2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks @ Thunder Without SGA

The Knicks head to Oklahoma City this afternoon to take on the SGA-less OKC Thunder.

The Knicks are in the midst of a tough four-game road trip and holy shit, did they need to hear that SGA wasn’t going to play today! He’s by far the best player on OKC and pretty much where all of their offense comes from, so the Knicks really should be able to get this one and get back over .500 ahead of a tough back-to-back in Brooklyn and Philadelphia on Monday and Tuesday night (I swear, even though they’ve been in Brooklyn for almost a decade, I still instinctively think of them as the New Jersey Nets).

No Elfrid Payton or Derrick Rose today, so Frank Ntilikina is starting once again. It’s hilarious how it feels like he is either starting or glued to the bench. I imagine that this means that we’ll see some Point Burks today, which is gross, but, well, I mean, it’s the SGA-less Thunder, the Knicks could have Eddy Curry (2021 Eddy Curry, even!) playing the point and they should be able to pull this game off.

Let’s go get over .500, Knicks!

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192 thoughts to “2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks @ Thunder Without SGA”

  1. Frank starting at PG? Square peg and round hole, but I realize the team is desperate at this time.

  2. TheClashFan:
    Frank starting at PG?Square peg and round hole, but I realize the team is desperate at this time.

    I am playing La Marseillaise in honor of Frank’s start.

  3. Unfortunately game is on NBA TV so cant watch it on League Pass which means I’m stuck watching the OKC broadcast.

  4. It’s silly to say Frank is playing PG because he almost never has the ball to even try to create a shot, penetrate, or make a play. The strategy seems to be that there is no PG. Whoever has the ball tries to do something and when he gets stopped pass the ball (or Randle shoots). lol

  5. flipping back and forth from ranger game…seen quickley getting abused twice on d…

  6. Just talking about how dumb it was for Frank to get in foul trouble when the Knicks were thin at guard and he had an opportunity to play

  7. wow, I don’t know any of these guys out on the court for OKC…

    hopefully his teammates look to get the ball to RJ more…

  8. Is it me or are short-shorts working their way back into the NBA? Maybe it’s a tribute to Bo Nateman…

  9. Horrible play by Taj. He doubled Dort 40 feet from the basket as they held for the last shot. Dort made one pass and the Thunder had a dunk before Taj could recover.

  10. i like how quick tried to actually make the shot there an not draw the bullshit leanto foul

  11. Fire Thibs and call the tank commander to duty! Where’s Rambis when you need him. :-)

  12. okay i see quick starting the second half and breaking his career hi of 31 who’s with me

  13. ptmilo:
    okay i see quick starting the second half and breaking his career hi of 31 who’s with me

    I am but I doubt Thibs is

  14. Quick is starting to remind me of Hardaway except that he’s not overpaid and I like him. He looks more like a 6th man to me so far.

  15. Z-man:
    Who’s the dude with the neckroll afro

    I think he’s the Williams for the Knicks on Vork’s article

  16. ptmilo:
    okay i see quick starting the second half and breaking his career hi of 31 who’s with me

    I’m with you ;)

  17. Deeefense:
    Quick is starting to remind me of Hardaway except that he’s not overpaid and I like him.He looks more like a 6th man to me so far.

    Assuming you have a championship contender roster, i agree with you. Besides that, he’s a starter

  18. I see Quickley shooting us back into this game and being benched by Thibs for the rest of the 2nd quarter and almost all the 3rd.

  19. cybersoze: I think he’s the Williams for the Knicks on Vork’s article

    He’s got a Robert Reid of the Rockets thing going on…

  20. Deeefense:
    Fire Thibs and call the tank commander to duty! Where’s Rambis when you need him.:-)

    Cancel that call. Full steam ahead!

  21. I don’t think my opinion on a player’s future trajectory has ever shifted in one season as much as it has for RJ this year.

  22. listening to michael cage reminds me of the year he needed 28 rebounds to win the rebounding title from oakley in the last game and got it

  23. I haven’t seen the boxscore, but it seems like we’re getting called on a lot of touch fouls…

  24. Excellent job by the refs stopping the Knicks momentum and getting OKC back into the game.

  25. Based only on Knicks’ games, is this the worst officiated NBA season ever?

    Those touch fouls are a joke…

  26. Not a good ending to the half, but as after the 1st quarter i wasn’t expecting to be winning at the half, i feel good

  27. Poku is “two years away from being two years away.” On offense, he combines a lack of shooting success with a negative inside game. On defense, he does not have the quickness to guard on the perimeter or the strength to guard inside.

    He makes Steve Novak look like the Incredible Hulk.

  28. the refs have seemed especially incompetent this yr…the call at the end of the Grizzlies game last night was horrendous

  29. Tom Thibodeau told Vorkunov and other media members – “I have a strong bias towards good players, i know (the front office is) looking at all the possibilities. If something makes sense for us, we’ll do it.”

    Thibs trying the upper hand on Aller. Hold the fort, Brock. Don’t let Thibs do GM-things.

  30. Did Frank get injured of this is the dawn of an era?

    Regardless, I don’t want to pile on but I truly can’t think of another player, active or not, with as little in his “bag” as Frank. I think most players with his dearth of offensive skills get filtered out before making the NBA. Jared Jeffries is the best I can do.

  31. I like poku, he’s out there playing with swag…

    feed RJ til his arms get tired from shooting…

  32. BigBlueAL:
    IQ starting the 2nd half!

    And rightly so, Frank was a ghost in the first…

    For once a good start of third,
    RJ’s gonna be a star in a couple of years, he needs to gain some respect from the refs then he’s an automatic 22-25 a night scorer.

  33. thenoblefacehumper:
    Did Frank get injured of this is the dawn of an era?

    Regardless, I don’t want to pile on but I truly can’t think of another player, active or not, with as little in his “bag” as Frank. I think most players with his dearth of offensive skills get filtered out before making the NBA. Jared Jeffries is the best I can do.

    Frank picked up two quick fouls and has not been seen since. IQ has been great and is rightfully staying in there.

  34. Amazed Poku is not in the G-league. Dort is looking disruptive. Brown seems enormous.

  35. Frank picked up two quick fouls and has not been seen since. IQ has been great and is rightfully staying in there.

    Yeah, but normally you start the second half with the starters pretty much regardless of anything else.

  36. thenoblefacehumper: Yeah, but normally you start the second half with the starters pretty much regardless of anything else.

    It’s like Z-Man said, either Frank develops a consistent 3P shot and become a 3&D guy, or else he’s out of the league (with 1 or 2 more teams trying to check it, of course)

  37. it’s sorta funny given their recent draft positions but dort seems like the good case for okoro?

  38. ptmilo:
    it’s sorta funny given their recent draft positions but dort seems like the good case for okoro?

    Okoro seems smaller…more towards the guard end of the spectrum. Isaac seems more like he should try the RJ trajectory…add something every year and become a solid 2-way 2-3.

  39. cybersoze: It’s like Z-Man said, either Frank develops a consistent 3P shot and become a 3&D guy, or else he’s out of the league (with 1 or 2 more teams trying to check it, of course)

    To even do that, he’s got to stay healthy, but apparently cannot.

  40. my issue with frank now is that even if he does play good defense and can hit the three occasionally – no rebounds or assists…

    too limited to be such a liability on offense…

    once again, I’m done with monsieur frank…

    I’m putting my hopes in RJ, mitch and quik…

  41. TheClashFan: Frank picked up two quick fouls and has not been seen since.IQ has been great and is rightfully staying in there.

    When Payton and Rose are out everyone says Frank is playing PG but he’s clearly not. He’s still playing off the ball a lot of the time. We are playing with no PG. It’s an offense where basically everyone is doing their own thing. I have no issue with that if you have the right players and good overall playmaking, but we don’t. We are doing it because we have no PG at all right now,

    Frank can’t score or make a play unless he actually has control of the ball a lot of the time. If he doesn’t see it, he produces nothing on offense.

    It’s different when Quick is playing because once Quick has the ball he’s rarely going to give it up unless he basically has to. He’s either going to dribble until he creates something for himself (most likely), pass when he absolutely can’t find a shot, or he finds someone open (once in awhile). He’s a better fit when we are desperate like this because we have no playmaking PG. Quickley is like Hardaway. He’s better than the NY version of Hardaway because he’s a better shooter, but he has the same mentality and is similarly streaky. He’s always looking to score. He’s a 6th man.

  42. Gotta give Daigneault some credit for even vaguely having the Thunder competitive in this one. But they just aren’t good enough to last the whole game. It reminds me of when a #16 seed takes an early lead during the tourney (specifically thinking of when Albany had a big lead on UConn a decade or so ago).

  43. The Thunder w/o SGA is a G-league team, except for Horford. It would have been a horrible loss. Nice to see Randle, RJ and IQ all play well, though!

  44. If Barrett keeps playing like this, he’s a year or two ahead of even my optimistic hopes for him.

  45. when you’re a Knicks fan, the light at the end of the tunnel – is always a train…

    So much for Randle regressing after just 1 bad game vs the Bucks.

    this was a good win…

  46. The Thunder w/o SGA is a G-league team, except for Horford. It would have been a horrible loss. Nice to see Randle, RJ and IQ all play well, though!

    Isn’t it fascinating how we’ve seen just how important star players are to their teams this year? Like Washington without Beal just doesn’t work at all and then take that same pile of scrubs and add Beal, and they’re competent. Similarly, it’s shocking to think that this OKC team could win 16 games, but when you plus SGA in there, everything changes.

    I imagine it would be the same thing if 2021 Randle missed a game for the Knicks (heck, look at the previous game where Randle didn’t show up and the Knicks were destroyed).

  47. I don’t know what it’s worth but I have to say I feel extremely confident when the knicks play a game they are “supposed to win.”

  48. brian you’re only allowed to be one coach off

    This is the second time I’ve botched their coach’s name so badly.

  49. well they also have george hill. hill, sga, horford and dort is far from scrubbish. you put kenrich williams in there and that lineup is pretty decent.

  50. Brian Cronin: This is the second time I’ve botched their coach’s name so badly.

    To make you feel good, no one gets OKC’s coach name right

  51. Hubert:
    I don’t know what it’s worth but I have to say I feel extremely confident when the knicks play a game against the g-league..”

  52. Brian Cronin: Isn’t it fascinating how we’ve seen just how important star players are to their teams this year?

    Well, teams like the Knicks, Wizards and Thunder are so thin compared to, say, Milwaukee, Philly, Boston, Miami, etc. in terms of the drop-off to the next guys.

  53. Watching RJ grow and develop as a player is so rewarding. He is on track to be an all star by next season or the one after, in my opinion. I wouldn’t trade him for Bradley Beal. The Knicks can definitely continue to build with RJ as a foundational piece.

    Am I delusional to think that?

  54. Well, teams like the Knicks, Wizards and Thunder are so thin compared to, say, Milwaukee, Philly, Boston, Miami, etc. in terms of the drop-off to the next guys.

    Yeah, good point. The Nets don’t even seem to miss Kevin freakin’ Durant, as a for instance.

  55. RJ had a slow start to the season, played poorly in his first ten or so games, but has really been crushing it ever since. There is a lot to like about his game.

  56. Gotta tip my cap to djphan. I was a major doubter after last season, but RJ is really putting it together. Worried we would have another ruruland situation on our hands : )

  57. Brian Cronin: Yeah, good point. The Nets don’t even seem to miss Kevin freakin’ Durant, as a for instance.

    The Nets are ridiculous. I don’t see how anyone can beat them if healthy…

  58. After a woeful start they righted the ship and won a must-win game versus a depleted team.

    Our “stars” played like stars, nice to watch RJ’s career high and Julius triple double (12 assists!).
    For one night the floater float and IQ had a good game (with no FTs!).
    Frank was miserable, Burks took 18 shots (hitting… 6),
    we really need Mitch back asap, Noel hands are really incredibly bad.
    I never thought I’d miss Rose and Payton, but that’s the way it is.

    OKC 8-32 on 3PT, for those keeping tabs at home…

    Next stop Brooklyn.

  59. If RJ continues his great play, will the 2019 draft be considered one of the best ever in terms of top 3 picks?

  60. Z-man: The Nets are ridiculous. I don’t see how anyone can beat them if healthy…

    Will they be healthy monday? :D

  61. Fetch:
    Couldn’t watch the game. Was this Frank’s last chance?

    Only if you are still crazy enough to judge him as a traditional PG or are a Frank hater (and there are plenty of those).

    He played 7 minutes in total and 2 minutes were in garbage time.

    He’s a 3&D player that can occasionally make a good play. You put him the court with a real PG, stick him the corner, and let him defend the best guard on the opposing team. That’s his role.

    Judging him as a PG or even sillier calling him a PG because we don’t have one and he’s playing off the ball anyway is kind of like putting Danny Green on the Knicks with our starting 5, calling him a PG, and then complaining that the offense sucks and he shouldn’t be in the league. It would be beyond idiotic. Now granted, Frank hasn’t proven the 3p% part of that formula yet, but he’s shown progress and is still very young. Danny Green came into the league at 22.

  62. no real reason anymore for thibs not to start quik at the point, let rose back him up, sit elf down next to rivers and frank…

    he’s halfway through his rookie season…it’s time…

  63. Yes, but Barrett needs to do that as often as Ja and Zion do. Fantastic game from the looks of things, but those 2-11 nights really temper enthusiasm.

  64. RJ’s defense is also a big part of his improvement, he’s been fantastic defensively.

  65. He’s a 3&D player that can occasionally make a good play. You put him the court with a real PG, stick him the corner, and let him defend the best guard on the opposing team. Putting him at PG (or even worse judging him as a PG because we don’t have one while he’s playing off the ball) is kind of like putting Danny Green on the Knicks with our starting 5, calling him a PG, and then complaining when the offense sucks. It would be idiotic. Now granted, Frank hasn’t proven the 3p% part of that formula yet, but he’s shown progress and is still very young. Danny Green came into the league at 22.

    You know what’s rather important for a “3 and D” player to do? Shoot threes. Frank averages 3.9 3PA/36 for his career. At that volume, whether his 3PT% is 30% or 40% doesn’t even matter much–he won’t be impactful on offense.

    He basically will only shoot when he’s wide open, not off the dribble and not coming off screens. There just aren’t that many of those looks for a guard in a given NBA game, and being able to hit the rare one at a decent clip doesn’t make you a “3 and D” player. In fact it’s pretty much the barest of minimums to even be in the NBA at this point, almost regardless of position.

  66. I don’t know if this makes me a Frank hater, but i think he’s still miles away from being an average 3&D. We should just move on.

  67. I still can’t believe an NBA team thought Frank was worthy of being drafted 8th overall. Unfortunately that team was the Knicks.

  68. It is not discussed at all but Ja is shooting 24.5% from three this season, something to be concerned about?

  69. I’m not a Frank hater (more a Frank hopeful) but be it for injuries or whatever he’s blowing the rare opportunities he gets.

    Tonight the game was there for the taking and instead his first five minutes were bad (he’s still unlucky, he got called for a bogus 3FT foul on Gort).
    I agree that his future is as a 3&D, but for that he needs to consistently be less shy and shoot, hopefully well, every time he gets a bit of space (look at Bullock’s 11 threes tonight).

  70. Stefan Bondy @SBondyNYDN:
    Julius Randle now has a triple double. He is the first Knick to record two triple doubles in a season since Mark Jackson, according to MSG Network.

    I don’t know if this is depressing (for being such a long time), or refreshing. I’m leaning towards the latter.

  71. Man, Moses Moody would fit these Knicks like a glove.

    Love to see the good guys play well, and even, if you can’t get too excited about beating the Oklahoma City Blue, it’s good to finally see a team on the schedule and count on a win. In year’s past this would have been the Lou Dort and Al Horford game.

  72. cybersoze: I don’t know if this is depressing (for being such a long time), or refreshing. I’m leaning towards the latter.

    Definitely refreshing. Decades of horrible ball movement and ugly offense are slowly coming to an end. Randle actively looks for his teammates.

  73. Man, Moses Moody would fit these Knicks like a glove.

    Was thinking the same thing after watching some of his game today, sadly it will not come to pass. I’m beginning to think we should make sure to land Ayo Dosunmu. His floor seems pretty damn high, and I think he’s got a little more upside than people think.

  74. So enjoyable to watch a game where our best 3 players were Randle, RJ and Quick.

    And I did not miss watching Payton and Rose do whatever it is they do.

  75. BigBlueAL:
    I still can’t believe an NBA team thought Frank was worthy of being drafted 8th overall.Unfortunately that team was the Knicks.

    It was an incredibly dumb pick, and anyone who thoroughly researched him would have seen that at the time. Sort of like Killian Hayes.

  76. What a luxury to be able to finish your garbage time with your 3 midlottery picks! ;-p

  77. RIP Marvin Hagler, a ferocious champion in a golden era of mid-weight boxing. The Hagler-Hearns fight was about as good as it gets for me.

  78. Frank truly looked awesome on his first game after his deep freezing. He was everywhere in D, played with confidence and showing clear signs of nba action.
    Can’t say the same for his next games tho…
    Despite his superhot 3p shooting he looked less confident, less decisive, less explosive and wasn’t giving the impression of an nba player you can trust.
    Not done yet but he definitely needs a different more offensive minded approach by his side to persuade Thibs.

  79. Man, Moses Moody would fit these Knicks like a glove.

    i agree with noble that we’re probably not in range for someone like moody but the good news is that there are plenty of pretty decent guys all throughout the first round and it’s deep with SG/SF types…. some of the guys that this board has mentioned (springer, johnson, bouknight) have been climbing as expected…. but there are guys that haven’t that should still be available in the mid first rd….

    josh christopher is one who is still being criminally underrated and he is a lights out scorer…. not as good of a shooter as moody and the shot is a bit funky looking… but he’s got a lot of ability that’s going largely unnoticed for whatever reason… chris duarte …who coincidentally was profiled by hollinger recently along with cyber’s boy neemias queta…. also rates pretty well by any model or any metric… if you wanted another chance at a mikal bridges type… this guy is it…

    dosunmo is also one of my favorites and probably would be our best pg prospect we’ve had since charlie ward… he came in with a lot of hype as a freshman and wasn’t really a pg or a great shooter… and he’s worked hard on his game to learn the position and get his shot more consistent… while retaining his ability to get tough buckets at the rim… sort of rare for a guy to both hurt their stock but stay in school long enough to recover a lot of that hype…

    should be a fun tourney to follow this year… a lot of potential draftees are on really strong teams and within range of both of our picks which hasn’t really happened ever….

  80. Frank is only shooting .6 3-pointers per 36 less than Bullock and 1.1 less than Burks. He is also second on the team in 3-pointers made per 36 just behind Quickley. So saying he doesn’t take enough shots from 3 this season is false. It is a very small sample size and everything could change if he stops hitting his threes but right now Frank is hitting his threes and shooting a decent amount of them.

    It’s not like Bullock or Burks have been that great from three. They have both been very erratic.

    Frank is also our best perimeter defender. So calling him far from a 3&d player is false at least as he is currently playing. If he keeps hitting threes at a rate of better than 40%, his 56% is obviously unsustainable, he is a better 3&d player than either Bullock or Burks.

    Also, IQ needs to start right now. Our starting lineup is so much better with him on the floor.

    Of course, we have Thibs so once everyone is healthy IQ is back to 15 minutes a game, and Frank is glued to the bench. Also if we somehow make the playoffs I’m betting both IQ and Toppin fall out of the rotation completely.

  81. Bullock is a career 38% 3pt shooter on over 1100 attempts, Burks is a career 37% 3pt shooter in over 1200 attempts. They are both far superior 3pt shooters than Frank and in Burks case he can also handle the ball a bit and score at the basket. Bullock is arguably just as good a defender as Frank. Bullock and Burks are not great players but they are both solid veterans and much better players than Frank.

  82. RJ Barrett 3P% by month:
    December: 12.5%
    January: 35.1%
    February: 47.4%
    March: 50%

    Looking pretty good – RJ’s stretch of competent 3 point shooting is now significantly longer than the atrocious shooting he showed at the beginning of the season. If he settles at an average-to-above-average percentage for the year, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he’s legitimately good from deep next year.

  83. Most likely both Burks and Bullock will be better 3pt shooters than Frank moving forward, but neither will probably be here long term so in this nothing of a season it is better asset management to see if Frank’s improvement is real than to ride a couple of solidly mediocre vets to a solidly mediocre record.

    Also, Quickley should start, right now. No doubt about it.

  84. This nothing of a season could be the first time in 8 years the Knicks make the playoffs.

  85. Bullock is a career 38% 3pt shooter on over 1100 attempts, Burks is a career 37% 3pt shooter in over 1200 attempts. They are both far superior 3pt shooters than Frank and in Burks case he can also handle the ball a bit and score at the basket. Bullock is arguably just as good a defender as Frank.

    yeah but um, reggie burks don’t got no mixtape, or 183 thousand twitter followers…so ah, yeah, there’s that…

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