From Greg Joyce:
From the minute the Knicks hired Tom Thibodeau as their new head coach in July, their defense figured to be in for an upgrade.
But there was no guarantee a tangible change — and the wins that followed — would come this quickly.
The Knicks left New York on Dec. 27 fresh off their first win of the season, a surprising defeat of the Bucks. They returned on Tuesday as winners of four of their last five entering Wednesday night’s showdown against the Jazz at the Garden, with plenty of strong efforts fueling their surge but the defense chief among them.
“I think the togetherness is a big part of it. I think the willingness to share the ball, to play hard for each other,” Thibodeau said after Monday’s 113-108 win over the Hawks. “[But] it starts with our defense and the rebounding. We still have to get our turnovers down but I think just the overall way they’re playing for each other. I think that’s a big part of winning. They come in and they work every day.”
Last year, under David Fizdale and then interim coach Mike Miller, the Knicks had the NBA’s 23rd-ranked defensive rating (112.4). Through seven games this season under Thibodeau, they had the NBA’s ninth-best defensive rating (106.1).
I just wanted a new thread before tomorrow night’s game thread.