2020-21 Game Thread: Non-Losing Record Knicks vs. Pistons

The Knicks have an amazing opportunity tonight to actually have a winning record, which would put them at their best record through 35 games since the 2012-13 season (the 2015-16 Knicks actually got to 22-22 after 44 games, which is the last time the Knicks were .500 that late in a season, but that team never got over the .500 hump after being 8-7, and they were under .500 through 35 games).

And really, there’s no reason they shouldn’t get there, as they are playing the worst team in the NBA now that Towns is healthy again for Minnesota.

Hopefully Dennis Smith Jr. has a terrible game!

Let’s go get a winning record, Knicks!

NY Post: Knicks nip Pacers to reach .500, pull into fourth place in Eastern Conference

From Peter Botte:

Twice in the previous 10 days, the Knicks had wasted opportunities to push their record to the .500 mark in unsightly losses to the Magic and the Warriors.

They appeared headed for another blown chance to even their record and move up in the murky Eastern Conference on Saturday night. Coach Tom Thibodeau’s surging squad stormed back from a 16-point deficit in the first half, however, and moved into a tie for fourth place in the playoff standings with a gritty 110-107 win over the Pacers at the Garden.

The Knicks improved to 17-17 and are deadlocked with the Raptors entering Sunday’s visit to conference-worst Detroit (9-24).

Imagine if the Knicks had an actual winning record after 35 games!

Very nice win, with RJ playing some phenomenal basketball during a stretch where he brought the Knicks back into the lead. Yes, he bricked two free throws that could have been brutal, but, whatever, the other stuff was more important than two missed free throws.

The Eastern Conference, man, it is high-larious that the Knicks would technically have home court in the first round at this point, with a .500 record! This Conference is such a mess. However, it is a mess that everyone else is involved with, as well, so it is not like the Knicks aren’t playing the same teams as everyone else. Best of a mess is still something to be proud of for this franchise.

Having a winning record after 35 games would be even sweeter!

2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Pacers

The Knicks host the Pacers tonight with a real chance to get to .500 on the season, which would be the latest the Knicks have been at .500 in a season since the 2016-17 season, so that would be cool!

Not only that, but it would put the Knicks up on the Pacers in the season series and since every team from 4-10 is separated by, like, a half game, being up 2-1 on the Pacers would be huge.

The Pacers played last night and lost to the Celtics, which is helpful, as is the fact that the Pacers’ star guard, Malcolm Brogdon, might not be able to play tonight after injuring his knee last night.

Time to get even, Knicks! Literally!

Let’s go be at .500, Knicks!

NY Post: Immanuel Quickley puts on show for Knicks fans in win

From Marc Berman:

The “We Want Quickley’’ chant began late in the first quarter when Sacramento was putting together a rare run.

With 2:44 left in the quarter, Immanuel Quickley was inserted into the game and he didn’t disappoint the second giddy Garden gathering of the season.

In sparking the Knicks with 18 first-half points, Quickley led the offensive explosion in a 140-121 triumph over sagging Sacramento as the popular rookie point guard emerged from his recent slump.

Quickley finished with 25 points, hitting all 12 of his free throws.

Along with Julius Randle, Quickley even heard “M-V-P’’ chants on another joyous evening before 2,000 fans who seemed to be chanting “De-fense” or something else all evening.

The Knicks’ 140 points were a season high and only the second time they have mustered that number in a non-overtime game since 1988. Though it came against the NBA’s worst defensive team, it was a big boon for a club that has been the NBA’s least productive team offensively.

Boy, that was a whole lot of fun!

I loved seeing Frank play good minutes in Payton’s absence.

Burks really had a heck of a game!

Now the Knicks have a chance to beat the Pacers on Saturday and get to .500! They were also 17-17 during the Porzingis All Star season. The weird ass Aaron Afflalo Knicks were also 22-22 after 44 games, so that’s the mark the Knicks need to beat to have their best season since their last actual, you know, good season (the one where they actually won a playoff series!!!).

2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks and Their Starting Point Guard, Derrick Rose vs. Kings

If only Nerlens Noel could also miss this game and then Thibs could start Taj Gibson, as well.

I’m kidding, really, as obviously with Payton out, Rose was clearly going to be the starter and honestly, if it’s just a temporary situation, you probably don’t even want Quickley moving to the starting lineup for just a game.

Is it a big frustrating that Rose is ahead of Quickley on the depth chart? Sure, but whatever, I get it. Rose is definitely more of a real point guard than Quickley.

This game, of course, will be all about seeing Hali in person and hoping that he has a bad game and that Obi has a good one.

The Kings are sort of a testament to the strength of the Western Conference, as they are 12-19 and I find it hard to believe they wouldn’t be more like 14-17 (or better) if they were in the Eastern Conference. They’re far from a good team, just better than 12-19 if they were in the East, where literally THREE teams are over .500 and only one more is even at .500. This is a strange, strange season.

The Knicks are currently in a three-way tie for the #8 seed, but they’re just a half game back of a three-way tie for the fifth seed, so a win tonight would move the Knicks into that tie for fifth (since none of the other teams in the #5-10 spot are playing tonight).

So, well, let’s plead the fifth tonight!

Let’s go get back within a game of .500, Knicks!

NY Post: Knicks clipped by Warriors in first game with fans back at MSG

From Marc Berman:

It was as if 11 months of enthusiastic fervor had been unleashed in one night at the Garden.

A lively, loud crowd of 2,000 cheered the Knicks, heckled the Warriors and booed the referees Tuesday night. But in the end, the season’s first Garden crowd — which a team spokesman called a sellout — only could do so much and the Warriors’ talent won out.

Golden State pounded the Knicks in the second half to post a 114-106 victory. Stephen Curry rained in 37 points and Draymond Green was all over the court in a defensive gem.

Green made newly minted All-Star Julius Randle struggle from the field while piling up 11 assists, two steals and one block. Randle finished with 25 points on 8 of 21 shooting and got ejected with 17.5 seconds remaining after picking up his second technical.

Indeed, the Knicks were frustrated afterward, with coach Tom Thibodeau and Derrick Rose each taking issue with the lack of calls going the Knicks’ way — perhaps causing them to shoot just 39 percent.

“Sometimes you get calls, sometimes you don’t,’’ Thibodeau said. “It just seemed like there was a lot of contact on our drives and we didn’t get the calls. We have to deal with that, yeah.’’

Look at Berman throwing the Knicks a bone! “Maybe the officiating led to them shooting poorly.” You go, Berman! Secure that access!

Anyhow, shitty loss against a pretty good Warriors team. Still, Julius Randle made the All-Star team, so that’s cool, at least!

2020-21 Game Thread: All-Star Julius Randle and the Knicks vs. Warriors

Congrats to Julius Randle, for making the All-Star team (he made it over Damontas Sabonis, even, who was snubbed in favor of Nikola Vucevic).

The Knicks host the Golden State Warriors with a chance to get to .500!

Let’s see if the Knicks can celebrate Randle’s honor by getting the team to .500 at the same time!

NBA Eastern Conference All-Star Reserves Predictions

We’re only a couple of hours away from learning whether Randle makes the All-Star Team. I think his chances are good, but let’s do some predictions for the rather difficult Eastern reserves (lots of good options out there).

And, of course, it is all polls!

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

NY Post: Knicks take down Timberwolves, get Ryan Saunders fired

From Peter Botte:

Fans finally will return to the Garden in limited numbers beginning Tuesday, two nights after the Knicks barely avoided a catastrophic loss against the league’s worst team in their final game in front of an empty arena.

The Knicks flushed a 21-point second-half lead, but they ultimately gave Tom Thibodeau the gift of a victory in his first game against the Timberwolves since he was fired by Minnesota in 2019, eking out a 103-99 win Sunday to open a four-game homestand.

“We’re striving to become a 48-minute team. We’ve got a long way to go, and hopefully we learn from this,” Thibodeau said. “They made up ground quickly on us, but I do like the fact that we kept fighting and we found a way to win the game.

“Ultimately, that’s what’s important is to find a way to win. Whatever we have to do down the stretch to win the game, that’s what we want to focus in on.”

A win is a win is a win is a win, but boy, that was an embarrassing win. The worst team in the NBA (who fired their coach after the game, although it sounds like that was going to happen no matter what. They’ve unusually decided to get a jump on the other teams by hiring one of the hottest coaching prospects, Chris Quinn of the Raptors, midseason and give him a multi-year deal. It’s a clever idea, really) and they blew a 20-point lead on them.

But what was more disconcerting is how Thibs also tightened up the rotation to an absurd degree for the Knicks to eke out a win over a terrible team. I mean, think about it, what is even the point of that? If you need to lean heavily on your starters to eke out a win over a bad team, then you clearly aren’t that great of a team yourself, right? So what is the point of getting that win? It’s the whole “Every game is Game 7 of the NBA Finals” deal we talk about with Thibs all of the time. By playing your starters big minutes, you can win the close games over bad teams, but once you hit the playoffs and all of the teams that don’t do that actually start doing the same thing, you’re stuck at the 10 on the dial. You can’t push it up to 11.

Quickley and Rose had terrible games once again, but Rose played 19 minutes while Quickley didn’t even crack double digits! Obi Toppin, as well, did not crack double digits either, even with Nerlens Noel fouling out. Thibs has his guys and he is going to ride them, even as they blow a 10 point lead in the fourth quarter.

On the good side of things, Randle and Barrett both made some big fourth quarter shots and, fair is fair, Taj Gibson made a big defensive play on Towns late in the fourth. It’s not even that I dislike Taj Gibson. I’ve liked the guy for years. But come on, what does it say about the future of this team that you need 19 minutes of Taj Gibson to avoid losing to a terrible team? That you need all five of your starters to play over minutes (well, Noel would have had he not fouled out)? That you need to play Randle almost 40 minutes?

How is this sustainable? And how it good for the team in the long run? There is so much to be happy about this Knick team for the future. Barrett’s playing pretty well (which is big for a second year player). Quickley has shown a lot of talent. Randle has played like an All-Star. There are a bunch of draft picks coming. The cap is pretty clean. The last thing you need to worry about is whether you can eke out a win over a terrible team at the end of February, and yet…here we are.

2020-21 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Timberwolves

After a cancelation yesterday, the Knicks are back in action, hosting the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Garden tonight. The two worst teams of 2021 had been the Wolves and the Magic and the Knicks just lost to the Magic, so you obviously can’t totally look past the Wolves and just as obviously, the Wolves have been a lot better now that they have Karl-Anthony Towns back (he’s basically the straw that stirs the drink for the Wolves), but they’re still pretty damn bad. Number one pick, Anthony Edwards, had one of the nicest dunks you’ll ever see in a big moment in a game the other day, but he also missed all seven three pointers he took. He is r-a-w raw. The team is basically a two-man team of Towns (legit superstar) and Malik Beasley (dirtbag who is kind of good) and that’s a really sad statement about how bad the Wolves are right now.

The Knicks, meanwhile, have had three straight days of practice to better integrate Derrick Rose into the offense and come up with ways to do things differently than simply have Taj Gibson step into Nerlens Noel as the backup center, so we might actually get to see some Julius Randle at center and either Obi Toppin at the 4 or even Kevin Knox play a little 4. If there is ever a team that you can experiment against, it is the Minnesota Timberewolves.

Also, of course, the Wolves fired Thibs and then promptly made a point of reversing every move he made as Team President, so you know this game means a lot to Thibs and when something means a lot to Thibs, he will often go the extra mile.

So…yeah, no game is ever a sure thing, but man, this is pretty dang close to it.

Let’s go get back within a game of .500, Knicks!