NY Post: Elfrid Payton clinging to Knicks starting spot with stellar defense

From Marc Berman:

Like a cat’s nine lives, Elfrid Payton has survived all point-guard comers to hold onto the starting job for a second straight season — even turning back surging rookie Immanuel Quickley.

Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina have proved no competition — each suffering early-season injuries to eliminate them as contenders. Each will be trade bait at the March 25 deal deadline.

Austin Rivers overcame a groin injury that put him out of the preseason and the season’s first four games. After a hot start, Rivers has leveled off.

Quickley keeps on charging, but Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said after Sunday’s victory in Boston that Payton will remain the starter over the rookie because of one thing: defense.

It’s a new thread!

2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Magic

The Knicks host the Magic on their annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee (I used to go these a lot back in the day). The Knicks actually WEREN’T home last year, which irritated the Knicks a lot (they were also on the road in 2018, but that was because of a scheduling conflict with the Grammys). So even though there won’t be an audience, I’m still glad to see the Knicks back at the Garden for MLK Day.

The Magic have been struggling, so this would be a nice game for the Knicks to snare on the back end of a back-to-back. Hopefully Quickley will continue his strong play from the last few games and hopefully Toppin continues to improve after a good game against the Celtics.

Let’s go, get closer to .500, Knicks!

And happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, everyone!

2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks @ the Cavs’ New All-Center Starting Lineup

Now that Jarrett Allen is on the Cavaliers and the Cavaliers’ starting backcourt is out due to injury, I think they’ll probably go something like:

Javale McGee at the point (they actually tried a little bit of point McGee in the preseason, hilariously)
Andre Drummond at shooting guard
Larry Nance at the three
Thon Maker at power forward
Jarrett Allen at center

All-Center lineup!

The Knicks finally catch a team that is A. also missing a bunch of guys and B. is also in the middle of a comedown losing streak following a surprisingly good start to the season, so this is sort of like the movable object facing off against the resistible force. Someone is going to leave here at 6-7, why not the Knicks?

Let’s go, bounceback game Knicks!

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Brooklyn Nets 116 – New York Knicks 109 – Game Recap

Oh, so you thought I wrote only when the Knicks won? Nah, if that was the case there’s a good chance I’d write again in mid-February. Sometimes I have a hour or so to allocate to Knicks writing, sometimes I don’t. This time I do, and it won’t be pretty.

I wish I knew who flipped the switch and what kind of switch it was, but since the last notch in the W column the Knicks have lost 4 straight (well whatever, we kinda expected the Knicks to be 5-7 or worse at this point) and have done so in a very dispiriting fashion. Don’t get fooled by the final score: the Knicks were down 18 with less than 3:30 to play in the fourth. It was a clear specimen of fake, belated and deflated comeback on the heels of the fact that the Nets had understandably checked out. Yeah, Durant got inserted back in the game with 17 seconds to go but I don’t think that counts as a moral victory: if you have a devastating offensive weapon who has to be accounted even 40 feet from the basket and who’s automatic from the stripe, you don’t even have him to break a sweat. You just deploy him in his sweet pajamas and just go along with it as you’re nonchalantly eating away your petit patisserie because it’s suddenly 300% easier to ensure the win. So yeah, no moral victories here.

And look, there’s not much to say about the game either: after a sloppy but well-fought first quarter, that saw the Knicks going down just by one at the buzzer (but only because Randle was hitting from the outside, and you know that’s kind of an outlier), the Nets pulled away because, well, the Knicks were characteristically shooting sideways and quite uncharacteristically – at least based on the first two weeks – defending like they were Abercrombie and Fitch models outside a store: they’re there to look qutie athletic and they’re more likely to step away as soon as you make a move to go inside. At the half, the combined shooting performance from the field of our starting guards and wings was 2 for 19.

During the third the two teams exchanged blows, only the Knicks were already down 16 so it was like watching a goblin and a dragon trading dice rolls hitting each other for 4HP every round: it’s clear who’s gonna win and it still looks like the dragon isn’t even trying while the goblin is laboring like hell just to put a dent on a marginal dragon scale. One sequence told the tale: Randle huffing and puffing and contorting for fifteen seconds and then jumping and gathering his legs like a shrimp interpretative dance and finally shooting just to hit a jumper, and ten seconds later Durant, effortless as ever, hit a midrange two with the same difficulty with which I hit the +30s button on NBA League Pass as soon as a shooting foul is whistled.

The fourth was exactly like the third until 3:30 to the end; the Knicks started eating away at the gap but it was clear that they wouldn’t go nowhere, it was just like those restoration plans that transform old, ugly suburb barracks into fake new, still ugly suburb condos.

In a word: meh.

Oh and I didn’t even touch the subject of the day: the Nets were depleted thanks to their dubious, at least to me, Harden trade. They were forced to play some guy named Reggie Perry 22 (goodish) minutes and paisà Chris Chiozza 24 minutes. KD was playing his first back to back in two years. Bruce Brown was their starting point guard. I mean, KD is playing like his injury almost never happened, but apart from him and Joe Harris everything else should have been jetsam and flotsam, but alas, they thoroughly dominated us.

The good, in haikus:

The energy gone
Still put on thirty points here
Gawd-fugly to watch

Ignored by his mates
He learned not to foul at last
I feel bad for him

The bad, in haikus:

What noise does it make
When your hard to love point guard
Hit nothing but rims?

Thibs gave him the nod
Results are so bad

Boredom-sized bits:

– During the third quarter RJ experienced a scoring surge (he started 0-for-5 but ended the game 7-for-15), but amusingly enough it didn’t translate to team success. It’s almost like RJ scoring points have a 0 R-squared effect on how the team plays. That isn’t necessarily bad news, but his skills package still doesn’t make any sense with this roster. Still, a kinda good showing all in all by the sophomore: 20 points, 3 boards, 5 assists. Quite bad on defense, though.

– For such a supposedly capable shooter, Immanuel Quickley’s shot had a bad form from the arc. When he shoots from three it looks like he makes the ball roll up half his right palm and only then he releases it. That shot has a skinny kid at YMCA vibe. Not a totally bad performance per se, but since we need someone, sooner or later, to replace Payton at the helm, if only to preserve our collective sanity in watching a coherent offensive unit, this still won’t do. But it’s good to know the guy can score 19 in 22 minutes in just his 8th NBA game.

– What’s the matter playing (?) Obi 57 seconds? Was Obi dying to tell his grandchildren one day “hey you know what in my second NBA game I played against Kevin Durant”?

– Is Kevin Knox suddenly our best shooter? I can live all day with Knox shooting 6 corner threes per game. Everything else, eh.

– A very undervalued effect of putting on the court so many non-shooters is that when you can’t buy a bucket the overall intensity diminishes by a lot. You could see it in full effect during this game: the effort was never there. No momentum whatsoever, and so many botched defensive possessions. We direly need to shake things up and put more shooting in the starting five. I would try to see what happens putting IQ-token 2 guard-RJ-Knox-Mitch for long stretches. Not saying they should start. But I’d love for that unit to play consistently together, even swapping RJ with Randle if need be.

– Do you really like the Nets trade? I don’t know. Offensively speaking, they look like they have the most firepower anyone has ever had in 75 years of NBA. But I don’t like the characters and I don’t like the chemistry. I also don’t like giving up Jarrett Allen. I think Houston came out very well (not a fan of Dipo there but whatever), I think Indiana did good and I don’t know why Cleveland was the one to get Jarrett Allen but good for them. But if you ask me, unless Sean Marks pull a few championship specials and Steve Nash finds a way to stagger that Big 3, the Nets are due for a few ECF losses. At best. Now, if they flip Irving for some defensive talent…

– Thibs’ well-timed TOs are less a thing than before. Everything’s slipping these days. Body language is bad. Did something happen in the locker room? We were supposed to suck, but this can’t be just a reality check. Something must have been the decisive spark. But what was it?

So many questions, so little time. So much suckitude.

Until next!



2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks vs Kevin Durant, Joe Harris and Three Guys Off The Street

The Knicks host the Nets tonight on the heels of the Nets both A. defeating the Denver Nuggets and B. trading for James Harden in a blockbuster deal where the Nets have promised the Nets their next 27 first round picks and the first born children of Joe Harris and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot

So the Nets will be very undermanned tonight, so the Knicks have a very good chance to get back to .500 tonight!

The Knicks also get Taj Gibson and Obi Toppin back tonight, but Toppin might not play (as he is a bit rusty).

Let’s go, getting back to .500, Knicks!

Since they’re playing the Nets, we have a return of our all-poll content!

If I set the over at 0.5 titles for the Durant/Harden Nets, would you take...

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2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks @ Hornets

Well, I guess having optimism about the Knicks was the bad way to handle things. Normally, I’d say, “Charlotte is another team that you’d think that the Knicks could handle,” but how about – Charlotte? No way that the Knicks can beat Charlotte! Charlotte is way out of the Knicks’ league!

So there, let’s see how that goes.

Let’s go, don’t fall under .500 Knicks!