2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Worst Team in the Eastern Conference Playing Without Their Best Player

The Knicks host the Detroit Pistons in their final game before the All-Star break with a chance to go over .500 ahead of the break.

And now the news is that the Pistons’ best player, Jerami Grant (which, of course, says a lot about the Pistons) will miss tonight’s game.

Derrick Rose, despite a few more negative COVID tests, will miss tonight’s game, but there is a chance that either Elfrid Payton or Frank Ntilikina will play tonight despite both being considered day-to-day. I imagine whichever one of those two plays will then also start the game.

The Knicks blew these guys out in Detroit, the Pistons played last night and they’re playing without Jerami Grant. The Knicks should absolutely win this game. It’d be a shock if they did not. Obviously, the Raptors should have also beaten the Pistons last night, but seriously, this has got to be a win.

Entering the break with a winning record would be awfully sweet.

Let’s go, winning record at the All-Star Break Knicks!

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165 thoughts to “2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Worst Team in the Eastern Conference Playing Without Their Best Player”

  1. Payton’ll start and Frank will play, we have our pseudo Pgs…

    Grant missed yesterday’s game too (Toronto was missing FVV, Siakam, OG and a couple of bench players, so it was a strange game).

    We MUST not lose this game, it’ll be shameful.

    Let’s go winning record Knicks!

  2. the Pistons’ best player, Jerami Grant (which, of course, says a lot about the Pistons)

    Best bit, already had a laugh. Thanks, Brian. :)

  3. No matter what happens tonight, the Knicks have far exceeded my expectations. I thought 14 wins at the break.

  4. The guy who played the guard in Shawshank is also the voice of Mr. Krabs in SpongeBob SquarePants.

    — Facts You Never Wanted to Know

  5. d-mar: Or the sadistic prison guard from Shawshank

    …who I learned from my kids was the voice of Mr. Crabbs…

  6. i’ve seen noel play a lot since he was drafted. but you can’t fully appreciate something like hands so small that an opposing guard can easily rip the basketball from them until you are rooting for it not to happen.

  7. The rebound slips between those soft little butter stumps and out of bounds…

    I could do this all night. Might have to.

  8. Still not used to Randle being this good. Says more about the Knicks yadda yadda yadda but if he doesn’t fall off this might be the best individual season I’ve ever seen from a Knick.

  9. ptmilo: i’ve seen noel play a lot since he was drafted.but you can’t fully appreciate something like hands so small that an opposing guard can easily rip the basketball from them until you are rooting for it not to happen.

    Is it me, or is he getting worst? I don’t know if i still want to re-sign him

  10. We’ll all be bettter if Toppin’s father was nicknamed Three Pointer Delight…

    Meanwhile… Frank!!!

  11. Interesting how that Michelin Ultra commercial uses the bass line from Walk on the Wild Side, a song about a transvestite.

  12. OK. There’s your blemish on Noel. Concrete paws, no opposing thumbs. Butter slathered all over those fingers.

    But he defends the rim, sets good screens, crashes the boards and, on occasion, stuffs the rock. I’ll keep him. That’s why Mitch (who has great hands) is the starter when healthy.

  13. The Tin Man with a nifty move and a then good rebound, although stiffly he toppled over on the latter.

    (Nod to Z-Man)

  14. ephus:
    No matter what happens tonight, the Knicks have far exceeded my expectations.I thought 14 wins at the break.

    You’re doing great. I had 18 wins at the end of the season!

  15. First Quarter PT:

    Payton 11 minutes and 56 seconds
    IQ 4 seconds

    Just what we want to see…

  16. Can someone check whether Fred Biletnikoff has an old can of stickum laying around?

  17. thenoblefacehumper: if he doesn’t fall off this might be the best individual season I’ve ever seen from a Knick

    Who do you have as the best now? Amare first season? Porzingis rookie season?

  18. So when Rose comes back Thibs is gonna have to make a tough decision with the guard rotation.

  19. Seriously, has Frank ever shot a step back three before? I really can’t recall him doing that.

  20. cybersoze: Who do you have as the best now? Amare first season? Porzingis rookie season?

    Come on, let’s be real, just to stay in the ten year range Melo’ was third in MVP vote in 2012-2013 and Porzingis wasn’t even that good in his rookie year…

  21. Z-man: Willis Reed 1969-70

    Z-Man, TNFH is super young, like 21 or something. :P But even me, and i’m old, wasn’t born for the 1969-70 season.

  22. Celtics gave up 70 points in the first half to a Raptors team with only one starter playing.

  23. Burks looked off an open Frank to take that dumb ass floater. Thankfully Randle bailed him out.

  24. ptmilo:
    noel has had some real fu poster busters this year

    Yeah, changed my mind again, let’s re-sign him :D

  25. cybersoze: Z-Man, TNFH is super young, like 21 or something. :P But even me, and i’m old, wasn’t born for the 1969-70 season.

    young age is a bitch

  26. “Burks, looking for Noel” , if he doesn’t know what’s wrong on this sentence, bench the guy

  27. If the Knicks ever decide to play some defense tonight they’ll blow out the Pistons again.

  28. Frank 9 minutes, Quickley 7 minutes. I assume we’ll see neither one again this half. I’m a bit confused.

  29. Isiah Stewart is only 19 years old. He turns 20 in May.

    He has the build of a man 10 years older.
    He has range out to 15 feet.
    When he learns how to harness his on defense, he will be a force.

  30. ptmilo: giannis, steph, luka, lebron and jokic is going to be quite the starting 5

    Point guard, point guard, point forward, point center… and Giannis!! :D

  31. ephus:
    Isiah Stewart is only 19 years old. He turns 20 in May.

    He has the build of a man 10 years older.
    He has range out to 15 feet.
    When he learns how to harness hison defense, he will be a force.

    Yeah, he’s a badass. He reminds me of the first time I saw Oak on the Bulls…the definition of Enforcer.

  32. Good stretch to close the second quarter…

    Randle already with 18 and 10?

    Do we really need Bullock if this is the new Frank?

    RJ and Payton with a nice half, IQ invisible, Burks still sleepwalking…

  33. Who do you have as the best now? Amare first season? Porzingis rookie season?

    The candidates are probably Marbury’s 2004-2005 (I was young as hell obviously but do remember it), Amar’e’s 2010-2011, Chandler’s 2011-2012, Melo’s 2012-2013 (he was pretty similar the year after but it was meaningless), and Randle this year.

    Honorable mention to David Lee’s 2009-2010! I can’t include it in good faith because, linking this back to the conversation from earlier in the day about fandom and data, I distinctly recall thinking Al Harrington was better.

  34. That Ewing season was pretty good. 28.6 pts, 10.9 rebounds, and FOUR blocks per game.

    Mitch’s best so far is 2.4 blocks per.

  35. Mitchell and Gobert getting picked last for the ASG and then Lebron explaining that even when guys play video games nobody wants to be the Jazz is going to get their fans so fucking mad

  36. Frank 9 minutes, Quickley 7 minutes. I assume we’ll see neither one again this half. I’m a bit confused.

    Coach gave more minutes to the shooter

  37. thenoblefacehumper: The candidates are probably Marbury’s 2004-2005 (I was young as hell obviously but do remember it), Amar’e’s 2010-2011, Chandler’s 2011-2012, Melo’s 2012-2013 (he was pretty similar the year after but it was meaningless), and Randle this year.

    Honorable mention to David Lee’s 2009-2010! I can’t include it in good faith because, linking this back to the conversation from earlier in the day about fandom and data, I distinctly recall thinking Al Harrington was better.

    Al Harrington was the first person to ask me for friendship on Facebook when I open my short lived account (I put “Knicks fan” in the profile description), we even exchanged a couple of messages, so I’ll always remember him fondly, despite his ill advised dunk related technical…

  38. Was worried that the Knicks were letting the Pistons stick around, but Thibs took out Frank and replaced him with Invisible Sixth Man and now it looks like we can go back to complaining about minutes.

    Pistons now shooting 26.3 from three.

  39. For those who were not around, Bernard King’s 1983-84 campaign was a thing of beauty. He was the definition of “bulldozer fínese.”

  40. I know pointzzzz are overrated but there is no way that Melo’s 2012-13 season isn’t the best season by a Knick since Ewing’s glory days.

  41. Raven: That Ewing season was pretty good. 28.6 pts, 10.9 rebounds, and FOUR blocks per game.
    Mitch’s best so far is 2.4 blocks per.

    Ewing was amazing. Best player by far since i follow the Knicks (1990).

  42. ephus:
    For those who were not around, Bernard King’s 1983-84 campaign was a thing of beauty.He was the definition of “bulldozer fínese.”

    Yes, that was unbelievable.

  43. Hubert: I want to go to a game so bad but my last covid test was traumatic. I’m pretty sure the swab pierced my cerebellum.

    When my son and I went to the Warriors game we talked about how it was kind of sweet to have a whole row to ourselves, no beer lines, no bathroom lines, in and out of the Garden in a minute.

    But can’t wait for a full MSG again!

  44. ephus:
    For those who were not around, Bernard King’s 1983-84 campaign was a thing of beauty.He was the definition of “bulldozer fínese.”

    I thought 84-85 was better, and then he blew out the knee.

  45. I wasn’t a fan at that time, but every time Bernard King is on the sidelines it’s a joy, he must be one of the nicest guys of the game. :)

  46. The 1983-84 Bernard King season ended with one of the great playoff performances in Knicks history.

    The 1984-85 season ended in a heap against the Kings in a meaningless game (but Bernard was great that year).

  47. cybersoze:
    I wasn’t a fan at that time, but every time Bernard King is on the sidelines it’s a joy, he must be one of the nicest guys of the game. :)

    You didn’t know it at the time. His game face was fearsome.

  48. ephus:
    The 1983-84 Bernard King season ended with one of the great playoff performances in Knicks history.

    The 1984-85 season ended in a heap against the Kings in a meaningless game (but Bernard was great that year).

    Yeah, probably the saddest event in my Knicks fandom, although it led to the Ewing lottery.

  49. BigBlueAL: RJ is by far the best lob passer on the Knicks.

    Meaning he is very good, or it’s just that the competition is bad? :P

  50. I have long believed that the name Furious Styles (Lawrence Fishburn) in Boyz N The Hood was inspired by Bernard King. He was fierce.

  51. Bernard was averaging 32.9 points per game when he went down.

    Amazingly, over that season AND the one before, he was a grand total of 1-14 from three.

  52. But seriously, Bernard had a bad off-court rep before getting to the Knicks so you never would have guessed he’d become such a sweet, affable guy in retirement.

  53. Randle has unbelievable north-and-south speed for a guy his size. What’s weird is that he doesn’t seem to have much of a vertical for a guy so fast and strong.

  54. Bernard King is my favorite Knick ever, watching him drop 44 on the Celtics at MSG in the 1984 playoffs was one of the joys of my life.

  55. Who remembers Clyde Drexler’s quote about Sky when he won the contest?

    Something to the effect of “Kenny has gone where no man has gone before…”

  56. Every old time Knick fan wishes that Ewing had gotten to play with a healthy Bernard King.

  57. i sat behind bernard king on a plane maybe 7 or so years ago. he was on his way to a gsw ceremony to celebrate his hof induction. he was incredibly gracious and told a ton of great stories. i vaguely remember the woman next to me weirdly trying to sell him some of her eponymous jewelry.

  58. Kenny “Sky” Walker

    Bernard’s injury really ripped my heart out that year and the next one (those were the injuries year: Bernard, Cartwright, Ewing’ rookie season…)

  59. Randle’s running left-hander to finish the 3Q would be a fitting way to cap off the first half of his season.

    Thibs will probably play him 10 more minutes in the 4th.

  60. That UFO from Doumboya stopped the french perfection from 3P land. Frank’s still perfect.

  61. How many points does the second unit need to extend this lead to for the starters not to finish?

  62. Is there a better backup C in the league that Nerlens Noel?

    He makes so many key plays.

  63. The Pistons went on a 5-0 run against the 2nd unit in 2 possessions and Thibs put all the starters back. That’s pretty sad.

    But hey, it’s fun to play the Pistons. Barrett and Randle looked great. And FRANK.

  64. Bey and Stewart are a nice future tandem, and if Killian Hayes ever gets it together they will have had quite a draft!

  65. I’m getting tired of this new efficient RJ. I used to like defending him and squirming a little when he was bricking 3s, but now it’s becoming so evident he’s eventually going to become a very good all around baller there’s not much to defend. In 3-4 years, sky is the limit.

  66. We spent years wanting a Center who could do Center things after Tyson left, and now we have 2 pretty damn good ones.

  67. I understand THibs thinking. They are going into the all star break. So everyone is going to get plenty of rest. Why take a chance they go on a run. But man he is ridiculous. lol

  68. Thibs played a 9-men rotation, I’d rather have Frank and Knox sharing Bullock’s nine three pointers…

    Another day at the office for Randle, very efficient game by RJ, Payton had a couple of moments, a double double for Noel, Frank showcasing for the trade deadline, IQ with a stinker.

    This was easy, we’re 19-18, really a nice surprise.

    Rangers crushed the Devils, so a good day for many newyorkers…

  69. Westbrook with the quintessential Bestbrook game to beat the Clippers, even missing 8 out of 15 free throws for good measure.

  70. I understand THibs thinking. They are going into the all star break. So everyone is going to get plenty of rest.

    Yeah, but we know he would have done the same thing even if the team had a game tomorrow in Boston.

  71. I actually don’t mind Frank getting 12 minutes as long as, if he plays well in 12 minutes a game, we don’t kick him to the curb.

    Just give him a role and if he does well, keep him around. He’s gotten better. He’s the same age as Obi Toppin right now, and I know who I’d rather have.

  72. Obi must feel like a vaudeville performer looking off stage at the guy with the super long hook.

  73. Meanwhile the unsustainable Randle’s season is at 37 games…

    I forgot if It was Hollinger or Bontemps that suggested he’s in the conversation for most improved player,
    I’m happy for him, he’s clear he worked his ass off in the hiatus months.

  74. There is something relentless about Julius, he just keeps coming at you with his bruising, awkward finesse. He’s like Laphroaig, tough to get used to but once you do there’s no turning back.

  75. Come on, man. Don’t do Julius like that.

    If Laphroig were a basketball player it would definitely be Frank Ntilikina: some people passionately love it despite overwhelming evidence that it is shit.

    And they both smell bad after a Knicks game.

  76. Frank is more like a garden variety cognac…a little too sweet for my taste generally, but better than most american whiskey.

    Randle’s game was impossible to like last year, just as much for its ugliness as its inefficiency. There is still some ugliness to it…sort of like LeBron’s jumper is ugly. But the way he is carrying this team on his back is incredibly endearing. He’s New York Strong. You can just pencil in 20plus, 10plus and 5plus every freaking night.

  77. One thing about Frank…you have to really believe in intangibles to love him. His stat line was a string of zeros except for the 3 threes.

  78. Yeah I want Frank to succeed as much as anyone, but I can’t remember the last time he made a nice pass or grabbed a rebound. 3 and D pretty accurate for him

  79. I didn’t catch this one but RJ’s box score line is nice.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing the Knicks try to build around the Randle-RJ-Quickley-Mitch core and get some continuity going for awhile. Keep Obi and Noel around, maybe try to replace some of the less exciting mercs like Bullock and Burks through the draft and figure out a way to acquire a competent PG.

    Maybe if you do that and rack up a few consecutive winning seasons a superstar would try to force his way here in a trade. If I squint I can see a path forward to title contention with this core. If I squint really really hard.

  80. JK that’s exactly what I’ve been saying! We got a decent young core now. Hit on another pick like e did with Wuick and upgrade with youth over elf and/or bullocks and now we’re really talking. Stars will always become available. It happens every season. We just gotta be patient and keep winning games. Winning solves a lot of problems, more than it creates.

  81. I think Windhorst is right and a star will demand a trade here sooner than we think… probably this offseason.

    To me it comes down to the trade rather than the player. I really don’t want to see another Melo trade go down.

  82. i think we should continue to do whatever it is we did to acquire julius…there’s got to be a specific statistical profile of young players that can potentially “break out”, or whom may be buried behind some better player on their team that we can target…

    we do need to acquire a starting point guard at some point…

  83. For those who were not around, Bernard King’s 1983-84 campaign was a thing of beauty. He was the definition of “bulldozer fínese.”

    i like that description: bulldozer finesse…i don’t remember much of his game, but – dogged determination, fluid movement without fear of contact seems pretty right…

  84. The guy who played the guard in Shawshank is also the voice of Mr. Krabs in SpongeBob SquarePants.

    That’s way cool – i did not know that…the first time I remember seeing Clancy Brown was in Highlander, was amazing how he stood out in that film (interesting that sean connery was even in that film)…next I remember seeing him as sergeant zim in Starship Troopers, again he really stood out…

    I love mister krabs :)

  85. all be better if Toppin’s father was nicknamed Three Pointer Delight…

    That’s funny, like really funny…

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