2021-22 Game Thread: Knicks vs. Cavaliers

The Knicks host the surprisingly decent Cleveland Cavaliers, who are being led by the impressive defense of their star rookie, Evan Mobley.

However, due to injuries and a short roster in general, the Cavs are highly dependent on their starters, so hopefully the Knicks second unit will exploit them.

The Knicks second unit has a new look tonight as Kemba Walker is getting a game off to rest, so Derrick Rose will start and Thibs is deciding between Grimes and Deuce for who makes it into the rotation.

Should be a fun game.

IS 56 WINS STILL IN PLAY? I am still quite confident!

As part of our all-poll content…

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Let’s go, Knicks!

KnickerBlogger NBA Power Ratings 2021-11-05 + Poll

I just wanted to update the KnickerBlogger NBA Power Ratings after the New York Knicks 15-point win against the defending champions Bucks in Milwaukee:

1. New York Knicks
2. Everyone else

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

2021-22 Game Thread: Knicks @ Milwaukee Bucks

The Knicks head to Milwaukee to take on the defending World Champion Milwaukee Bucks. The defending champs have been dealing with some notable injuries and also lost a good deal of their depth from last season. It really is just the Giannis and Friend show right now in Milwaukee, although Jrue Holliday is tentatively set to return to action tonight after missing five games with an ankle injury.

Still, the Knicks should hopefully be able to take advantage of the Bucks’ lack of depth tonight with the Knicks’ second unit.

IS 56 WINS STILL IN PLAY? The two-game losing streak has made 56 wins look less likely, but a win tonight would put it right back into play!

The Bucks have a bunch of guys who have brothers in the NBA who are not as good as them, leading to our poll for the today (as part of our all-poll content)…

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Let’s go, Knicks!

2021-22 Game Thread: New York Knicks @ Indiana Pacers

The Knicks head to Indiana to take on the reeling Pacers.

This is a great matchup for the Knicks, as the Pacers are a mess right now.

ARE THE KNICKS STILL ON PACE FOR 56 WINS? Yes, my prediction is looking fine, so fine. It’s gotta be mine.

Here’s our all-poll content…

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Let’s go Knicks!

Is Anyone Else Worried About the Knicks Defense?

The New York Knicks have had an excellent start to the 2021-2022 season. At 5-2, they are tied for third in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. Although no one expected them to be a top 3 EC team, especially ahead of the Nets and Bucks, it’s not completely unexpected for a team like the Knicks to take a step forward. Two years ago the Knicks were in disarray, losing more than twice as many games as they won (21-45). Last year, the team changed front offices, coaches, and voodoo dolls, and subsequently made a complete 180 finishing 10 games above .500 (41-31). Building upon that success seems normal, however there’s a nagging suspicion that this team is over-performing, and may be ignoring a crucial element of their success.

Perhaps at the steering wheel of the Knicks’ u-turn is coach Tom Thibodeau. New York’s head coach is known for his defense-first mindset, supplemented by his omni-present yelling and tough practices. Last year’s Knicks finished third in defensive rating (points allowed per possession), which fueled their success. This year beat reporters have noted that, much to Allen Iverson’s approval, Thibs’ practices have not been as taxing. Looking at the stat sheet, the Knicks are ranked a sub-par 20th in defensive rating. To compensate, their offense has picked up the slack and is 4th in the NBA.

The eye confirms this data. The Knicks have had multiple games in which they’ve had a commanding lead, only to let the opposing team crawl back & “make it a go.” New York had a 4 point lead against the Celtics on opening night going into the final quarter, and needed double overtime to settle things. Recall that Knicks were on fire in the first OT offensively, but couldn’t stop the Celtics from evening the score. In their third game, the Knicks were up 6 to end the third quarter, and lost to a Magic team they blew out previously. They had a 13 point lead with under 3 minutes against the Bulls, and barely escaped with a 1 point victory. The hapless Pelicans closed the gap to 2 points with 1:28 left in the game, before the Knicks sealed the victory.

Perhaps you could look at any 7 game span of most teams and find similar ebbs & flows. But these are all late-game breakdowns that wouldn’t exist if the Knicks could clamp down on their opponents once they get a sizeable lead. Which begs the question: has the team identity changed? Are they an offensive first team that plays marginal defense? And if yes, how good is that offense — are the Knicks really a top 5 offensive team? Is this all because center Noel has been hurt and coach has turned to offensive players to pick up the slack?

Or will coach Thibs get the team back to his roots and have them playing formidable defense? Should New York find their defensive groove again, the Knicks will likely maintain the huge upswing they’re experiencing this early in the season. Even if their offense drops down to 10th, returning to a top 5 defense would make the Knicks a dangerous team.

2021-22 Game Thread: New York Knicks vs. Toronto Raptors

The Knicks host the somewhat surprising Toronto Raptors tonight at the Garden.

Luckily for the Knicks, one of the main reasons that the Raptors have looked pretty good so far this season despite missing Pascal Siakam all season has been the strong play of rookie Scottie Barnes…who won’t play tonight.

So that’s good news!

Nerlens Noel likely remains out with his sore knee. That’s a shame. But he has a chance to suit up tonight, let’s hope it happens!

This should be a fun one to watch. The Raptors give it their all out there, but sans Barnes, this should be a very winnable game for the Knicks.

ARE THE KNICKS STILL ON PACE FOR 56 WINS? Yes, my prediction is looking, as Billy Crystal would say, mah-valous right now.

As part of our all-poll content (which we all know is the reason for the Knicks’ turnaround since 2020), I’ll ask about the exciting Raptors rookie…

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Let’s go, Knicks!

KnickerBlogger Ticket Giveaway 2022 #1

OK folks, a kind person has decided to buy three pairs of my tickets to donate to our KnickerBlogger community. So the first giveaway will be a pair of tickets to the Knicks-Pacers game at the Garden on Wednesday 11/15.

The contest will be this: you have to guess Randle’s combined PTS + REB + AST in tonight’s game (vs. the Raptors). Person with the closest combined score will win. Tie breakers will be the closest to PTS, then the closest to REB, then the closest to AST, and finally a random “drawing” among those tied for first if there isn’t a decisive winner. In the event that Randle plays zero minutes, RJ Barrett’s line will be used instead! If the winner doesn’t reply in a timely manner, a runner up will be given the opportunity, and so on. All decisions will be made by yours truly, and my decisions are final.

POST A COMMENT IN THIS THREAD TO YOUR GUESS. IT MUST BE IN BEFORE 7:30pm ET. I’ll reach out to the winner via email & will announce it the after. For KBers that don’t live in town and have no one in your personal life to give the tickets to, you are free to enter, and if you win you may give/donate the tickets to another KB commenter of your choice. (I’ll just send them to the person of your choice.) The tickets are digital & you’ll need the msg ticket app on your phone to enter the stadium. You (and your guest) will have to be vaccinated to attend, and the Garden staff will check vaccination status before you can enter the building.


(This way I can easily enter them into a spreadsheet!)

To clarify the rules, imagine two people guess the following:

If Randle’s line is 20-10-8, the first person (A) wins, because the total score is 38, which is exactly what they guessed.
If Randle’s line is 20-10-9, the second person (B) wins, because each person is one point away from total score of 39, but the first tiebreaker is PTS, which B is closer.

Good luck & as always – Let’s Go Knicks!