2020-21 Game Thread: PLAYOFFS BOUND Knicks vs. Hornets

Today is more or less the “make or break” day for the Knicks in their quest to get the #4 seed. They play the Hornets and the Heat later tonight take on the Milwaukee Bucks, who are still in line to possibly get the #2 seed from the Nets (unlikely, but possible).

If the Knicks win and the Heat lose, the Knicks would then be in the #4 spot in the Eastern Conference ahead of a game against the Celtics where the Celtics will likely be resting their players. If the Knicks and Heat both lose, the Knicks will almost assuredly be in the #6 spot. If the Knicks lose and the Heat win, same difference.

So…well, you know, how about the Knicks win this one and then the Heat lose tonight, okay? That’d be swell.

Let’s go, get that #4 seed, Knicks!

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227 thoughts to “2020-21 Game Thread: PLAYOFFS BOUND Knicks vs. Hornets”

  1. I hope Elfrid Payton will score 30 points, lead us to victory and show me the finger.

    Let’s go Knicks.

  2. i got a fever and the only prescription is more Frankie Smokes!
    Let’s Do it baby!

  3. This is the first game where every non-Mitch rotation player is available in a long time…

  4. d-mar:
    Does this game mean anything to Charlotte?

    They might still be playing for the 8-spot…which would require one win rather than 2

  5. RJ is getting wiser. He saw that Charlotte was overplaying his left hand on the drive, so he crossed over to his right for the easy layup.

  6. These guys have no answer for Randle. Would love to see a few minutes with him at the 5 surrounded by shooters.

  7. I guess it’s better that RJ sucks in first quarters instead of third quarters

  8. man…do all the refs in the nba suck now…seems like every game is horrible…

  9. I’m predicting we’ll get to watch Knox today, how many seconds? I can’t go that far. LOL

  10. Cody Zeller’s coming straight out of a black&white newsreel about the Minneapolis Lakers…

  11. They need to keep up the intensity.
    Randle just seems unstoppable at times.

  12. I know Lonzo is a Knickerblogger fave, but his moves to the hoop are pretty fugly

  13. LaMelo Ball made a million dollar move to get to the rim at the buzzer, but he blew the layup. He will eventually be a high-level finisher, which will make him a dangerous scorer, even if he has a poor jumper.

  14. Teams that don’t have elite big men have no chance at defending Randle when he’s playing like this. He’s going to eat Zeller and McDaniels alive all day long.

  15. Obi made Charlotte pay for closing out on him at the 3pt line, driving and dishing (fumbled a little) to Taj for the layup.

    Lots of signs of growth among the young Knicks.

  16. d-mar:
    I know Lonzo is a Knickerblogger fave, but his moves to the hoop are pretty fugly

    Meant LaMelo obviously

  17. I like it when Quickley gets hot from outside.

  18. Last year i wanted Devonte Graham, he’ll be a FA this offseason, but now i’m not impressed with his game

  19. d-mar: Meant LaMelo obviously

    Actually, Lonzo, a restricted free agent, is probable off-season target for the Knicks.

  20. I’m not liking, the 2nd quarter is not the time to take the foot off the pedal

  21. I’ve said this a bunch of times already and I’m asking for a jinx, but I am still not used to this team simply taking care of business against decent but inferior competition like this.

  22. thenoblefacehumper:
    I’ve said this a bunch of times already and I’m asking for a jinx, but I am still not used to this team simply taking care of business against decent but inferior competition like this.

    I think that’s all about Thibs. He will not let this team take any game for granted.

  23. Well, if Devonte Graham comes here to play the Elfrid Payton role, that’d be a huge upgrade. But what kind of money will he get in FA?

  24. thenoblefacehumper:
    I’ve said this a bunch of times already and I’m asking for a jinx, but I am still not used to this team simply taking care of business against decent but inferior competition like this.

    True. Seeing our game plan just work is weird.

    Also agree with whoever said above that we are completely different when there’s no “big” on the opponent.

  25. Could have been better, but turning the auto pilot ON and still get to halftime up by 9, it’s nice to see :)

  26. Nice quick first half,

    up by “only” 9 while shooting 63% from three (against 30%),
    I humbly invite my beloved KBloggers to stop jinxing, so we can avoid unpleasant surprises…

    :-D

  27. The sad thing is that the Nets are beating the Bulls, even with Durant going 2-12…

  28. I like how Clyde keeps saying early fouls relegated Payton to the bench.

    Payton relegated Payton to the bench

  29. d-mar:Payton relegated Payton to the bench

    He doesn’t seem to try to play well anymore, just bench the guy

  30. Sucks the regular season ends tomorrow, this season has been so freaking fun to watch.

  31. I think the ball hit the board just very slightly before he touched it

  32. The term porosity is used in multiple fields including pharmaceutics, ceramics, metallurgy, materials, manufacturing, petrophysics, hydrology, earth sciences, soil mechanics, and engineering — and basketball.

  33. If Randle wants to retire as a Knick, that means he’ll sign the extension (even if it’s a shorter one, like 2 years), right?

  34. RJ with a DUMB play, throwing the ball back towards the Knicks basket when trying to save an out-of-bounds.

  35. Bruno Almeida:
    I hate guys who posture after dunking when they’re losing.

    I don’t mind it, his team is coming back and he’s firing them up…

    What I hate is a shitty defensive effort on like 10 straight possessions.

  36. Word out that Butler might not play for the Heat tonight cause of back tightness, Knicks better not blow this game.

  37. That was the worst defensive possession by Obi in a long time. He was running around like a chicken with his head cut off. Led to an offensive rebound and a wide open corner 3.

    Feeling Minnesota.

  38. Re-taking the lead with DRose on the bench is a good sign for the playoffs. Burks really making a difference.

  39. You know this season is different because in all others that Rozier heave would’ve been a lock to fall

  40. 100% Randle iso… not optimal.
    .need to mix this shit up…wasted possessions

  41. How do you let that switch happen leaving Randle on an island to cover Rozier??

  42. That was a foul on Mcdaniels

    I like the 2-1 I guess but not a great shot from Randle

  43. Looked to me like both guys were going for the ball, but yeah, refs usually call that.

  44. Knicks playing offense with some tight sphincters. This up coming playoff experience will help in the future.

  45. For everyone who accused Randle of playing hero ball, I hope you enjoyed those three consecutive assists. Each one came off of a drive in isolation.

  46. ephus:
    For everyone who accused Randle of playing hero ball, I hope you enjoyed those three consecutive assists. Each one came off of a drive in isolation.

    No “hero-ball” accusation here. Just want him to do exactly those passes. Sometimes he forgets.

  47. BigBlueAL:
    Shocked with how good IQ has been on D down the stretch.

    Yeah, that “almost” steal. He really wants to improve.

  48. It’s downright insane that Burks was available for 1/$8M. There’s not a team in the league the guy wouldn’t help.

  49. My heart can barely handle these tight regular season games dunno how it will handle the playoffs. I’m alot more used to it watching the Yankees compared to the Knicks lol.

  50. thenoblefacehumper: It’s downright insane that Burks was available for 1/$8M. There’s not a team in the league the guy wouldn’t help.

    It was even lower… 6M!

  51. Randle looking to set up his teammates in OT made all the difference! That’s the way to play winning basketball baby! Go Bucks!!!!!!

  52. Z-man:
    Forty wins, just like I predicted…

    I wasn’t sure they’d make 40 if you added last year plus this year. lmao

  53. Interesting decision keeping RJ & Rose on the bench in OT. I like that lineup though

  54. Whew! We tried hard to shit the bed but in the end it’s another win.

    Randle is a weapon when he drives and kicks,
    we need more offense like in OT compared to the terrible ISO-heavy fourth quarter.

    Noel with some huge dirty things in OT, IQ with surprisingly good D,
    the Bu-Bu Gang with timely threes, anonymous game for Barrett,
    Rose played well on offense but couldn’t stay with the Hornets quick guards.

    Memo for the playoffs:
    We can’t allow ourselves to raise the foot from the pedal, every time we stop hustling on defense we get crushed.

  55. Early Bird:
    Interesting decision keeping RJ & Rose on the bench in OT. I like that lineup though

    Maybe Rose’s ankle was acting up again.

  56. Knew Your Nicks:
    17sec of Frank were enough!!!
    What a game changer!

    And nice work from the Invisible 6th Man to block Graham’s shot at the end of regulation :-)

  57. Wow, tomorrow if Wizards beat Charlotte they get the 8th seed. Wizards Celtics play in game for 7th would be pretty fun.

  58. #And nice work from the Invisible 6th Man to block Graham’s shot at the end of regulation :-)#

    Seriously talking Frankie contesting the final shot without fouling was huge to distract Graham.
    Even AHahn mentioned it as i just watched.

  59. I assume Boston won’t even bother trying to win tomorrow, Walker will not play for sure maybe even Tatum?

    Tonight is gonna be fascinating how Miami and Milwaukee play it out.

  60. Does RJ close games in the playoffs? Burks is probably going to be on the floor and Bullock is Thibs favorite defender.

  61. With the Nets win I guess the Bucks have no realistic shot at the 2 seed. So they basically can decide their opponent tonight. I’d think they prefer to face the Knicks than the Heat (both teams would be pretty bruising anyway). Curious to see how they play it.

  62. I think it will depend on how RJ is playing. He’s still streaky sometimes and has off games but if he’s got it going you gotta give the future of the franchise that experience closing in a close playoff game. But if he’s struggled all game, ya go with burks

  63. I think tonight was about how small and quick the Hornets play, and that they were going with a 1-3-1 zone against us. That’s kind of what Thibs said in the post game, that he will play whoever gives the team the best chance to win in the 4th quarter, and that can vary with every game.

  64. Knew Your Nicks:
    #And nice work from the Invisible 6th Man to block Graham’s shot at the end of regulation :-)#

    Seriously talking Frankie contesting the final shot without fouling was huge to distract Graham.
    Even AHahn mentioned it as i just watched.

    Not hassling Frank, at all. Very glad he didn’t foul.

  65. Z-man:
    I think tonight was about how small and quick the Hornets play, and that they were going with a 1-3-1 zone against us. That’s kind of what Thibs said in the post game, that he will play whoever gives the team the best chance to win in the 4th quarter, and that can vary with every game.

    This is another thing for which I think is the COY,
    I don’t expect this kind of flexibility and I love the “no-fixed closing lineup” way.
    (Even if is obvious that Randle will always be in)

  66. Even Thibs praised Frankie on the postgame while defending Payton’s start/everyone’s contribution.
    He said that Frank’s gift is his defense.
    Thibs is a cryptoFrankophile as it seems! lol

  67. Knew Your Nicks:
    Even Thibs praised Frankie on the postgame while defending Payton’s start/everyone’s contribution.
    He said that Frank’s gift is his defense.
    Thibs is a cryptoFrankophile as it seems! lol

    If only Thibs was as smart as some of us…

  68. #I don’t expect this kind of flexibility and I love the “no-fixed closing lineup” way#

    Yeap!
    Thankfully Thibs has been pretty fluid with his rotations lately (except the starting lineup which is fixed till you bleed)
    We have mentioned it here as also the fact that closing with “ISO only” is shit and I’m very excited watching that his adjustments are made almost immediately.

  69. BigBlueAL: Wow, tomorrow if Wizards beat Charlotte they get the 8th seed.Wizards Celtics play in game for 7th would be pretty fun.

    And maybe send Boston to a 2nd play-in game ;)

  70. #If only Thibs was as smart as some of us…#

    He’s probably reading KB this season so he’s learning fast! lol

  71. The consensus on r/MKEBucks is they should tank this game to play us instead of the Heat. Honestly…I’d want the same thing in their position. Will be interesting to see how the actual team handles the situation. I doubt they’ll outright tank but I’d expect some interesting looking minutes distributions.

  72. Rose looked like he injured his shoulder in the 3rd quarter and left shortly after that. I’m guessing that had something to do with his absence.

  73. IQ really helped the team today with his scoring and hustle. He fit right into the lineup replacing RJ. RJ didn’t see the court after his bone head pass, and he deserved the benching.

  74. I’m not very impressed with Lamelo. He looks like a stat stuffer but his team seems to perform better when he’s on the bench.

  75. DudesTown:
    40 wins is amazing!

    Yeah it is!!

    RE: Lamelo
    While his shot his still suspect (but he’s sooooo young) he has spectacular passing skills and I usually drool over
    brilliant assists more than over dunks so I always watch his highlights.
    He’s had a better season than I thought and has more talent that his brother.
    He’ll have time to develop and fill out his frame, Borrego’s a good coach. I expect him to be way better next year with a full offseason of work.

  76. Greg Harvey @BetweenTheNums:
    Julius Randle just needs 12 PTS & 6 AST in the final game of the season to finish the season with 24+ PPG, 10+ RPG, & 6+ APG.
    Only 4 players in NBA history have accomplished this feat: Oscar Robertson (3), Wilt Chamberlain (2), Larry Bird (2), Russell Westbrook (2)

    Impressive!

  77. Max: Yeah it is!!

    RE: Lamelo
    While his shot his still suspect (but he’s sooooo young) he has spectacular passing skills and I usually drool over
    brilliant assists more than over dunks so I always watch his highlights.
    He’s had a better season than I thought and has more talent that his brother.
    He’ll have time to develop and fill out his frame, Borrego’s a good coach. I expect him to be way better next year with a full offseason of work.

    One thing about Lonzo is he’s leaps and bounds better defensively than Lamelo.

  78. Choosing the Knicks instead of the Heat in the first round is a no brainer but the Bucks need to show their playoff balls anyway so i wouldn’t exclude going proudmode and try for the W

  79. Was at the game in person today; Randle has become just a fantastic player (*) and I’ll happily eat the crow, but of course the big news in all of this is that:

    FRANK NTILIKINA IS GOING TO THE NBA PLAYOFFS!!!!!

    (*) And he’s probably going to make all-NBA, thus driving up his price tag. Whatever. Pay the man.

  80. Was at the game in person today; Randle has become just a fantastic player (*) and I’ll happily eat the crow,

    Wow. I never thought I’d love to see the day. Admit it, E, you love Burks and Bullock now, too.

  81. Most if all knicks fans have eaten crow this season.
    The only difference is in the portion.
    E, you should probably eat a flock of them!

  82. I’m not very impressed with Lamelo. He looks like a stat stuffer but his team seems to perform better when he’s on the bench.

    I’m sorry to say that life stuff got in the way of watching today’s must-win game, but yeah, I don’t think anyone should be impressed by a guy who shot 4-15 in a tight game. Something tells me that you would have felt differently if his best game of the year (vs. MIL in January) had come against the Knicks, wherein he shot 10 FGA for 27 points with 9 assists and 1 turnover. Ended the game plus-37 against a full-strength Bucks squad.

    And have you forgotten that he’s, uh, still a teenager?

  83. It’s hard to see Butler missing tonight’s game and not feel like this season has had some magic pixie dust sprinkled on it.

  84. So if Milwaukee wins they play the Heat round 1 and if they lose tonight they play the Knicks?

  85. Z:
    So if Milwaukee wins they play the Heat round 1 and if they lose tonight they play the Knicks?

    Basically, that’s why there were questions about the Bucks trying to win tonight but props to them cause they’ve come out and are destroying the Heat after 1 quarter.

  86. The Honorable Cock Jowles: I’m sorry to say that life stuff got in the way of watching today’s must-win game, but yeah, I don’t think anyone should be impressed by a guy who shot 4-15 in a tight game. Something tells me that you would have felt differently if his best game of the year (vs. MIL in January) had come against the Knicks, wherein he shot 10 FGA for 27 points with 9 assists and 1 turnover. Ended the game plus-37 against a full-strength Bucks squad.

    And have you forgotten that he’s, uh, still a teenager?

    Jowles, Dude here talking. I’ve only seen LaMelo play twice and in both games the team played much better with him on the bench. Small sample size, I know, dude.

  87. Z:
    So if Milwaukee wins they play the Heat round 1 and if they lose tonight they play the Knicks?

    Knicks still need to take care of business against the Celtics tomorrow.

  88. Bucks really bringing it tonight. They don’t care who they play. Everything is falling into place for the Knicks. Feels like the ’69 Mets.

  89. Aha, got it.

    Yeah, any team that believes they can win a championship shouldn’t care who they face in the playoffs. (And if you don’t believe you can win a championship, it doesn’t matter who you play anyway).

  90. So Mitch is practicing. Thibs indicates a playoff return is possible.

  91. i honestly don’t care who we play… if we’re going to eventually contend really really soon… it would be informative to see how we stackup in a 7 game series against the conferences’ elite… and the bucks will probably be really good for the next few years at least so we probably will see them again… i don’t foresee that series going all too well but i think i might even prefer that matchup to see how our core plays against one of the more seasoned teams in the league with one of its elite players…

  92. Bucks going into the playoffs looking like the best team in the East but shit are they gonna have a brutal run to get to the Finals. Heat, Nets and then the Knicks in the Conference Finals!

  93. Stevens said postgame today that Tatum and Fournier are basically questionable for tomorrow and believe Walker and Smart are definitely not playing.

  94. BigBlueAL:
    Stevens said postgame today that Tatum and Fournier are basically questionable for tomorrow and believe Walker and Smart are definitely not playing.

    Brace yourselves for the Carsen Edwards game…

  95. Brian Cronin:
    Magic fucking season, man, magic fucking season.

    Amen Brian this has really been one of my most satisfying and enjoyable seasons as a sports fan. Other teams like the ‘78 Yankees and ‘99 Knicks were great stories but this really came out of freaking nowhere

  96. May the fourth be with us!
    Few more satisfying ways to end the season than crushing Boston.

    I am almost sad the regular is coming to an end.

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