2021-22 Game Thread: Knicks vs. the Remnants of the World Champion Bucks

The Knicks host the under .500 Milwaukee Bucks at the Garden tonight.

The Bucks actually are coming off of a win against the even more depleted Philadelphia 76ers, so I guess this isn’t quite as easy as it may appear, but boy, it really would be swell for the Knicks to take advantage of the Bucks when they’re doing and get two wins against them.

Noel and Robinson are both questionable for tonight.

IS 56 WINS STILL ON TARGET? Yes, my prediction is still hanging in there!

As part of our all-poll content…

Would you swap head coaches with the Bucks if you were the Knicks?

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Let’s go, Knicks!

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206 thoughts to “2021-22 Game Thread: Knicks vs. the Remnants of the World Champion Bucks”

  1. Thats a great question!!!

    I can’t believe how much my feelings about Thibs have shifted but I will stick to my base position which is that coaches don’t matter much.

  2. I know a lot of you don’t like Dallas because of KP but we better root for the Dallas Knicks tonight because they are playing Chicago. We are going to be competing with the Bulls for playoff positioning.

  3. . Though ISM grew to be the warm and fuzzy and cute and cuddly para-mascot of the 2020-21 season, he was statistically very real and materially real. Hollinger and others have crunched the numbers and they’re robust. He has left the building.

    2. They did in fact replace Elf and Bullock with Kemba and Fournier. That’s a definite defensive downgrade. I’d put it as Elf, OK; Bullock, average to good; Kemba, terrible; Fournier, meh. Replacing “OK and average to good” with “terrible and meh” matters, again materially.

    can someone translate this shit?

  4. I’d stay with Thibs. It’s not so much that I think he’s a better coach, but I think this team of players likes Thibs. There’s no guarantee that would be true of Budenholzer (who we probably should have hired instead of Fizdale).

  5. Let’s face it, our Deeefense sucks!:
    I know a lot of you don’t like Dallas because of KP but we better root for the Dallas Knicks tonight because they are playing Chicago. We are going to be competing with the Bulls for playoff positioning.

    Maybe Frank will lead them to the win

  6. Good chance for Mitch,
    I’m sorry for Nerlens but with Lopez out this can be the best game to rest his knee, we need him at full strenght.

    Let’s Go Knicks!

  7. Thibs gave us the most enjoyable season since the run to the finals in 1999, so i’m sticking with him.

  8. Here comes the scrub army to torch us from 3, every single night. At this point I’m more scared of damn Nwora or Connaughton than I am of Middleton or Holiday.

  9. In general the defense was better but the Bucks are 4-5 on open threes…

    Our offense on the other hand is ugly, too much Randle and RJ and not enough ball movement.

  10. I’d say the Bucks can’t keep shooting this well, but that hasn’t stopped any Knick opponent yet

  11. What an infuriating game so far. It’s close and both teams are playing bad but it seems every time the Knicks close the gap a little stupid thing happens, a missed rebound, travel, a stupid foul, all annoying small stuff.

  12. KJG:
    A lot of you guys hate Bobby but I kinda like him

    Not I! No hate…he just wasn’t worth the silly deal Mills signed him for. Kinda one dimensional.

  13. Watch how many of each team’s players are in the paint when they launch a 3. Knicks maybe have one person crashing the board for a rebound. Bucks seem to have 2-3 jersey’s converging for a rebound every time. I keep
    Harping on this. We don’t close out on 3pt shooters and we don’t get guys coming in for rebounds on 3pt shots. Thibs gotta drill these guys on this shit till they puke or it becomes habit.

  14. I naively thought this could finally be the year we eliminate the dribble dribble dribble long 2 from our shot diet but alas.

  15. We’re playing like shit, newcomers are ghosts, we’re missing too much FTs.

    I have the Bucks 8-16 on open threes at the half (16 open shots are a lot, 11 in the second quarter…)

  16. Giannis is shooting 1-6 and we’re gonna lose the game to Bobby fucking Portis. I know I have anger management issues but this is too much to handle.

  17. You’d think since we shoot so well from three that we would know to try to guard against other teams shooting it.

  18. Bucks shooting 50% from 3, that will come down next half (i hope)

  19. Other random back of the envelope numbers:

    We’re 0-4 on open shots, 1-4 on “no pass” shots, 0-3 on “forced shots” (all Randle).

  20. RJ only throws it off the side of the backboard now. Think about when you guys played ball … if I hit the side of the backboard once I’d probably hide in the bathroom for an hour or two …

  21. I know Clyde has a fairly limited number of diagnoses for observed problems but he is absolutely right that this offense is just plain stagnant

  22. In Milwaukee we dominated on the boards and in the paint,
    we have played exactly the opposite today, this team is brainless.

  23. Once again, the starters come out of the half a step
    slow, out of sync, and uninspired. Thibs should try starting the bench in the 3rd quarter. Couldn’t be any worse.

  24. I know Clyde has a fairly limited number of diagnoses for observed problems but he is absolutely right that this offense is just plain stagnant

    but is it really the old foot trick

  25. This is the most embarrassing six minute stretch of basketball all season

  26. put out a lineup of mcbride iq grimes toppin and taj, anything but this

  27. Nice 3 for Randle but still feels like the balance between him and Obi is suboptimal in this game. Randle has played almost the whole game, is not playing all that well, and the offense has been sluggish. Again I am not saying glue Randle to the bench, I’m saying 3-5 more Obi minutes feels obviously better than this distribution.

  28. IQ and Rose carrying us. keep em in forever, i cant watch fournier or kemba play basketball in this state

  29. JK47:
    Got it to single digits which at least shows some moxie.

    I remember some years ago using the word “moxie” in a Mets forum and getting flamed by some guy, saying it was not a real word. Ah, memories.

    Hey, down to 9!

  30. Random thought: Thibs is not far from being able to be an Alfred Hitchcock imitator without any makeup…

  31. I really hope Thibs gives McBride a shot the next time Kemba takes a rest day.

  32. Random thought: Thibs is not far from being able to be an Alfred Hitchcock imitator without any makeup…

    hahahahahahahaha…

  33. i can imagine watching a game with bruno, you’d need to keep both eyes peeled, just in case shit starts flying around the room :P

  34. hibbert-esque block by giannis…

    edit: didn’t see the arm contact but now i do

  35. Why is this motherfucking scrub still taking wide open threes after he made 6 for fucks sake is everybody brainless in this team????

  36. Incredible effort and comeback to tie the game then immediately blow it by allowing 4 threes in a row. Uncanny.

  37. That bench mob poured it all out to catch them up and just didn’t have the legs to finish it off. Probably needed to start rotating in some starters there with 4 mins left or after that overturned call. But what a confidence builder for that group. Will pay dividends down the road.

  38. Max:
    Please someone tell me that we’re 7-5 and there’s no need to worry…

    Worst 7-5 team I’ve ever seen … I think?

  39. They say stop Giannis and make the other guys beat you and well we did an okay job on the first part

  40. I’m trying to find the pattern between our good games and bad games, to then only watch the good games! :D

  41. The modern NBA. Living and dying by the 3. The Bucks had literally no offense besides the threes and while they were a lot of wide opens ones, they hit a lot of prayers/bad shots too. I go back to a previos post by Marceal I think which is we should stay on shooters and stop over committing to penetrators. Also stop getting blown by every pick and roll.

    But I agree this loss is on the starters. Bench played with heart and togetherness but we can’t win if our best players play like dog shit.

  42. I’m trying to find the pattern between our good games and bad games, to then only watch the good games! :D

    the answer is – we need silky in the stands at the garden…

  43. I think we really need to cut bait on starting Kemba and maybe even Fournier. Rose is clearly better than this iteration of Kemba and Fournier has to date played worse than Burks in pretty much every respect (besides overall TS%). I don’t see what starting Fournier gets you over Burks besides maybe slightly more 3pt creation on ball screens, but I’d gladly sacrifice that for Burks’ ability to handle, play better d, and create shots out of nowhere. Whether this is right is up for debate, but I don’t think you can keep Kemba starting for much longer–it’s looking more and more untenable with every game.

    Not having Noel really hurt us this game, too. He should also end up starting if this is the Mitch we’re saddled with.

  44. Worst 7-5 team I’ve ever seen … I think?

    3 “real” wins (Boston, Phila at home, Chicago) plus 4 gimmes against depleted teams,
    1 “acceptable” loss (Indiana) and 4 eggs (3 against depleted teams),

    I think you’re right.

  45. I think it would make some sense to get our most sleepy players running with 2nd unit sometimes … Fournier is sleepiest … I think Barrett would thrive running … he’s not great finisher in half court but he is quite strong when he’s going fast break downhill … the contagiousness of energy is a real thing and we shouldn’t keep it so bottled up sometimes…

  46. geo: the answer is – we need silky in the stands at the garden…

    that’s right! who on kb wants to crowdfund season tix for me? :)

  47. And I’m just sorta down on Mitch .. I’ll continue to give him benefit of doubt and I know some people love the guy … I respect him … but he’s just been a step or too slow thus far … not just his feet … he gets his hands on a lot of rebounds but doesn’t actually end up with the ball … I want him flying around again …

  48. Bruno Almeida:
    Here comes the scrub army to torch us from 3, every single night. At this point I’m more scared of damn Nwora or Connaughton than I am of Middleton or Holiday.

    Bruno wins the scrub 3pt personal record challenge!!! Congrats Bruno!!!

  49. So at what point do we decide that Kemba is a problem? He’s been brutal the last few games including tonight. The last 4 games he’s shooting 8/38 from the field, 2/19 from 3, and has taken 1 FT. He has to be hurt, right? He’s not able to get past his guy or get to the rim at all and, as a result, he isn’t drawing fouls. For his career, he’s taken about 25% of his shots within 3 feet of the rim but the last few years that number has gone from 25% to 19% to 12% to only 10% this season. And his FTA have shown a comparable drop. He’s taking only 2.2 FTA/100 possessions vs 6.9 for his career, hell he takes 4.6 FTA/game for his career. And his FTr is .12 compared to .28 for his career.

    At what point do we put him on the IR to try and get healthy and, barring that, just bench him?

  50. Strange 2 games, last time we feasted at the rim and shot rocks from outside and won going away, tonight we shot well from 3 and couldn’t score at the hoop

  51. DRed:
    Strange 2 games, last time we feasted at the rim and shot rocks from outside and won going away, tonight we shot well from 3 and couldn’t score at the hoop

    Except for obi … soft touch ?

  52. Mitch has jumped the shark this season. He’s just not a productive player and we need a real center because Noel is a role player best suited for a bench role. Mitch is talented but he is not doing much with that talent.

    Kemba, I dunno. He’s playing like a guy we found on the scrap heap, which is exactly what he is. It’s fair to criticize Leon Rose for failing to solve the PG problem this off-season. Kemba did fall into our laps, which made the off-season look better, but that does not seem to be panning out.

  53. Tom Thibodeau on the idea that the starting unit needs 20 games to gel:

    “You know what they say: When it’s 10 games, you say you need 20. When you get to 20, you say 30. And you get to 30, you say 40. And then before you know it, the season’s over, so it’s a bunch of bullshit.”

    The rest of his postgame comments were cut and paste from the previous home losses:
    we need to do better, we need intensity, we need to share the ball, we need to close out better…

  54. The entire bench unit outplayed every single one of the starters.

    There was always a risk with Kemba, but Fournier is way more of a non-factor on a nightly basis than I would have guessed.

  55. I get the Kemba sucks right now narrative, because it’s true. But I hesitate to just swap him out for Rose. First of all, we can’t play Rose into the ground. Second, what does the backup band look like with Kemba? Maybe it works, and I guess worth a shot to find out, but the mob works largely because of Rose. And Kemba/IQ is pretty a small backcourt.

    I’d like to see Thibs start to work Deuce and Grimes into the lineup for a few minutes here and there, not just at the end of the game. They bring what’s been missing, which is super high energy and defense. Maybe spot minutes in the third, that sort of thing. I still think they’re pretty game-ready, and could start to solve the dismal lack of focus this team falls into.

    This also (eventually) solves the problem of just swapping Kemba for Rose for the first/second unit.

  56. Impressed that Thibs kept RJ on the bench a lot tonight while he sucked, he usually gets the longest leash on the team. Starters were:

    3-8
    6-15
    1-1
    1-5
    1-7

    When your starting PG and your SG get outscored by your center who took one shot you’re probably not going to win

  57. Right, I think you can’t just simply swap Kemba for Rose and hope for the best. There have to be other adjustments (defensively the bench would be a disaster without adding Grimes or McBride for some time imo). But in any case, I can already see the Payton issue reasserting itself, where the obviously better player in Rose is on the bench and has to help us out of a hole every single night because of the starting PGs ineptitude. Kemba needs a more aggressive rest schedule (he looks *so* cooked right now) and a lower minutes load when he does play (the leftover minutes going to McBride). Until then, we’re going to continue to have 1st and 3rd quarter deficits unless he learns how to shoot from distance again (and even then, he doesn’t run the offense particularly well, because he can’t penetrate).

  58. @Herring_NBA
    Most efficient 5-man lineup in the NBA so far, with at least 50 mins played: Quickley, Rose, Burks, Toppin, Gibson are +19.9 pts per 100 possessions in 61 mins

    Just start the bench, this NBA shit is easy

  59. Both Mitch and Noel can dunk the ball if you pass it to them, but we don’t. Both their FGAs fell off significantly when Thibs took over. I don’t not having a shooting center is why our starters shot 11-35 tonight. The bench guys got buckets while Taj shot 0-1 with 0 assists.

  60. JK47:
    We play 4-on-5 on the offensive end at all times. That #3 offensive rating is not going to hold.

    FALSE. Obi & Randle have played 34:30 together this season.

    *insert Dwight Schrute image*

  61. i don’t know what ball’s deal was reference wanting to play here, but…yeah, good young point guards (that can play defense) are really hard to come by…

  62. Fournier should be fine once his shots start going in again. Kemba might actually be cooked physically.

    If it does continue hopefully all the talk about kemba being the consummate professional holds up if he needs to be benched.

  63. I remember everyone here was saying start Rose instead of Peyton when we were in the playoffs against Atlanta and then Thibs actually made the change. We actually played Atlanta worse overall after the change. I think the same would happen here. Rose wouldn’t help the starters score enough to offset how much worse the bench mob would be. And we’d probably wear Rose out.

  64. DRed:
    @Herring_NBA
    Most efficient 5-man lineup in the NBA so far, with at least 50 mins played: Quickley, Rose, Burks, Toppin, Gibson are +19.9 pts per 100 possessions in 61 mins

    Just start the bench, this NBA shit is easy

    DRed for GM.

    Fournier’s so weird. He does a bunch of things so well (his Slytherin moves to the hoop, his 3 pt shooting, creating good 2s out of nothing) and then he totally disappears. For much too long for someone who has to be integral to the offense. And his D is the same. Seems to be playing hard, then gets beat repeatedly.

  65. If I switch anyone it’d be Burks & Fournier. The starting lineup could use Burks ball handling and Fournier would make a better spot-up target for Rose & IQ.

  66. Luckily it’s late so not many folks will read this, but I just have to report that KP was -7, Doncic was -20, THJ was -11, and Frank was plus 8. Despite only going 1-2. Oh the mysterious Frank effect…

  67. If somebody had come to me wanting to bet that Bulls and Wizards would be leading the eastern conference 12 games in, i think i’d have bet a lot of money against it. And here we are…

  68. Reggie had an hell of a game yesterday, i miss his 0-4 from 3P land, no 2P, no FT, 2 ‘bounds, a complete zero in assists, steals and blocks, 1 turnover.

  69. @Herring_NBA
    Most efficient 5-man lineup in the NBA so far, with at least 50 mins played: Quickley, Rose, Burks, Toppin, Gibson are +19.9 pts per 100 possessions in 61 mins

    Just start the bench, this NBA shit is easy

    the other side to this is kind of amazing. our starting 5 has played 205 minutes together, most in the league despite mitch missing a game. and they are -14.4 / 100! it has a defensive rating of 119.3/100. worst of any 5-man unit to play at least 35 minutes together.

  70. cybersoze:
    If somebody had come to me wanting to bet that Bulls and Wizards would be leading the eastern conference 12 games in, i think i’d have bet a lot of money against it. And here we are…

    You know when I watched the Knicks play the Wizards in preseason I thought they might be better than expected and wrote post saying they could be similar to the Knicks of last season. But I didn’t expect that goodness to land them at the top of the conference.

  71. Bulls aren’t too surprising, they have a lot of talented players. I didn’t think they’d be #1, personally i didn’t think it would work, but they had the upside potential.

    Wizards are an actual surprise. God, Westbrook sucks.

  72. Drafting a comment that I imagine I’ll have to copy and paste into the new thread shortly, but here goes:

    We all have seen how much better the bench unit plays than the starters this season, but what is the solution? Leave aside the matter of ego and money and that there is no way the team starts bringing Julius and RJ off the bench, and pretend Thibs actually had the juice and player buy-in to just swap the roles of the two five-man units. Would our bench mob be nearly as effective playing primarily against other teams’ starters? Would Obi be able to hold up defensively if he had to start out against guys like Sabonis and Tobias Harris? Quickley is tenacious and effortful on defense, but if he’s matched up against guys like LaVine every night?

    But since the full five-for-five switch is definitely not happening, what can Thibs do? Again, Julius and RJ are not sitting. And in general, they are not the big culprits here, even if RJ remains streaky and Randle still has some frustrating habits on offense. If Noel and Mitch are ever healthy at the same time, I certainly wouldn’t object to a switcheroo there. But it feels like it’s a backcourt thing. Would swapping Burks for Fournier solve anything? Would IQ be as effective playing without Rose? And would some of the Rose/Randle synergy problems we saw last season return if they were primarily playing alongside one another?

    Brian and/or Mike, it may be time for some more all-poll content, regarding which bench guys you would start and vice versa.

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