NY Post: Derrick Rose carries Knicks to sensational win over Clippers with playoffs in sight

From Marc Berman:

The Knicks usually struggle when Julius Randle struggles. But not when Derrick Rose plays like an MVP — and not when they get 3-point marksmanship from Reggie Bullock.

In the final regular-season home game for the Clippers, the Knicks spoiled the Sunday-matinee party with a resounding and sensational 106-100 victory before 2,578 relatively passive fans at Staples Center.

The victory means the magic number to solidify a Top 6 finish and clinch their first playoff berth since 2013 is two. With four games to play, the Knicks (38-30) moved three games ahead of seventh-place Boston.

With the Celtics playing before them Tuesday night, the Knicks could take the court against the Lakers knowing a win would end the seven-year playoff drought and end any notion of being in the play-in event.

Coming off the bench for a struggling Elfrid Payton, Rose carried the Knicks (38-30) on his shoulders with a spectacular first half. Rose finished with 25 points and eight assists in 31 minutes.

I’m sorry for missing the game, folks. Mother’s Day stuff. Thank you to Owen for putting up the game thread! Looks like I missed an amazing game. The magic number of clinching at least a #6 seed is just two, but why accept the #6 seed when they can easily get the #4 seed? Just beat the fucking Lakers on Tuesday!

NY Post: Knicks ripped by Suns in front of boisterous Phoenix crowd

From Marc Berman:

This was the first time all pandemic season the Knicks played in front of a real, live, half-packed, hostile crowd.

They didn’t handle it well. They blew a seven-point lead late in the third quarter. Taj Gibson and Julius Randle later lost their composure. And the powerhouse Suns routed the Knicks, 128-105, before a boisterous crowd of 8,063 — the NBA season’s largest — at Talking Stick Arena on Friday night.

Despite the loss, the Knicks (37-30) are still half-game ahead of the Hawks in the battle for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.

All the frustration of the Knicks’ collapse boiled over midway through the fourth quarter when Gibson went after Chris Paul while the Suns guard was bringing the ball up-court. Gibson body-checked Paul to the floor like it was hockey, with seven minutes left.

Gibson was called for a flagrant foul, and Paul jawed with Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau over the infraction.

“It was a physical play,’’ Gibson said. “I talked to Chris. When you’ve played so many years, you know everybody on the job by first name. It was nothing personal it’s completion. It was a stupid foul on my end. I got to be better.’’

The more important thing is that the Celtics lost to the Bulls (can you imagine how frustrating it must be to trade for a star player to pair with your own star player and then see your star player go on the COVID list for 11 games? The Bulls are like night and day now that LaVine is back), so the Knicks’ chances of avoiding the play-in game went up despite this loss. This lowers their chances at maintaining the #4 seed, but A. Who the heck knows, right? The Hawks still have to win their games and as we’ve seen, the Knick opponents seem to lose games to some weird ass opponents while the Knicks tend to only lose to legitimately superior teams to them and B. The Knicks might still win the next two games, in which case, they’ll be in great shape.

But yeah, tough loss, no doubt about it. Hopefully they rebound on Sunday.

NY Post: Knicks no match for Nikola Jokic, Nuggets

From Marc Berman:

With all due respect, the Knicks saw what a true-blue MVP candidate looked like.

The Knicks didn’t do much in Denver on Wednesday other than to put the unofficial crown on Nuggets’ center Nikola Jokic as the NBA’s next MVP in getting routed 113-97 at Ball Arena.

The Knicks (37-29) haven’t won in the Mile High City since 2006, and they always deny altitude is the issue. But something’s in the air.

In the first quarter alone, Jokic crushed the Knicks inside, outscoring them 24-12 on the way to 32 points in 29 minutes.

It was embarrassing performance, but maybe the Knicks were due for a lethargic stinker after coming in on a 12-1 spree.

As great as Jokic has been the last three seasons, he had never previously scored 24 in the opening frame, and the Knicks trailed 34-12. It was their lowest-scoring first quarter of the season.

Not that the Knicks losing out is going to happen, but their final six games are beyond rough — with the Suns, Clippers and Lakers on the road before closing out at home against the Spurs, Hornets and Celtics.

Adding insult to injury, Austin Rivers, in the Nuggets rotation after his falling out with Tom Thibodeau and messy exit, exacted revenge as he drilled six 3-pointers on nine attempts. He finished with a season-high 25 points in 28 minutes. Rivers also had words with Randle late in the game.

Okay, I guess I shouldn’t have been so confident, but damn, man, they had just smoked the Grizzlies! I was not expecting them to just get embarrassed like this. However, you know the Knicks are playing well when even Marc freakin’ Berman is basically giving them a mea culpa, but I think it’s deserved. If you win 12 out of 13, you are allowed to have one fall on your face game.

Rivers getting his “revenge” against the Knicks is so stupid. They could have kept him parked on the bench if they felt like it. They let him go out and sign with a good team. So what the heck is he mad at them about? And why would he be mad at Randle? So weird.

Anyhow, that sucked, but they’ve been playing so well that I’m still (perhaps unreasonably) optimistic about Friday’s game. The Hawks just stomped the Suns, so it can be done!

By the way, earlier, I wasn’t keeping track of the Celtics game but I checked Twitter and “Mo Bamba” was trending and I was pumped, but then I saw it was because he had a great game…in a Celtics blowout. Booo, Twitter, boooooooo!

But again, bad loss, but nothing to be too concerned about.

NY Post: Red-hot Knicks roll with blowout win over Grizzlies

From Marc Berman:

It was a hot and humid May afternoon in Memphis.

But at night, nothing is hotter than the Knicks.

The Knicks didn’t have their starting center Nerlens Noel, and Alec Burks was making a return from a long COVID-19 absence, but the Knicks’ freight train rolled a season-high 44-point second quarter en route to a 118-104 blowout of the Grizzlies on Monday at FedExForum.

The hero was backup point guard Derrick Rose, who didn’t just display his MVP form of 10 years ago but looked like he was back at the University of Memphis leading the Tigers to the national championship game.

With some fans wearing his old “23’’ blue college jersey, Rose’s jump shot never looked truer and he hit three driving baskets down the stretch to finish off Memphis and finish with a season-high 25 points.

“Memphis always has a special place in my heart,’’ Rose said.

In a stretch of excellent wins, this was possibly their best win. Well…hmm…this one or the Mavericks one. Anyways, the key thing is that this was an excellent win. Stupid Hawks had to beat the Trailblazers, though, which was a pain in the ass, but still, this win was huge.

NY Post: Julius Randle dismantles Rockets as Knicks reach major milestone

From Marc Berman:

There’s something about his home state of Texas that brings out the very best in Julius Randle.

After ransacking Dallas for 44 points last month, Randle kicked off May with 31 points in 30 minutes in punishing chatty Houston as the Knicks began their six-game Western trip with a 122-97 whitewashing of the awful Rockets.

The victory assured the Knicks (36-28) of a .500 record. They haven’t posted a record of .500 or better since 2012-13. The Knicks also hadn’t won in Houston since 2015-16, but this is a sorry edition of the Rockets who fell to 16-49, 5-35 in their last 40, and are missing starting point guard John Wall.

Randle made 13 of 22 shots — 4 of 9 from 3-point land — as his All-NBA campaign raged on with a 15-point third quarter. RJ Barrett gave him complementary help, scoring 21 points and Derrick Rose was a demon off the bench with 24 points.

We knew the Knicks “needed” this one and we knew that the Knicks should win this one and it is really nice that we are at the point that games like these are pretty much gimmes, right? Especially after Houston got their asses kicked just last night.

It is always important to kick the ass of the shitty teams. It’s a sign of a well-coached team that the Knicks never take their feet off of the necks of shitty teams.

NY Post: Chris Paul delivers dagger in bitter end to Knicks’ winning streak

From Marc Berman:

After losing in Brooklyn on Sunday, Suns star Devin Booker vowed to finish his team’s five-game Eastern swing with a victory at the World’s Most Famous Arena.

“That’s last thing we said in the locker room,’’ Booker said. “We’ll be ready for [Monday].’’

And so they were. The Knicks have a lot of good things going but they don’t have Booker. They don’t have point guard Chris Paul — try as they might have. And they don’t have emerging standout Mikal Bridges, even though they could have.

In a bitter end to the Knicks’ nine-game winning streak, Paul connected on three daggers in the final 1:20, including a wild circus shot, to lift the mighty Suns to a 118-110 victory Monday at the Garden.

The Knicks, who finish their six-game homestand Wednesday against the Bulls, blew a 15-point lead they built in the second quarter.

“It’s over — win the next one,’’ said a dejected Julius Randle, who put forth a rare stinker amid his All-Star campaign. “I’m fine. I saw a lot of bodies but it was what it was. The game’s in the past and move onto the next one. Find a way to close out the homestand with a win.’’

“I saw a lot of bodies” is a weird thing to say.

Anyhow, they played one of the most successful teams in the NBA (I really don’t think they’re as good as their record, but they’re still quite good) to the last 30 seconds, so that was very impressive.

One of the things that has been fascinating is how the Knicks’ offense has slowly but surely been ratcheting up the three-pointers taken and it has done a world of good for this offense. Love to see it.

Now, just go kick the Bulls’ butt on Wednesday and start a new streak!

EDITED TO ADD: Look how weird this Mike Vaccarro article is. This dude got paid to basically just write nothing. It’s bizarre.

NY Post: Streaking Knicks clip Hawks to move into fourth in East

From Marc Berman:

It was a Knicks-Hawks battle for the fourth seed and home-court advantage, and it became a night of bloody carnage and overtime at the frenzied Garden.

Julius Randle scored 40 points and the Knicks (33-27) won their eighth straight game, posting a 137-127 victory Wednesday night before a wild crowd of 2,000 that was hyped right from the national anthem. The Knicks tied their longest winning streak since 2014, when they also won eight straight.

With their 3-point shooting frenzy, the Knicks survived the physical battle, which forced Hawks superstar Trae Young to miss the fourth quarter and OT.

More importantly, the Knicks moved into sole possession of fourth place in the Eastern Conference, which means if the season ended today, they would host a first-round playoff series. And it could be against these hot Hawks, which the Knicks swept 3-0 in the season series. There are a dozen games left before the Knicks’ first postseason since 2013.

You know that the Knicks are back when Marc Berman takes the time to do all of their write-ups. We haven’t seen Peter Botte in quite some time!

Anyhow, another outstanding victory. What was particularly great was to see Immanuel Quickley play such a major role in the win.

Eight in a row. Amazing. Let’s get to cloud nine on Saturday! Kyle Lowry as the future Knick writes itself, right?