But yes, a lot can change which I think is your point. And $50M sounds like a lot but the 10yr vets will likely cost over $40M, which is basically all the big FAs except Randle, LaVine, and Rozier.

    Oh yeah, I agree that they’d be fine with cap room next season provided they don’t do anything this offseason, and that’s where I find it hard to believe that they won’t do anything this offseason.

  94. Brian Cronin: Oh yeah, I agree that they’d be fine with cap room next season provided they don’t do anything this offseason, and that’s where I find it hard to believe that they won’t do anything this offseason.

    I think that’s a fair assumption. Depends if Thibs wins the room over Brock Aller (and whatever Wes is arguing for), but Thibs is going to demand something happens this year.

    At the very least, I expect Rose to be signed for ~$3-5M/yr for at least 2 years.

  95. Maxing Lonzo seems to be the most likely move, I think. And if that is the move, then is there even room/reason to also sign Brunson the next season? That’s why I think the Brunson stuff seems premature. That said, sure, they could just trade for Brunson and skip Lonzo all together, but what do the Knicks have that the Mavs want? I don’t think their own first is going to be too compelling to them when they’re already good and looking to max out their team around Luka. Basically, if the Mavs trade Brunson, I think it will be for a good veteran player. A good young point guard who makes no money? That should be a very valuable asset on the trade market for Dallas (if they even plan on moving on from him at all, of course).

  96. I have 2 co-workers who got covid back in December over the holidays. They aren’t even sure how as they did not visit family over that time. Maybe just from going to the grocery store.

    Neither had bad cases at all. They were over it in about a week. But both have had fatigue, chills and body aches that have lingered for months now. Not anything debilitating but just zapping some of their energy. This shit is no joke. It amazes me even now how cavalier people are about it cause who the F would want recurring headaches and chills for months on end?

    So it does not surprise me to hear these athletes aren’t fully 100 percent. They can play with a cold, for example, but its not ideal.

  97. we have a roster full of reasonable contracts, it’ll be interesting with whom we spend more than 20 million a year on…

    in order, here’s whom I’d want to keep going forward:
    RJ
    julius
    mitch
    burks
    quik
    noel
    reggie

    hopefully at least one of our 1st round picks can play in a game…toss in rose and taj, cuz thibs won’t let go…

    and I hope against all hope – that we somehow add a starting point guard…pick one…

    every year they’re available and moving around, for whatever reason, we’re morally opposed to adding one to our roster…

  98. The Jazz seem to be this year’s great (but are they?) team. They’re in the middle of a super easy schedule and when they finally got a good team like the Mavs (who were playing without KP), they lost.

  99. BigBlueAL: If you go by net rating and point differential the Knicks record should be 27-24.

    The Blazers are 30-20 with a point differential of 0 (zero!) !? :O How about that?

  100. Brian Cronin: Maxing Lonzo seems to be the most likely move, I think.

    Max seems steep, but I could definitely see us doing it. I’d guess $25M is more than other teams will want to offer, but we’ll see. Could also change depending on who we draft.

    Dinwiddie is the other big name potential FA PG that could make a difference.

    Dennis Schroder is a good bargain play, & I’m not sure he’s much worse than Dinwiddie or Ball.

    We could always do something really funky like trade Randle and sign John Collins if ATL doesn’t match. This probably maximizes value, but obviously there’s some other risks involved.

    Who we draft, or what moves we make during the draft, will probably change things a lot too. If a PG that Rose likes falls to us, then maybe we don’t go all-in at PG with our cap space.

  101. Of course, there’s also the absolutely legendary Knicks move: signing THJr for a 3rd time.

    Honestly, not even sure that would be a terrible move at this point.

  102. Z-man: As measuring sticks for team efficacy go, point differential is a very blunt instrument…

    Sure, and the instrument gets duller with smaller sample sizes, COVID and scheduled rest. 538’s ELO is my go-to, at this point. SRS is fun for historical analysis but it’s still mostly SOS and MOV jammed together.

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