2021 NBA Playoffs Game Thread: Knicks @ Hawks, Game 4 – Elf’s Mother Is Going to Be Mad Again

The Knicks try to even up their playoff series against the Hawks in Game 4 in Atlanta, after a disappointing blowout loss to the Hawks where Atlanta maintained a double-digit lead for pretty much the entire second half of the game (every time the Knicks seemed poised to cut it to single digits, the Knicks missed a shot and then the Hawks seemed to hit a big three).

Elfrid Payton’s mom is going to be mad again (she trolled the Knicks on Twitter after Game 3 for losing the game after benching her son) as the Game 3 starting lineup of Rose and Taj in for Payton and Noel will repeat again today.

There is a lot of sad takes on the Knicks right now because they’re trailing in the series, but since it is only a single game, that whole deal can change on a dime with a win today.

Let’s hope that Randle has one of those monster superstar games we all know he can pull off (he’s scored over 40 against the Hawks twice before this season. He’s only done it four times in his whole career!).

Let’s go, even this series, Knicks (I even had this post go up at 12:21 to symbolize how this series will hopefully be evened after today’s game)!

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405 thoughts to “2021 NBA Playoffs Game Thread: Knicks @ Hawks, Game 4 – Elf’s Mother Is Going to Be Mad Again”

  1. [Reposting a couple of pertinent things from the end of the previous thread]

    Here’s Thibs’ response to why the Knicks aren’t attacking Trae Young on defense more — or, rather, how the Hawks are preventing them from doing that.

    Also, for those who keep hoping for Luca to improbably save us:

    @NYPost_Berman
    Tom Thibodeau said new signee Luca Vildoza didn’t join club in Atlanta now that he’s out of quarantine in New York. Gave no indication he’s working out at Tarrytown yet. “For later in the summer.”

  2. We needed every game and every minute to make the 4-seed and stay out of the 6-seed. If we had experimented with Randle at C more, then our postseason would already be over–much like Miami’s.

  3. the stats don’t back up Thibs’ assertion in that quote Alan posted (i.e. they really aren’t attacking Young, per second spectrum analytics) but whatever. It’s game time.

    Let’s get a monster game from Julius Randle and be done with this shit!!!

  4. Too bad this game isn’t on MSG. It’s been really nice to have these games called by Clyde and Breen.

    It makes sense because he’s 20 and the attention is rightly on Randle, but RJ being terrible has flown under the radar. If he doesn’t look good to start, I think you have to start thinking about soaking up a lot of his minutes with Burks and/or Quickley.

  5. Dear Elf’s mom, to your own safety, if you check the score with 1 min to end and the Knicks are up by 10, you switch your twitter account to private mode, ok? :D

  6. Normally I wouldn’t make a big deal about first quarters, but I think this one will tell us a lot about whether Randle and/or RJ are breaking out of their horrendous funks.

  7. In December, I would have been pleasantly surprised if the Knicks won more than 24 games.

    In January, I would have been pleasantly surprised by 30 wins.

    In February, I would have signed up for getting into the play-in as a 9/10 seed.

    In March, I would have been pleasantly surprised with .500 record.

    Before the last West Coast trip, I would have been just fine with a 6 seed and bowing out against the Bucks in 4.

    When the Knicks were down 13 in Game 2, I was prepared to be happy for the season.

    So, today is House Money. I want a Knicks win. I will be happy with this season no matter what (absent major injury).

  8. the level of difficulty on all these randle shots is ridiculously high but at least he’s making quicker moves….

  9. A whirlwind of WTF to start the game,
    Randle still putrid, RJ Barrett deserves exile in Siberia…

    Taj Gibson going coast to coast?
    What The Fuck

  10. love that play by RJ to get Rose the 3.

    Randle keeps trying. He seems confident it will turn.

  11. Yeah, it’s the same bullshit from our regular season flukes. At least this shit will be over quickly.

  12. Always good to make crosscourt passes in the backcourt for no reason.

  13. Someone needs to commit a playoff foul when Tray goes to the rack. I’ll take the flagrant 1.

  14. Randle blocked the lob, but then made a bad pass that was stolen by Trae Young, who dribbled out fir a 3. That felt like an inflection point.

  15. yeah, I hate to say it, doesn’t appear as though either julius or rj are out of their playoff funk yet…

  16. I know he’s been hitting these all year and this game has been his best start so far, but I refuse to believe we can’t get Julius Randle, a bowling ball shaped human being, easier shots.

  17. Yeah, it’s like, Hey Julius, let’s get you out of your slump by having you iso all game.

  18. rj not shooting well is not good.. but he’s one of the three guys on the whole team that will look to pass on a drive… he should be one of the guys you ride or die with…

  19. It’s one thing struggling to contain Trae Young but also getting roasted by Lou Williams off the dribble has to stop.

  20. Doris Burke has lost her fastball, she’s really annoying.

    They are killing us on the boards
    and I can’t curse fast enough to keep pace with this shit
    but we’re somewhat up by one.

  21. The Hawks are missing open looks. They generate so many good shots compared to us. Everything we take is contested. Eventually Atlanta is going to start drilling these open 3s and we’re going to be in trouble.

  22. The Hawks are just more talented at playing basketball which is becoming a huge problem.

  23. The Hawks play like trash, we somehow manage to play even worse. This is so upsetting. Losing to an actual good team like Philly or Milwaukee would be fine, not this.

  24. Can’t be surprised at this point when Noel fumbled the catch on the pass from Burks under the basket.

    Mitchell Robinson would make a difference.

  25. Here we go…. We can’t give up this many open 3s and expect them to miss everything.

  26. Z-man: 3 3’s in a row…that hurts

    Some luck in the first one as Bogdanovic got the ball without even knowing why, but yeah if they do this and we don’t, at some point we’ll be down double digits again. Let’s hope not.

  27. both defenses have been a bit off balance. knicks are over helping. hawks have been slower to rotate than games 1-3.

  28. boy trae young sits for really long stretches. Pretty bad of us to lose ground while he was resting.

  29. If I was Derrick Rose’s agent I would strongly advise him against doing Tom Thibodeau any favors this summer

  30. Until he made that pretty good mood, they sure were making Collins look awful on both ends.

  31. Burks looked off a couple of good Obi opportunities to settle for a long 3. I like Obi calling for the ball, though.

  32. I was so happy Capela missed that layup, because you want that dude shooting free throws.

  33. We gotta take the lead to end these Hall of Fame Induction speeches about Trae Young.

    EDIT: Thank you.

  34. That was an awesome offensive plan by Atlanta to dripple into triple coverage. A great move by RJ on the other way!

  35. KB Apprentice: We gotta take the lead to end these Hall of Fame Induction speeches about Trae Young.

    Yeah, i’m trying to mentally block Doris voice.

  36. I took a quick peek at twitter and a lot of hawks fans are mad at Burke for her blatant pro-knicks bias.

  37. DRed: I took a quick peek at twitter and a lot of hawks fans are mad at Burke for her blatant pro-knicks bias.

    Whaaat?? :O

  38. Obi’s provided good energy this series. He’s not playing great or anything, but the team has a higher activity level when he’s in. Would like to see him get more minutes.

  39. TheOakmanCometh:
    Obi’s provided good energy this series. He’s not playing great or anything, but the team has a higher activity level when he’s in. Would like to see him get more minutes.

    Totally agree with this. And I think he’s a good matchup both ways against Gallo.

  40. lol when did Doris become such a controversial figure on here

    I feel a lot better about this game. It feels like a regular season slow start for Randle and RJ, not “what the hell is wrong with these guys”.

    edit: my stream is about a minute behind, so that was before Julius’ nightmare string of possessions

  41. cybersoze: Whaaat?? :O

    Doris has love for everyone that plays well, and your average social media troglodyte interprets that as bias.

  42. Just an awful series there by Randle. Missed J, slow in transition for Collins dunk, turnover for Bogie 3. Can’t have that in the playoffs.

  43. Z-man:
    How great is this compared to what looked destined to be a sweep vs MIL?

    If the Knicks are playing like this I’d rather be embarassed in 4 games and be over sooner, instead of losing to a mediocre team anyway with extra steps.

  44. What a dumb foul by Young! I love it! How dumb do you have to be to foul him there?

  45. Z-man:
    How great is this compared to what looked destined to be a sweep vs MIL?

    Pretty sure I hate the Hawks waaaaayyyyy more than the Bucks. So let’s crush these f**kers.

  46. These Bogo threes are so ill-advised and then, of course, he chooses to make the pass instead this last possession.

  47. Bruno Almeida: If the Knicks are playing like this I’d rather be embarassed in 4 games and be over sooner, instead of losing to a mediocre team anyway with extra steps.

    Dunno what your problem is but the Hawks statistically during the regular season were virtually identical to the Knicks. So I guess according to you if the Hawks are mediocre so are the Knicks.

  48. The only slight criticism I will allow about Doris is that her “praise the people playing well” tends to mean going overboard if one team is on a run.

  49. I think Doris talks too much but I don’t think she’s out to get the Knicks (or the Hawks).

    We would be in good shape if we’d just make some open 3s

  50. Four point deficit at least isn’t a double-digit deficit.

    Seriously, this is not a bad place to be.

  51. Randle’s ineffectiveness has led to fewer minutes…which may go some way towards addressing the ineffectiveness? There might be something to not playing 40+ minutes every game.

  52. I’ll take a 4 point deficit when the Hawks are shooting better than the Knicks from 3 with almost twice as many attempts. Gotta make some of those shots though.

  53. Bruno Almeida: If the Knicks are playing like this I’d rather be embarassed in 4 games and be over sooner, instead of losing to a mediocre team anyway with extra steps.

    The Hawks are not a mediocre team. They are not elite, but defintiely in that second level. If anything, we’re the mediocre team.

  54. There’s an awful lot of criticism here. Some is deserved. But I’ll say it now. Give Atlanta credit. The Hawks have elevated their game, specifically on the defensive end. The series and game are tight because the Knicks are not hitting their outside shots at the rate they were just a week or so ago.

    This is a good but tough game. Randle is working hard. DRose has been a godsend.

    Enjoy each of these games guys. The playoffs are a gift we didn’t expect.

  55. I don’t think Doris is biased for one team or the other,
    I use to like her a lot and now I find her comments boring and not so insightful, that’s it.

  56. BigBlueAL: Dunno what your problem is but the Hawks statistically during the regular season were virtually identical to the Knicks.So I guess according to you if the Hawks are mediocre so are the Knicks.

    And aren’t they mediocre? That’s precisely the point.

  57. Brian Cronin:
    Four point deficit at least isn’t a double-digit deficit.

    Seriously, this is not a bad place to be.

    Agree. We just need one of IQ or Bullock to start making. Also, I do feel like this could be “the Obi game” if Thibs just leaned on him a bit more.

    The rest of the guys are still awkward but much more promising than last game, especially RJ.

  58. The best play of the half was our double team leading to a steal and a layup. I’d like to see more of it.

  59. Seems like their offense comes down to them making or missing wide open threes, and ours comes down to Rose making difficult shots.

    Doesn’t make me feel very optimistic.

  60. Doris is a groundbreaker. Not my cup of tea on an absolute basis but deserves tons of admiration. Relatively speaking, she’s way better than the likes of Mark Jackson.

  61. Some missed chances at the end of the half, 2 FTs by Randle and RJ’s 3P at the buzzer. But right now it’s a tight game and we’re not playing godawful like on game3, so i think we can take this one in the end.

  62. GoNYGoNYGo – Gearing up for the playoffs:
    There’s an awful lot of criticism here. Some is deserved. But I’ll say it now. Give Atlanta credit. The Hawks have elevated their game, specifically on the defensive end.The series and game are tight because the Knicks are not hitting their outside shots at the rate they were just a week or so ago.

    This is a good but tough game. Randle is working hard. DRose has been a godsend.

    Enjoy each of these games guys. The playoffs are a gift we didn’t expect.

    They were playing pretty well at the end of the season. Not sure they elevated their game here. To me it just feels that the Knicks are playing below their potential while the Hawks aren’t.

  63. Brian Cronin:
    The only slight criticism I will allow about Doris is that her “praise the people playing well” tends to mean going overboard if one team is on a run.

    This this this. It makes people mad (me sometimes included!) because if your team is on the wrong end of a run, it feels like she’s a homer announcer, rubbing salt in the wound. But she’s impartial with her enthusiasm.

  64. If you’d gone to the Westgate on Jan. 1 and asked for odds on Derrick Rose being Knicks playoff MVP, what could you have gotten? +50,000?

  65. Atlanta is not a mediocre team, they finished 27-11 with mcmillan as they recovered bogdanovic and other players from injury and benched cam reddish. Not in the Nets, Bucks, 76ers level, but an incredible offensive team.

  66. Max:
    I don’t think Doris is biased for one team or the other,
    I use to like her a lot and now I find her comments boring and not so insightful, that’s it.

    I have noticed she’s developed a shtick; it feels like she’s tailored aspects of her announcing for a national TV audience. It is less wonky and analytical, and more simplified and narrative-based.

  67. iserp: Atlanta is not a mediocre team, they finished 27-11 with mcmillan as they recovered bogdanovic and other players from injury

    Yeah, i think they’re good. But i’d also like to see the Knicks playing well to check where we’re at comparing to them. This way it feels like the Knicks poor play is the difference and not the Hawks being a good team.

  68. Z-man:
    Doris is a groundbreaker. Not my cup of tea on an absolute basis but deserves tons of admiration. Relatively speaking, she’s way better than the likes of Mark Jackson.

    She’s a groundbreaker, she deserves a lot of respect, she runs circles around Mark Jackson (but let me say that this was easy, Jackson’s one of the worst).
    Still, I used to appreciate her more, sooner or later we all lose something to Father Time (see Hubie Brown, Marv Albert, John Sterling and so on).

  69. Max: She’s a groundbreaker, she deserves a lot of respect, she runs circles around Mark Jackson (but let me say that this was easy, Jackson’s one of the worst).
    Still, I used to appreciate her more, sooner or later we all lose something to Father Time (see Hubie Brown, Marv Albert, John Sterling and so on).

    Yeah, at age 63 I’m losing hope of getting a Knicks PG tryout…

  70. The Hawks are 2-1 against this Knicks team playing pretty much the worst it possibly can play, with Randle and Barret combining for like 25% shooting, and the Knicks still had a chance to win both games they lost. How is this high quality?

    They were good in the regular season and half, just like the Knicks were, but right now both teams are playing absolutely mediocre basketball, no matter how much you try to twist it.

    Nothing that happened in the regular season matters in the playoffs, every year is the same.

  71. Doug Chu: I have noticed she’s developed a shtick; it feels like she’s tailored aspects of her announcing for a national TV audience. It is less wonky and analytical, and more simplified and narrative-based.

    Yeah, this can be true.

  72. Z-man: Yeah, at age 63 I’m losing hope of getting a Knicks PG tryout…

    You’re a fighter, I gave up earlier :-)

  73. It’s not just that the Hawks are playing better than the regular season while we’re playing worse. At full strength, the Hawks are just better than us. Hunter, Bogdan, Gallo, Capela, and Young all missed time this year. If they’d played full seasons, Atlanta would have several more wins and we’d be considered the clear underdog.

  74. other than rose…nobody is really playing playoff caliber ball…it is a collective shit show…the fact that we are even in this is a miracle

  75. RJ missed an open three, Young hit a three,
    Bullock miss an open three, Young hit a long two.
    Randle made a turnover and Hunter hit an and-1.
    Arlanta +12.

    If our guys don’t wake up this game is over.

  76. I think Randle’s decision-making has been compromised by the greater physical and mental workload the Hawks’ defense has put on him.

  77. They kicked our ass in game three and they’re kicking our ass today.

    We don’t have the horses.

  78. The Hawks generate so many open 3s it’s unbelievable. Our rotations suck right now.

  79. see what excuses Randle has after this one…

    leon better put the offer sheet into the circular file

  80. Think of how lucky they are that the Hawks are missing these bunnies?

    I love that RJ move!

  81. Fucking Bullock. The guys who are not playing well need to sit now. You can’t keep doing what isn’t working until it’s too late.

    That probably counts for Randle, too. The team moves the ball better when he’s out.

  82. At least he went hard to the rim that time. He should do that every time down the floor against these stick figures Atlanta has on the court.

  83. going to have to save face at home in game 5…and then pray…our supposed best player is in the fetal position in his fox hole

  84. TheOakmanCometh:
    Randle’s confidence is shot right now. You can see it in his face.

    It’s like he can’t believe what’s happening and he doesn’t know what to do about it.

  85. Z-man:
    The last guy I saw choke this badly was George McGinnis in the 1977 finals

    And there’s a good chance he was coked out for at least part of it.

  86. Down by 17. They all gotta shut up, stop shaking their heads, stop pleading to the refs. I don’t even mind that offensive foul on Julius. Take it to the hoop.

  87. Randle looked flummoxed from the very first time he touched the ball and saw the Hawk defensive setup on Sunday night. It really hasn’t changed much since then.

  88. When 32 year old Derrick Rose and 35 year old Taj Gibson are the only guys who can keep their composure and look like they give a shit all the time, it’s a really sad moment.

    I know I get irrationally angry during games like this because I care much more about this team than I should, but this is just so sad.

  89. Z-man:
    The last guy I saw choke this badly was George McGinnis in the 1977 finals

    At least George McGinnis ran into a Maurice Lucas whereas Randle has been his own worst enemy in this series

  90. We can say how great a job Thibs did during this season, but when our best player is slumping and the coach doesn’t stop him from going iso every other fucking possession it’s a problem with the coach.

  91. There’s some stuff to complain about, but from my POV it comes down to them just plain having more weapons. We simply have no way to score as easily as they do.

  92. Bruno Almeida:
    When 32 year old Derrick Rose and 35 year old Taj Gibson are the only guys who can keep their composure and look like they give a shit all the time, it’s a really sad moment.

    I know I get irrationally angry during games like this because I care much more about this team than I should, but this is just so sad.

    Of course it feels like shit. But I believe the Knicks are giving all they can give. This is their best. If they had another gear, they’d go to it.

  93. Bruno Almeida:
    When 32 year old Derrick Rose and 35 year old Taj Gibson are the only guys who can keep their composure and look like they give a shit all the time, it’s a really sad moment.

    I know I get irrationally angry during games like this because I care much more about this team than I should, but this is just so sad.

    I don’t think that’s a fair characterization. They are frazzled and frustrated, The effort is there, they are just not executing.

  94. I’d like to see what Thibs could do with some better players.

    We have a couple of pieces, and he got some great performances out of the veterans during the season, but our main problem is a lack of top tier talent.

  95. Thibs has squeezed most of the lemonade out of this lemon. Hope there is enough left so that the Hawks don’t win the series at MSG.

  96. That travel by Bullock was a turning point, would have cut it to 5. Hawks blew it open after that

  97. Agree that they’re trying hard — and let’s face it, we love these guys — but they’re all complaining (esp. Randle) about things they do not control.

    They need to get back to chipping away and getting stops.

  98. Trying to be positive, in the regular season when we had awful 3rd quarters, we won almost all of those games. Keep believing.

  99. KB Apprentice:
    Agree that they’re trying hard — and let’s face it, we love these guys — but they’re all complaining (esp. Randle) about things they do not control.

    They need to get back to chipping away and getting stops.

    I don’t like to see it either, but does that realistically change anything? A better positive mental attitude?

  100. After 4 playoffs games I’ll be rather nervous at the idea of re-signing Reggie Bullock, Nerlens Noel and maybe even an overpriced Burks.

    As strange as I feel saying it, only Rose and Taj looks are real keeper.

    Now we can go on winning the serie in 7…

  101. After 4 playoffs games I’ll be rather nervous at the idea of re-signing Reggie Bullock, Nerlens Noel and maybe even an overpriced Burks.

    I would be extremely hesitant to do anything other than one-year deals. These guys have played admirably, but we have the money to pursue serious talent upgrades and we need to do it.

    How does 4/$80M for Norm Powell sound?

  102. I don’t like the players always contesting the referees. Concentrate on trying to make your layups instead.

  103. Doug Chu: I don’t like to see it either, but does that realistically change anything? A better positive mental attitude?

    I think so. If Randle thinks he’s missing shots b/c the refs are against him, he’s in his head. If he accepts that he’s missing shots b/c of his own mistakes, he can fix those.

  104. We waited for a reaction after the gigantic egg of game-3.
    We’re still waiting, the egg grows bigger.
    We’ve been outclassed in this two games.
    By a lot.

  105. norm isn’t enough… can’t have any halfway measures… in the playoffs you need high level talent and we need all our bullets to get after it….

  106. Obi is the only one on the floor who recognizes that they can’t/don’t guard him.

  107. lol down 23 pts and 2 games to 1, Thibs finally makes an adjustment and goes with Randle and Obi. Too late, buddy.

    EDIT: and Randle immediately gets his easiest bucket of the postseason.

  108. LOL at Thibs going small at this point in the series. This point in the series. Now it won’t really go that great because the game’s already over, and that will make him forget all about it.

  109. It doesn’t look great for Thibs that we’re getting worse each game. Whatever buttons he’s pushing, they’re not working.

    And it’s not like he’s losing a chess match to Red Auerbach. This is Nate McMillan we’re talking about here, a guy who has lost a million playoff games in a row.

  110. You guys wanted Thibs to go small, he didn’t want to do it having the chance to win the game. He’s doing it now to check it out. Seems fair.

  111. TheOakmanCometh:
    It doesn’t look great for Thibs that we’re getting worse each game. Whatever buttons he’s pushing, they’re not working.

    And it’s not like he’s losing a chess match to Red Auerbach. This is Nate McMillan we’re talking about here, a guy who has lost a million playoff games in a row.

    If this is a chess match Thibs is playing with pawns and McMillan has all the queens and kings.

  112. TheOakmanCometh:
    It doesn’t look great for Thibs that we’re getting worse each game. Whatever buttons he’s pushing, they’re not working.

    And it’s not like he’s losing a chess match to Red Auerbach. This is Nate McMillan we’re talking about here, a guy who has lost a million playoff games in a row.

    I’m giving McMillan his flowers. He did his homework, pushed the right buttons, and he’s been successful. If he breaks his own playoffs curse, he’s earned it.

  113. Don’t seem as a tactics problem today
    It’s clearly psychology
    No confidence

  114. BigBlueAL: If this is a chess match Thibs is playing with pawns and McMillan has all the queens and kings.

    yeah seriously. In a chess metaphor, Thibs and McMillans are not playing with the same set of pieces, lol.

  115. I’m fine with the small lineup, but I wish IQ was in for Reggie. Let IQ get his shot on track during garbage. And Bullock has been … well … garbage today.

  116. Even from the pregame shootaround you could see Hawks players looking confident while knicks ones were stressed.
    The only one who was relaxed was Elf!

  117. The problem is Randle. He’s forgotten how to shoot and doesn’t have a post up game to offset. That’s our main issue. Thibs can’t shoot for him

  118. So Julius is paying back for Gallo’s elbow on Reggie. Guys. That’s just not …

  119. If Julius is suspended a game, I wonder if that’s actually good for us at this point

  120. Bo Nateman: Let Knox experience the playoffs.

    Yeah, let’s do it. He’s a good kid, he deserves it. What can happen? Missing his 3Ps? That’s what the starters are doing anyway…

  121. KB Apprentice:
    So Julius is paying back for Gallo’s elbow on Reggie. Guys. That’s just not …

    On the other hand, why not come out of the game on your own terms? (JOKE)

  122. i’ve gone to the psilo gummies to take the edge off..this sucks…oh well…game 5 in the garden should be insane..wonder if they still chant MVP MVP for the MIP (most invisible player)…

  123. MSG will try to will the Knicks to victory with every fiber of their being in Game 5. If we go out, we go out with a bang

  124. Doug Chu:
    MSG will try to will the Knicks to victory with every fiber of their being in Game 5. If we go out, we go out with a bang

    Yes. A short memory is a good memory in sport. Let’s crush them at home.

    EDIT: Reggie, man. WTF? Taj had a great game. Obi could have done more. RJ made progress. Even Randle made progress, then lost it.

  125. Who would have said coming into the series our worst player would be Julius? Not sure I’ve ever seen anything like this to a star player, ever

  126. Max:
    Obi Toppin is our third best player in this serie after Rose and Taj.

    Yeah, as much as I like Nerlens, I would go to our (new) small lineup when the Hawks take out Capela. If Randle can figure out the spacing, he and Obi can take turns just laying it in the hoop. Gallo and Collins don’t have the D (IMO).

    EDIT: And there were multiple more times Obi was open and waving as he cut to the goal. Burks looked him off a couple times early, and later … we just fell apart.

  127. The scuffle at the end is on the referees, how come with a timeout they won’t go check what happened? Gallo would be called for the foul, elbowing Bullock, and none of that would have happened.

  128. Shoulda won game 1

    Oh well at least I have the weird ass AAA first place Mets to look forward to

  129. KB Apprentice: If Randle can figure out the spacing, he and Obi can take turns just laying it in the hoop.

    But Randle has to make layups again, he missed a lot from point blank today

  130. cybersoze:
    The scuffle at the end is on the referees, how come with a timeout they won’t go check what happened? Gallo would be called for the foul, elbowing Bullock, and none of that would have happened.

    100% agreed

  131. cybersoze: But Randle has to make layups again, he missed a lot from point blank today

    True he but he prepped with the Charles Smith film. Just gotta show him some Anthony Mason film instead.

  132. Best thing of this series is that our players would not possibly demand mega max contracts

  133. PS — I’m not sooooo excited that our game five Wednesday is on the anniversary of the Charles Smith game five.

  134. DRed:
    On the plus side we are going to have so much to fight about this offseason

    At least we know Randle isn’t going to ease up on his offseason training

  135. Knew Your Nicks:
    Best thing of this series is that our players would not possibly demand mega max contracts

    Or they can ask for the max and then we can hire a bus of Hawks fans to laugh them out of the room…

  136. Lol Derrick Rose and Julius Randle and RJ Barrett are mere pawns now. [insert eye roll]

    Look man, there’s no coach in the world who could have bridged the gap in this series. But I hope this helps Z-Man, BBA, and everyone else in the “this team’s success was 100% Thibs” camp see how much Julius Randle bailed Thibs out by making a ridiculous amount of low percentage shots all year.

    Now that he can’t do it, we can all see just how mediocre this team really is, and there’s nothing Thibs (or any coach) can do about it.

  137. KB Apprentice:
    PS — I’m not sooooo excited that our game five Wednesday is on the anniversary of the Charles Smith game five.

    Let’s hope for a different outcome

  138. @Hubert You know there’s the other side of that coin, right? Not even Phil Jackson (the coach, not the executive) would coach a team to the win with his main players shooting like sh*t. There’s no denying of that.
    But i’m not on either team, i think the season was part Thibs, part Randle. In the playoffs, of course Thibs can try to do better, but it’s been mostly on Randle. He’s gone from MIP to MRP in just 4 games.

  139. randle played bad.. but not terrible today.. this sort of effort would’ve won game 1 easily.. the problem today was our defense… the hawks took and made a lot of tough shots but we started fouling a lot today which we didn’t usually…. hopefully this ignites randle’s game cause we’re down to our last shot….

    taj was giving his all and played well but noel has been a lynchpin for our defense and unfortunately been turned into a liability on the offensive end… i’m not sure if the toppin thing work tho but it’s the sort of thing that should’ve at least been tried in the reg season…. esp down the stretch…. and now everyone is just guessing including the players….

    RJ at least played well and if we’re going to get back in this series we will need him to continue to play like he did today.. he’s one of the few players that generates ball movement on this squad so he should be seeing the floor as much as randle has.. he needs the experience anyway….

  140. Thibs could have done a better job with the offense, I think. (we just don’t take enough 3s, even with our roster problems) But he did such a tremendous job overall I can’t complain too much-it wouldn’t have been a particularly good offense no matter who the coach was.

    I said before the series that the Hawks were better than us. It’s not a huge gulf, but when they’re healthy they’re a more talented team than we are. They have the best player in the series and maybe 4 of the 5 best players. Cam Reddish is hurt. We play better defense

  141. TheOakmanCometh:
    It doesn’t look great for Thibs that we’re getting worse each game. Whatever buttons he’s pushing, they’re not working.

    And it’s not like he’s losing a chess match to Red Auerbach. This is Nate McMillan we’re talking about here, a guy who has lost a million playoff games in a row.

    Like JK47 alluded to – if you don’t have the horses, you don’t have the horses. We all love how hard our guys play and competed this year, but you need premiere offensive talent come playoff time. And this season, the Knicks have often gotten in the most trouble when their offense stalls.

    And give McMillan some credit – he has won playoff games, and he’s constructed a game plan to scramble Randall (no Cunningham, lol) up on offense.

    It is what it is.

  142. DRed: On the plus side we are going to have so much to fight about this offseason

    You get my vote for “Comment of the day”. ;)

  143. I think this series should silence the people who thought it is a good idea to trade Mitch and just re-sign Noel to be the starting C.

  144. BigBlueAL:
    I think this series should silence the people who thought it is a good idea to trade Mitch and just re-sign Noel to be the starting C.

    Agreed.

    Maybe that’s the story for game five: Mitch limping out from the tunnel, ready to go …

  145. BigBlueAL: I think this series should silence the people who thought it is a good idea to trade Mitch and just re-sign Noel to be the starting C.

    As Mitch’s number 1 fan i approve your comment. ;)
    The partner for Mitch is Queta, please do it, Leon. :)

  146. Nerlens is playing hurt. If this was the regular season he may not even be playing.

  147. I said it before the start of the series, if Gallo was on our team he’d be the 2nd best player. He’s on their bench. There’s no question they have way more firepower. The thing that gave a shot was that our defense looked a bit better, but Atlanta stepped up their defense in the playoffs.

  148. at some point you realize we’re complaining about losing a playoff game where we started Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson

  149. Deeefense:
    Nerlens is playing hurt.If this was the regular season he may not even be playing.

    I agree and I wasn’t trying to knock Noel. I hope he stays but as the backup to Mitch like he was this season. Because of his size and length Mitch has a ceiling that Noel doesn’t have and it’s necessary against teams like the Hawks and if they somehow advance the 76ers next round.

  150. Honestly after today it’s hard for me to get that upset. The Hawks are a good team with a lot of weapons, better than their record cause they had a bad coach for thebfirst half of the season.

    RJ was good and Randle was better but we just don’t have enough especially with Noel being hobbled and no Mitch.

    Just gotta hope the garden can bring out their best and they get one more W for the season for the fans.

    Still, we’re in a good place. We got a good coach. Cap space, two first round picks and a good core of players with Randle, RJ, IQ, OBI, Mitch and some of the vets. If Villadoza can be a real upgrade from Elf and we hit one of the picks, use our cap space wisely we can build on this season for sure.

    I don’t really blame Thibs for this. But if we can keep the core together and our young players improve, we got many years of playoffs ahead for us.

  151. Losing House Money back to the House never feels good.

    Some specific thoughts:

    1. I do not like how easily Randle switched onto Young with no attempt to switch back. Young is too quick and gets to the rim at will.
    2. I did like Obi/Randle at 4/5 when Capela sat.
    3. When Randle tried to go the rim in the 3Q, he was not successful.
    4. Bullock has been bad for 5 out of the last 6 halves. His only good half was the end of Game 2.
    5. Burks also has been really bad at converting off of his drives.
    6. Gallo is a bad defender when he has to move laterally. The Knicks have let him stand still.
    7. Not playing Payton is a good choice.
    8. I would have IQ matched up on Lou Williams. Rose plays when Young plays.
    9. Because Atl does not challenge the rim, Noel really does not have much value on D. He is a major offensive liability.

  152. One more thought: If Randle plays at All-NBA level for three straight games, the Knicks can win this series. If he plays at All-Star level, it would be a stretch. If he plays like he has so far this series, I cannot imagine the Knicks winning three in a row.

  153. You know there’s the other side of that coin, right? Not even Phil Jackson (the coach, not the executive) would coach a team to the win with his main players shooting like sh*t. There’s no denying of that.

    of course, cyber.

    The issue is I do not see us missing shots as something random. I attribute it to a rudimentary, ISO based offense that is very simple to defend.

    To be clear, I am not pinning any of the results on Thibs. That’s just something Z-Man and BBA want to say.

    I am merely disappointed that we have tried nothing to generate better looks and easier shots. I know Thibs is not an offensive guru, but I expected something. The Hawks have many weaknesses on defense and we are doing nothing to exploit them.

    Generally speaking, I frustrate easily when something isn’t working and the only solution management comes up with is to try the same thing that isn’t working over and over.

  154. One thing I’ve noticed all series is Randle getting open looks from 3 only to hesitate, the defender comes up, he does a pump fake and then goes to the rim but by that time the help is there to clog the paint and now he’s taking a more difficult mid range or shot at the rim or throws a pass to someone who is open but is taking a worse shot. All season he has canned those open 3s but this series he has hesitated for some reason. He needs to take those with confidence. He finally made one in the 4th quarter. I really think he got in his head this series and that had been a huge difference in the series. He makes some of those 3s he passed up, then he can more easily drive to the rim, pass to the open man, etc.

  155. And I feel like even when Randle passes to an open man for a three those players miss them bc they expected Randle to take that open three instead of pump faking and driving. It’s like he missed a few in game one and lost all of his confidence in his 3 point shot.

  156. Hubert: of course, cyber.

    The issue is I do not see us missing shots as something random. I attribute it to a rudimentary, ISO based offense that is very simple to defend.

    To be clear, I am not pinning any of the results on Thibs. That’s just something Z-Man and BBA want to say.

    I am merely disappointed that we have tried nothing to generate better looks and easier shots. I know Thibs is not an offensive guru, but I expected something. The Hawks have many weaknesses on defense and we are doing nothing to exploit them.

    Generally speaking, I frustrate easily when something isn’t working and the only solution management comes up with is to try the same thing that isn’t working over and over.

    It’s the same offense they used all year that lead them to shooting 39% from 3pt range which was 3rd best in the NBA. It is really simple, they are missing a ton of open 3pters. Then as swift just mentioned Randle and other players as well are passing up wide open 3pters to drive into traffic.

    Playoffs are a small sample size and 3pt shooting can most certainly be something affected by randomness. Like JVG often says it’s a make or miss league and right now the Knicks are missing big time. It’s very easy to say Thibs has to be creative and do something different but again what else is he supposed to do besides change the rotation which he has by benching Payton? How can you not watch what Trae Young and even someone like Bogdan is capable of doing and not see how the Knicks right now don’t have players who can do those same things?

    Series is still not over and the 2 days off are coming at a perfect time. Knicks could certainly win Game 5 at home then the pressure shifts to Atlanta to close it out at home in Game 6 and maybe then those shots they’re making become a little tougher as the pressure increases.

  157. BigBlueAL: It’s very easy to say Thibs has to be creative and do something different but again what else is he supposed to do besides change the rotation which he has by benching Payton?

    He needs to make them pay for all the resources they’ve devoted to taking away Randle by exploiting the openings and areas and people that opened up. He’s shown no ability to do that whatsoever. Julius hasn’t either, but there was no reason to believe he would. He’s not a 1, he’s a 4/5.

  158. Hubert: of course, cyber.

    The issue is I do not see us missing shots as something random. I attribute it to a rudimentary, ISO based offense that is very simple to defend.

    To be clear, I am not pinning any of the results on Thibs. That’s just something Z-Man and BBA want to say.

    I am merely disappointed that we have tried nothing to generate better looks and easier shots. I know Thibs is not an offensive guru, but I expected something. The Hawks have many weaknesses on defense and we are doing nothing to exploit them.

    Generally speaking, I frustrate easily when something isn’t working and the only solution management comes up with is to try the same thing that isn’t working over and over.

    This asshole-ish diatribe just highlights how much of a stinking pile of inane bullshit your entire line of thinking is. Julius Randle took the same shots he made all year and missed. So did RJ. So did Bullock. So did pretty much everyone else. You have to be willfully ignorant (or just plain dumb, which I know you’re not) to believe otherwise. I’ll go with willfully ignorant. There’s no way you could possibly be as stupid as your comments suggest.

    Our team got frustrated because they ran into a team that wasn’t afraid of Randle, RJ and the rest of our highly flawed gang as offensive players, and eventually figured out how to destroy them from the perimeter and contain them on defense. That was a pre-ordained outcome to anyone but the most subjective or agenda-driven analysts. The Hawks are simply better. Deal with it.

    We had

  159. He’s a mediocre offensive tactician. Doesn’t make him a bad coach; he’s a good coach. But he’s a mediocre offensive tactician. He actually should hire an offensive analogue to him when he was a defensive coordinator.

  160. The “coach every game like it’s Game 7” approach runs into some headwind when the opposing coach is also coaching like it’s Game 7.

    We can out-effort and out-scrap teams during the regular season but that’s hard to do when every game is an extremely high leverage game.

    We need better players.

  161. JK47:
    The “coach every game like it’s Game 7” approach runs into some headwind when the opposing coach is also coaching like it’s Game 7.

    We can out-effort and out-scrap teams during the regular season but that’s hard to do when every game is an extremely high leverage game.

    We need better players.

    I mean, is it really that hard to understand?

  162. Z-man: I mean, is it really that hard to understand?

    It doesn’t mean he didn’t also get outcoached. If the opposing players somehow step it up, why wouldn’t/doesn’t the opposing coach? Sure looks like the Hawk staff has stepped it up to me.

  163. I especially liked the way that Thibs defended Bullock, causing him to miss 4 wide open shots.

  164. He’s playing Bullock too much. Bullock isn’t very good. Shocker: He’s riding the vets and mercs too much. He also played a guy the first two games, one of which was a 2 point loss, that is so bad he had to be removed from the rotation in the middle of a playoff series.

  165. E, all merc’d out: It doesn’t mean he didn’t also get outcoached.If the opposing players somehow step it up, why wouldn’t/doesn’t the opposing coach?Sure looks like the Hawk staff has stepped it up to me.

    Yeah, sure. Nothing to do with the players simply being better. Right. Especially that Trae Young guy, he’s sure being coached up!

  166. Z-man: Yeah, sure. Nothing to do with the players simply being better. Right. Especially that Trae Young guy, he’s sure being coached up!

    The players probably are a bit better but, again, that doesn’t mean the coach with the better players isn’t outcoaching Thibs, because he is.

  167. E, all merc’d out:
    He’s playing Bullock too much.Bullock isn’t very good.

    Oh is that right? You mean he should have played Burks and his 4-12 more? Or his Quickley with his 0-3 more? Or maybe he should have not benched Payton?

    Do you realize how ridiculous you sound?

  168. Z-man: Oh is that right? You mean he should have played Burks and his 4-12 more? Or his Quickley with his 0-3 more? Or maybe he should have not benched Payton?

    Do you realize how ridiculous you sound?

    Yeah, it’s right. I wouldn’t have wrote it if I didn’t think it was right. Reggie Bullock isn’t very good. When the other teams didn’t care about him very much, he was passably ok for about a third of the season. For the first part of the season, even though the other teams didn’t care about him very much, he still sucked. Now the games have gotten a bit bigger and the other teams plan and prepare more, and he’s being totally exposed.

    He should have benched Payton in the regular season. The guy shouldn’t have gotten within 1,000 feet of a playoff court.

  169. Several of us wrote that he should bench Payton because the Knicks couldn’t afford to waste possessions in the playoffs and instead he started Payton both halves in Game 1, the Knicks wasted possessions, and lost by 2. That actually did transpire. Then he did the same thing in Game 2, the Knicks wasted more possessions, until finally, the inevitable became completely obvious. It was a dreadfully bad, awful, decision. He owns it.

  170. E, all merc’d out:
    Several of us wrote that he should bench Payton because the Knicks couldn’t afford to waste possessions in the playoffs and instead he started Payton both halves in Game 1, the Knicks wasted possessions, and lost by 2.That actually did transpire.It was a dreadfully bad, awful, decision.He owns it.

    Yeah, that’s why we’re down in this series. And that’s why we lost games 3 and 4 in consecutive asskickings. Right.

  171. Z-man: Yeah, that’s why we’re down in this series. And that’s why we lost games 3 and 4 in consecutive asskickings. Right.

    Goal post move. It was a hideously bad decision that probably cost them the first game. Can’t waste possessions in the playoffs. Wasting them on Elfrid Payton was stubborn and inane. Inexplicable, really. And, no, I’m not going to defer to his “authority” and regular season record on the matter. He fucked it up completely.

    And, of course, if they hadn’t lost Game 1, they wouldn’t even be behind in the series.

  172. E, you’ve been the dumbest poster of the year. Everything you said at the beginning of the year and beyond was total bullshit. Now, shockingly, you are not even embarrassed to come back, and instead, you are attempting to save face by shitting on a team that went a billion miles further than you predicted, and is better positioned for next steps than you could have ever imagined. You are such an abject loser that you can’t even take the L in the face of a mountain of evidence against everything you have said all year. Please just go away.

  173. The “coach every game like it’s Game 7” approach runs into some headwind when the opposing coach is also coaching like it’s Game 7.

    that’s a good story, but numbers don’t back it up. Trae Young is averaging 35 mins a game (a shade above his season average). 8 guys are averaging at least 25 mins a game and even their 9th & 10th guys have played a reasonable amount, so they haven’t shortened their rotation. And they’re playing a fairly basic defense that we’ve seen plenty of times in the regular season.

    What have you seen from them that indicates they’ve gone to extreme measures?

  174. E, all merc’d out:
    We know, Z:Thibs can’t fail, he can only be failed.

    No, we all know (those of us with brains and without agendas) that the better team is winning. If you have a problem with personnel, that’s a Leon Rose issue, except for DRose and Taj, arguably our best players in this series.

    If you are arguing that this was the wrong strategy in the first place, that we should have hired a nothing coach and tanked, sure, that has merit. But your assessment of how the chosen strategy had played out is as dumb as anything that has been posted here in the last 15 years. PS when you disappeared out of abject shame for months, no one missed you (except maybe Hubert, good for you.)

  175. E, you fucking disappeared from this place when the team when on a great run in the regular season and Thibs’ excellent coaching performance made you look like a damn fool. Now we’re having a tough playoff series and you’re expecting all of us to act like that never happened. Now all of a sudden Thibs sucks again. You’re the classic “I’d rather be right” kind of KB poster.

    You’re a borderline troll. Either way YDKSAB.

  176. Hubert: that’s a good story, but numbers don’t back it up. Trae Young is averaging 35 mins a game (a shade above his season average). 8 guys are averaging at least 25 mins a game and even their 9th & 10th guys have played a reasonable amount, so they haven’t shortened their rotation. And they’re playing a fairly basic defense that we’ve seen plenty of times in the regular season.

    What have you seen from them that indicates they’ve gone to extreme measures?

    They haven’t. They are just colletively better at basketball. They are peaking at the right time after an injury-riddled season, half of which was coached by a not ready for prime time one-and-done type. Now they have a healthy team of win-now players and a coach who knows what he’s doing. Surprise, surprise, they’re beating us!

  177. They haven’t. They are just colletively better at basketball. They are peaking at the right time after an injury-riddled season, half of which was coached by a not ready for prime time one-and-done type. Now they have a healthy team of win-now players and a coach who knows what he’s doing.

    Correct.

    We had an identical SRS to the Hawks this season, despite the Hawks suffering through 34 games of Lloyd Pierce flailing about giving them David Fizdale-level coaching.

    In reality, they’re prolly just kinda better than us.

  178. JK47: You’re the classic “I’d rather be right” kind of KB poster.

    I’m not the one giving Thibs all the credit for the regular season and then shitting on the players and relieving Thibs of all responsibility for the playoff whiff.

    And I’d much rather be completely wrong and the Knicks sweep than this. I wish Elfrid Payton would have played lights out, as I wrote several times in real time. “You aren’t really a fan” is a cheap line of attack.

  179. I just hope the Knicks win Game 5, would suck for the players and coaching staff to have this unexpectedly fun season end by losing 3 in a row and getting eliminated at home.

  180. And I’d much rather be completely wrong and the Knicks sweep than this. I wish Elfrid Payton would have played lights out, as I wrote several times in real time. “You aren’t really a fan” is a cheap line of attack.

    Well then I guess you just disappeared when the team was playing well because you were embarrassed. Now it’s safe to come back because you’re “right” again.

    We can all see right through it.

  181. The Hawks’ preseason over-under was 36.5 wins, also known as … .500. They aren’t some kind of juggernaut or anything close. We’re bordering on the tautological here.

  182. BigBlueAL:
    I just hope the Knicks win Game 5, would suck for the players and coaching staff to have this unexpectedly fun season end by losing 3 in a row and getting eliminated at home.

    Yep.

  183. E, all merc’d out:
    The Hawks’ preseason over-under was 36.5 wins, also known as … .500.They aren’t some kind of juggernaut or anything close.We’re bordering on the tautological here.

    And what was the Knicks preseason over-under win total? If you as a Knicks fan think the Hawks aren’t very good based on the preseason prediction of them being a .500 team than WTF do you think Hawks fans are thinking about the Knicks? They should be ripping the crap out of the Hawks for not sweeping a team that was supposed to win 22 games.

  184. E, all merc’d out:
    The Hawks’ preseason over-under was 36.5 wins, also known as … .500.They aren’t some kind of juggernaut or anything close.We’re bordering on the tautological here.

    Sure! I totally agree with you! By that argument they should have been 14 games in the standings ahead of us. Hmmm…I wonder why that didn’t happen…

  185. Holy shit you sound like an idiot tearing down the knicks losing to the hawks based on a preseason prediction at the end of the season. Wow. You do realize preseason predictions are fucking predictions, don’t you? What a pathetic attempt to come back to this blog and act like you were right all sling when you didn’t have the courage to show your face when we were winning games. Go to brooklyn and be a fucking nets fan.

  186. E is suspiciously quiet when the Knicks are winning and then when things are going bad, it’s HERE COMES E.

    I won’t say if he’s a real fan or not. I will say that he posts here in bad faith and his relationship with the team is weirdly negative in a way that seems off.

  187. I don’t think there are any adjustments that could’ve salvaged this series for us. Even if we had pulled out game 1, the talent difference reared its head in games 3 and 4 and, well, it isn’t going anywhere. I think Thibs has coached pretty well. The minutes distributions have been sensible and the lineup change has been a net positive.

    Having said that, I do think it’s fair to wonder about a few things while still acknowledging Thibs is a good coach and these things are not the difference in the series:

    1. Randle is taking nothing but difficult shots, which is exactly what he did all season when he hit them at a impressive clip. Obviously, they are not going in now. It doesn’t seem like there’s been much of an effort to try to get him easier looks e.g. using him as either the screener or ball-handler with Rose and Noel respectively.

    2. I’m aware we don’t have the personnel necessary to really hunt Trae on offense (that’s kind of what this all boils down to at the end of the day), but it doesn’t seem like we’ve even tried to get RJ or Randle switched on to him. It’s possible Atlanta would have a defensive response but it’s not like anything else we’re doing on offense is working.

    3. This is nitpicky because Thibs did eventually go to it and it’s far from clear it would even help, but I personally would’ve liked a longer look at the Obi at the 4/Randle at the 5 lineup. Thibs probably felt like he couldn’t turn to it for the first time in the playoffs, which is fair…except for the fact that Thibs is the reason we’re turning to it for the first time.

    Again, I don’t think any of these things would salvage the series, I think Thibs is a good coach, and it’s totally possible this is all too much to try to implement mid-series after a whole season of playing a different way. I guess I just wish we were a little more experimental during the regular season at times so we had a better idea of the options available.

  188. I will say that he posts here in bad faith and his relationship with the team is weirdly negative in a way that seems off.

    i really wish it happened sooner but i’m glad people are coming to this realization now….

  189. He’s playing Bullock too much. Bullock isn’t very good. Shocker: He’s riding the vets and mercs too much. He also played a guy the first two games, one of which was a 2 point loss, that is so bad he had to be removed from the rotation in the middle of a playoff series.

    Utter nonsense. Bullock was as important as any non-Randle player to our success this year. Nailing him to the bench because he’s in a mini-shooting slump is not something any coach would do.

    Who exactly are the “vets and mercs” in this context anyway, Bullock and Burks? So they should both be benched in favor of…Quickley, who hasn’t done anything?

  190. Again, I don’t think any of these things would salvage the series, I think Thibs is a good coach,

    this series hasn’t gone that well…. and it’s mostly on the players… but i don’t particularly think thibs is having a great series either…. if you’re gonna give him credit for this season you should be giving him part of the blame for what’s happening so far in the series…

    that also doesn’t change the fact what he did in the reg season and what he’s accomplished.. but we should be able to talk about his shortcomings also.. just like what people are doing with randle…

  191. djphan: this series hasn’t gone that well…. and it’s mostly on the players… but i don’t particularly think thibs is having a great series either…. if you’re gonna give him credit for this season you should be giving him part of the blame for what’s happening so far in the series…

    that also doesn’t change the fact what he did in the reg season and what he’s accomplished.. but we should be able to talk about his shortcomings also.. just like what people are doing with randle…

    Exactly this.

    I’m surprised at all the vitriol on this thread. Our team had an incredible season, and Thibs coached the shit out of a squad of clear underdogs. We can’t shoot ~60% ALL THE TIME, so we’re struggling now, and it’s fine to ask both questions 1) Why is the shooting slumping at this inopportune time? 2) Is there anything Thibs should try to help get his guys better shots? To ask these questions is neither shitting on the players nor shitting on Thibs. It should be fun.

    Our Knicks gave us more joy this year than we had any right to expect. I hope they win at home Wednesday, but even if they lose by 30, I’m still grateful for this season, and I have more hope for next year than I’ve had in over a decade. That’s saying something.

  192. I’ll tell you guys what: if we play a good game wednesday to stay alive, I’ll let Z-Man crash into me at halftime of game 6.

  193. What is Atlanta doing differently on defense to stop Randle?

    1. The soft double has taken away his ability to pick up assists by moving the ball against the hard double. Because Noel/Gibson are not threats, Capela can leave them but be in place to recover without putting the whole defense in rotation.
    2. Atlanta has forced Randle to use his right hand more than just about any team this season. Randle’s right hand handle is loose and has led to a bunch of turnovers.
    3. When Randle attacks the rim, they are challenging without fouling.

    Randle’s offense looks even worse because Bullock, Burks & RJ have not hit many of the open corner 3s that Randle has generated.

    I still believe that 3 All-NBA level performances from Randle could carry the Knicks through to the next round.

  194. 2. Atlanta has forced Randle to use his right hand more than just about any team this season. Randle’s right hand handle is loose and has led to a bunch of turnovers.

    to my eye .. they haven’t really forced him any particular direction… they are very happy with randle going left and even forcing him there as long as there’s help stepping up to that side…. it’s not even really that complicated it’s just randle was reacting very badly to it…

    thibs is absolutely right when he says that randle needs to make quicker decisions… but the bad part is that the other 4 guys are standing around also so it’s not like there’s much help in making those decisions easier… the good part is that randle was hitting taj and others more often… we should be challenging capela more and he’s having way more an impact when he just stares at people and they go the other way….

    i don’t even think that randle needs to play out of his mind… he just needs to play a normally good game… hit some tough shots and get to the line and hit the open guy… usually if we get 3 good performances from someone our defense is enough to win.. but it’s just we usually only get 1 or 2 this series….

    it’s def not too late… but it obv needs to start happening now…

  195. I’ve been very encouraged by Obi. At times he looked like our best player out there. IQ has looked very nervous. That’s quite a turnaround from what we saw in the regular season, isn’t it?

  196. The soft double has taken away his ability to pick up assists by moving the ball against the hard double. Because Noel/Gibson are not threats, Capela can leave them but be in place to recover without putting the whole defense in rotation.

    You’re right, of course. But another problem is our three point shooters. Capela ignores Taj, but the Hawks don’t. This creates space for our shooters, but unfortunately they get run off the line way too easily. This whole strategy could collapse if any of them were making them pay.

    I know he’s shooting poorly but I would like to see Quickley get more time with Randle, and at Bullock’s expense. Unlike Bullock, who is missing wide open shots, Quickley has mostly been missing hard shots. He can make defenses pay for closing out too hard. If Barrett is rejuvenated, having the two of them on the perimeter with Rose could help Randle immensely.

    That’s one answer I’d have for the “what is Thibs supposed to do” question. I think he stays with struggling players way too long. The Payton thing was a farce, and now it’s playing out with Bullock. What did that guy do to deserve 35 mins today? He was all zeros.

    I’m willing to admit the Hawks are better but I’m not willing to accept this series was/is unwinnable. We need to do whatever it takes to get Randle going. Because if we have regular season Randle, the Hawks ain’t gonna seem so bad anymore.

  197. DudesTown:
    I’ve been very encouraged by Obi. At times he looked like our best player out there. IQ has looked very nervous. That’s quite a turnaround from what we saw in the regular season, isn’t it?

    Agree with both those things. Obi wants that ball while the others are running away from it. He has been the only fun thing to watch, in a way. Maybe also Burks when he went off. We need more of that swagger.

    During the season, IQ seemed to do best when he went right for his shot with the second unit. He’s not getting the same reps now, to get in rhythm, and he’s definitely deferring to DRose and the older guys.

    My biggest worry longterm is whether IQ’s shot is just not there when defenders are up on him — like playoff D. The Hawks seem to be playing IQ very close and it’s working. On the plus side, I feel like IQ defends Trae pretty well and should get more chances to do so (but I could be tripping about that).

  198. Hubert: I would like to see Quickley get more time with Randle, and at Bullock’s expense. Unlike Bullock, who is missing wide open shots, Quickley has mostly been missing hard shots. He can make defenses pay for closing out too hard. If Barrett is rejuvenated, having the two of them on the perimeter with Rose could help Randle immensely.

    +1

  199. To clarify… when Capela doubles Randle, he is actually not concerned with recovering to cover Taj at all. Usually Bogdanovic or someone else plays off a shooter to cover the center. We’re not making them pay for this.

  200. Hubert:
    To clarify… when Capela doubles Randle, he is actually not concerned with recovering to cover Taj at all. Usually Bogdanovic or someone else plays off a shooter to cover the center. We’re not making them pay for this.

    Agree. And, per your above about Quickley — Is Bullock that much better on D against Trae? That’s gotta be why Thibs is sticking with him. To my eye, Trae is just going around anyone, so what’s the point?

  201. I think he’s sticking with him bc he’s been good all year. I get that. I’m not “killing Thibs”’ for sticking with him.

    (I’m also setting him up to hit 8 3’s on Wednesday so I can eat crow.)

  202. I might have to listen to bill simmons tomorrow to hear him cry about Kyrie stepping on the man painted onto the floor

  203. KP slander always makes me feel better after a Knicks loss, so KP getting benched for Boban and Willie Cauley-Stein tonight is like a soothing balm to my soul.

  204. Reading thru Twitter and someone suggested the Knicks would look alot better in next year’s playoffs with a backcourt of Lonzo Ball and Norman Powell. Sounds like a nice idea but probably a bit too pricey.

  205. BigBlueAL:
    Reading thru Twitter and someone suggested the Knicks would look alot better in next year’s playoffs with a backcourt of Lonzo Ball and Norman Powell.Sounds like a nice idea but probably a bit too pricey.

    I don’t know about that, they’re both good players that would make the Knicks better, but do they address the weaknesses that the Hawks have exposed this series? I don’t think they’re top-tier shooters or playmakers.

  206. KP slander always makes me feel better after a Knicks loss,

    KP: 23 min 4 reb
    Boban: 7 min 4 reb

  207. Not sure how anyone can really be mad at this series even if the Knicks aren’t playing at a high level.

    We’re in the playoffs. We won a playoff game. Players are developing. It’s been a fun watchable season that’s built team cohesion and chemistry.

    Losing fucking sucks… especially when everyone is playing like dog shit except for drose. However — I’ve gotten more out of this season than I could have ever possibly imagined….

    Expectations lead to disappointment.

    I actually don’t even think the Knicks are out this series. We’re just two Randall good games away from a monstrous game 7.

    Watching the Knicks lose this series is like buying Bitcoin in 2011 and being mad that it’s dipped from 62k.

  208. Also, we’re at the beginning of something, not the end.

    Randle 26
    Barrett 20
    Robinson 22
    Quickley 21
    Toppin 22

    Yeah, we caught some lightning in a bottle with Old Man Derrick Rose and the reanimated corpse of Taj Gibson but we have a lot of cats who should continue to either be good, or improve over the next few years. We’re a normal NBA team for once and not a laughingstock so I’m chill.

    This is all I ever really wanted– a decent young core to build on, some extra 1RPs coming down the pike, no terrible contracts on the books, a coach who seems to know what he’s doing, James Dolan staying out of the way and focusing on fucking up the Rangers… I have relatively few complaints.

  209. “JK47
    May 31, 2021 at 12:11 am

    … I have relatively few complaints.”

    *

    “Relatively few complaints” is such a massive departure from the status quo of the past 20 years that complaining about Tom Thibodeau’s offense not having a playoff-gear to kick into just seems so… petty. #neverforgetthebargnaniyears

  210. Not sure how anyone can really be mad at this series even if the Knicks aren’t playing at a high level.

    you must not actually be from new york KBPR…shoot, new yorkers – we don’t really need a reason to be mad :)

    i like that house money analogy a bunch, puts things a bit better in perspective…whatever happens wednesday, happens…wouldn’t mind though to see at least one more postseason win this year…

  211. Leap year exists because New Yorkers couldn’t get all their anger out in only 365 days

  212. Why are you guys doubting if E is a real fan? Wasn’t he going to the game 1 meetup? Hubert, TNFH, did he show up? And even if he didn’t, then he said he was going to game 2 with his son (unless i’m mistaking him for another poster). To troll on the internet you don’t have to make up a fake family and life, right? This isn’t the 80s and he’s not a KGB agent, right?
    (and now E is calling Mother Russia asking for an extraction because his cover has been blown, as E in reality stands for Evgeny Kalashnikov)

  213. After that beyond awful game, i thought it’d be better to start the day in a funny way! ;)

  214. this obi/randle pairing could have potential next season… it’s going to require a lot of defensive improvement from both randle and obi but it could work against certain lineups.. chief among them is when they pull what atlanta is doing and play a 5 out lineup… or if the other team plays a too big and slow lineup…

    both obi and randle are both great in the pnr yet we’ve ran it so little this year because they’re next to two paintbound centers…. we do need a guard capable of running it effectively and hopefully RJ can be that guy that steps up and turns this into a death lineup for us…. or we can draft and acquire a guard that can…. either way it opens up a lot of possibilities….

    and i’m also glad about obi’s success.. he’s very easy to root for and he’s finally in a position to show his talents… in transition and when someone gets him in good position to score because he’s very talented when he’s around the basket and he’s against a rotating defense…

  215. i also find it hard to be too be frustrated with losses amid unfortunate shooting against a better team, even though i agree with some of the criticism of our offensive game plan. but i remember being pretty shocked when i saw the series poll post at like 80% nyk. i just missed the obvious point that fan polls are not bets and actually people thought we’d probably lose?

  216. I’m trying to be positive, but this situation is looking bleak. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe we have the better team and coach- although McMillan is outclassing Thibs right now. But the fact that the ‘1st time playoff yips’ seem to still be affecting most of the rotation, gives me serious pause about being confident we can beat Atlanta 3 straight. Our top 3 weapons all had good games, but the rest of the team fell apart. I still don’t think Taj needs to start. Is Noel on the 2nd unit because of injury? That move really confuses me. We have no paint presence on defense with Taj starting. No one fears Taj when driving the lane because he’s not your classic paint defender. I dunno yal..we’ll win game 5 for sure- but it’s extremely uphill- and I mean damn near vertical for us from here.

    Should Atlanta take this series, it does nothing to dissuade me from feeling excited and proud of our Knicks. We’ve been playing with house money all season. But I’d still love to see us advance. It’s just that we blew it by losing the series tone setter at home in game 1. That’s a hard fight to overcome

  217. It’s good to go into the offseason with no illusions regarding where the team actually is. Clearly, like it or not, Thibs isn’t going anywhere for the next 2-3 years, so the FO is probably going to consider that when drafting/trading/signing player personnel. But there definitely should be a realization of how important it is to have a more diversified offensive game plan run by more capable players. Running the offense through Randle is fool’s gold, it will not work at the highest levels unless you have the right kind team around him. Even Giannis and AD need great supporting casts or teams will figure out how to gum up the works.

    I still think that Thibs is mostly above criticism for the regular season and the playoffs. But every year is a new slate. Nick Nurse went from being coach of the year to being on the hot seat. If Thibs doesn’t conduct a proper post-mortem and fix some things assuming that Leon gives him better tools to work with, then he should be on the hot seat and rightfully so.

    But no matter what, thanks to the entire Knicks organization from top to bottom for giving us this season. It’s great to be arguing over playoff losses again, especially with a team that is closer to being a starting point than a finished product.

  218. I wouldn’t put game 5 in the bag for us so soon, Totes. Just being home isn’t going to do it.

    Vorkunov added to the Bullock chorus this morning:

    Bullock went scoreless, and his opportunities have dried up as Randle has been diminished as a passer. His presence has also had a multiplying effect. While the Hawks have taken the time to attack Randle on defense, the Knicks have not been able to punish Atlanta for hiding Young. He has been given Bullock as a defensive assignment and mostly been able to skate on that end. It has highlighted another danger to the Knicks’ lineup construction, which has put too many dependent players on the court. It is not enough to just have shooters at every position but center now (and maybe there, too); they must also be able to dribble and create problems themselves. Bullock does neither, and Young has been unaffected.

    The trickle-down effect has been deadly. One of the league’s best 3-point shooting teams this season, the Knicks are hitting just 32.8 percent against Atlanta. Clint Capela has taken over the paint and made it his own. As the Knicks’ spacing has been taken away from them, there has been little improvisation to compensate.

    By all means, start Reggie in game 5 again. But I think you’ve got to have a quick hook with him and move to IQ or Burks if, after 6 minutes, Reggie isn’t making the Hawks pay.

    That and the Obi/Randle lineup when Capela sits are the two adjustments I can see helping Julius the most.

  219. scanning the unrestricted FA list…two guys that might upgrade the bench offense would be Forbes from MIL and Holmes from SACto..in place of bullock and noel…might be a downgrade on D…but Forbes seems to be a little more diversified in his game then reggie and holmes is light years ahead of noel on offense…not sure about his D though…this assumes bringing Burks back and putting him in the starting role…

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