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.

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80 thoughts to “NY Post: Julius Randle dismantles Rockets as Knicks reach major milestone”

  1. I forgot how much fun it was for there to be multiple meaningful games every night… for reasons other than tracking lottery position! Blazers-Hawks tonight is huge both for our playoff position and the race to get the Mavs down to 7th in the West…

  2. Nice, easy win,
    in the game thread I called it “professional”, that’s what good teams do to bad ones.

    Tonight game is really pivotal, coupled with the Hawks’ game against the Blazers.
    Thibs’ dreams are finally fulfilled: a game 7 every night.

  3. Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn: X-rays on sprained left ankle of Knicks center Nerlens Noel were negative and he’ll be evaluated again on Monday, source tells ESPN.

    Good news. And hopefully Burks is back tonight for us to get a full healthy roster again. :)

  4. If Noel can’t go tonight, does Pelle enter the rotation? Or do we get more of Randle and/or Obi at the 5 whenever Taj is resting?

  5. And please, sign Vildoza today as Thibs looks like he’s losing trust in Payton and i don’t think a guy coming from the best european league will need time to adjust, so hopefully he can share the PG spot with DRose from now on and we don’t have to endure Payton anymore.

  6. So it seems that our magic number:
    -with Celts is 6 (or 5 if we beat them the last game to determine tiebreaker?)
    -with Miami is 8 (they own the tiebreaker)
    -with Atlanta is 6 (we own the tiebreaker)
    Does that seem right?

  7. Alan: If Noel can’t go tonight, does Pelle enter the rotation? Or do we get more of Randle and/or Obi at the 5 whenever Taj is resting?

    I think it’s the latter. Pelle didn’t look to be worthy of the spot, in the few minutes he played yesterday.

  8. I think it’s the latter. Pelle didn’t look to be worthy of the spot, in the few minutes he played yesterday.

    The problem is that Knox looked even worse, and he’d likely have to play at least a few minutes at the 4 in a scenario where Randle and Obi are the backup centers.

  9. cybersoze:
    And please, sign Vildoza today as Thibs looks like he’s losing trust in Payton and i don’t think a guy coming from the best european league will need time to adjust, so hopefully he can share the PG spot with DRose from now on and we don’t have to endure Payton anymore.

    I really am not expecting our lovable but rigid coach to insert an NBA rookie into the rotation this late in the season, no matter how bad Elf looks.

  10. Z-man:
    So it seems that our magic number:
    -with Celts is 6 (or 5 if we beat them the last game to determine tiebreaker?)
    -with Miami is 8 (they own the tiebreaker)

    -with Atlanta is 6 (we own the tiebreaker)
    Does that seem right?

    Atlanta and Celtics seems right,
    Miami could go to 42 wins (35 plus 7 to play) so I think the magic number is 7 to offset the tiebreaker (36 plus 7 —> 43)

    Miami and Boston have two head-to-head games left.

  11. Alan: The problem is that Knox looked even worse, and he’d likely have to play at least a few minutes at the 4 in a scenario where Randle and Obi are the backup centers.

    Agreed, maybe Thibs will try Pelle as the backup, but if he puts a show like yesterday, he’ll be benched and maybe he’ll try Obi next. About Knox, i noticed it too, he looked awful to be more precise. Could it be a matter of self-confidence, because he’s been playing less and less minutes as the time goes by?

  12. Alan: I really am not expecting our lovable but rigid coach to insert an NBA rookie into the rotation this late in the season, no matter how bad Elf looks.

    Me neither… but i’m hoping he at least tries it! ;)

  13. Max: Atlanta and Celtics seems right,
    Miami could go to 42 wins (35 plus 7 to play) so I think the magic number is 7 to offset the tiebreaker (36 7 —> 43)

    Sounds correct, thanks Max. It seems like tonight is key, if we can eke one out vs. Memphis and Portland can continue its roll over Atlanta, seems like the odds will be heavily in our favor.

  14. Miami could go to 42 wins (35 plus 7 to play) so I think the magic number is 7 to offset the tiebreaker (36 7 —> 43)

    Sounds correct, thanks Max.

    You guys think we can go 7-1 the rest of the way, or do you think it’s impossible to be ahead of the Heat? And if it’s impossible, they’ll be 4th and we’ll try to be 5th, is that it?

  15. cybersoze:
    And please, sign Vildoza today as Thibs looks like he’s losing trust in Payton and i don’t think a guy coming from the best european league will need time to adjust, so hopefully he can share the PG spot with DRose from now on and we don’t have to endure Payton anymore.

    Hopefully some of Payton’s minutes will go to Burks soon.

    Our building block is defense, aside from former Bulls/Wolves rules and rotations must be learned through repetitions and chemistry (as Knox and Toppin showed many times)

    I can’t imagine Thibs throwing Luca into the fire in a string of game 7s to end the season,
    barring some garbage time…

  16. cybersoze:
    You guys think we can go 7-1 the rest of the way, or do you think it’s impossible to be ahead of the Heat? And if it’s impossible, they’ll be 4th and we’ll try to be 5th, is that it?

    I don’t think the Heat will run the table, they have games with Milwaukee, Phila, Dallas and Boston (two), their cupcakes are Minnesota (who’s playing better) and Detroit.

    We need to go one game at the time but everything from 4-4 on could still be enough…

  17. Max: We need to go one game at the time but everything from 4-4 on could still be enough…

    That’s what i’m hoping – that 4-4 will be enough – and for that goal winning tonight is mandatory, because the following 4 games can go bad given the teams we play (i have the feeling we can surprise the Lakers, because Randle will be a beast and for CDiggy’s sake). But even if we go 0-4 in those games then we’ll have 3 games at MSG… to win all. ;)

  18. I think we need to acknowledge what an amazing trade the Derrick Rose trade ended up being for this team. For the cost of what is currently the #43 pick plus the ham sandwich known as Dennis Smith Jr (currently looking like a fringe NBA-player which is actually better than I thought he would look), we got a guy who has really changed the team.

    Pre-Derrick Rose NYK (stats through 2/8/2021): Net rating -1.1 (19th), ORtg 107 (24th), DRtg 108.1 (6th).

    Post-Rose NYK (stats since 2/9/2021): Net rating +5.2 (6th), ORtg 112.8 (13th), DRtg 107.6 (2nd).

    In a related stat, Elfrid Payton minutes prior to Rose trade – 28.5/game. Post-Rose trade, 21.7/game.

    We were all worried about Rose eating into Quickley’s minutes, but pre Rose trade IQ averaged 18.9 min/game, and post-Rose trade he’s averaging 19.9 minutes/game. His stats are basically identical in terms of percentages in both time periods.

    I know there’s been some chatter about Dame Lillard – and don’t get me wrong – if we keep Quickley, Randle, and RJ, I’d trade just about anything else in a Lillard trade. But I wonder what the ceiling of this team could be if we just found other net-positive players at the starting PG position and backup PF positions. That could be as simple as Quickley starting games and finding an adequate replacement for him on a bench unit (much easier to find an adequate backup guard than starting guard!) and Obi continuing his progression. But more likely, we could probably find a net-positive starting guard in free agency without having to give up all the picks — then waiting with our big offer for a younger player like Devin Booker or… Zion?

  19. Meanwhile – I am little nervous about Miami getting it together now that it is winning time.
    We are really only 1 game up on them since they have the tiebreaker.
    Their next 5 games are against Dallas, Minnesota, Boston, Boston, and Philly, and then they close against Milwaukee and Detroit.

    Gotta figure Milwaukee will be resting players and that they’ll win that last game against Detroit.

    My guess is if they go 5-2 they will probably surpass us in the standings. Even 4-3 might get it done.
    Feels wrong but I’m rooting for Dallas tonight, then the Celtics. We at least have the chance to win the tiebreaker against Boston.

  20. In HoopsRumors.com:
    I was kind of — what word should I use — not irritated with him because he’s a writer, that’s what he does, so I can’t expect him to not do his job,” Lillard said. “But I know because of our relationship that people would assume that I was tied to the story. So I think that was the only thing that bothered me about it.

    If this is Dame’s way of shutting down the rumors, i don’t think he has succeeded.

  21. I’m not counting the Knicks out over the Heat until the Knicks are out. All season we’ve heard about how Toronto, Boston, and Miami would eventually usurp us but we sit at 4th with eight more games to play. We’ve had our shit together all year and I expect us to keep our shit together while the rest of the conference continues to flounder. The Knicks will host a playoff series this year.

  22. cybersoze: If this is Dame’s way of shutting down the rumors, i don’t think he has succeeded.

    Dame, Julius, Year 3 RJ Barrett, and Mitchell Robinson might win 60 games next season but I doubt Dame Lillard makes his way out of Portland. He doesn’t work out with anybody during the off season, he went to Weber State, and his agent doesn’t represent any high profile guys outside of DeMar DeRozan. I think he’ll retire in Portland and have no regrets about never winning a championship.

  23. ***Thibs’ dreams are finally fulfilled: a game 7 every night.***

    ***everything from 4-4 on could still be enough…***

    Which is it, a game 7 every night, or not even a game 1 every night?

  24. Donnie Walsh:
    ***Thibs’ dreams are finally fulfilled: a game 7 every night.***

    ***everything from 4-4 on could still be enough…***

    Which is it, a game 7 every night, or not even a game 1 every night?

    Every game from now to the 72th will be a Game 7 (one of the running jokes here), because we’re fighting for different things: avoiding the play-in and getting the home field advantage, in a four-teams race with Atlanta, Miami and Boston.

    Plus, responding to a question from Cyber that asked if we must go 7-1 to get home field, I wrote that my opinion is that “everything from 4-4 on could still be enough” (to get the 4th place).

    So, even discounting the fact that you take excerpts from different arguments (the first a comment intended to underline the importance of the next games and the second an answer to a direct question) and de-contestualize them,
    the first doesn’t exclude the second.

  25. I’ll be happy if we finish 4 or 5. I just don’t want to face the Bucks in the 1st round or risk a play in. A Bucks series could get ugly. Ideally, I’d love to play the Hawks with home court because Miami and Boston are going to be brutal regardless of whether we are home or away. Those team have some really seasoned tough players that are going to relish playoff basketball. If that’s what it comes down to, at least RJ, Quick, and Obi will get their first taste of serious basketball. That will help them.

  26. I’d give us a roughly 10% chance of beating the Bucks in a 7 game series. Giannis is just too good – probably one of 2-3 players who can guard Randle 1-on-1 (the other probably being Bam, although Randle has done well in those matchups too).

    50/50 on Miami and Boston
    60/40 on Atlanta

    One way or the other, I don’t think this team needs to be afraid of anyone. I’d be surprised if we got swept by any team other than a full strength Nets team.

    (on the down low I’d say Steve Nash has done an amazing job with the Nets. He’s had a revolving door of players this whole year and yet they’re scoring a ridiculous amount of points and are the #1 seed, all while really never having the big 3 together for any stretch).

  27. I’m taking 80/20 chances on the Hawks; we swept those boys in the regular season and I think we’d beat them in 6 games regardless of seeding.

    50/50 on the Celtics, 30/70 on the Heat because I don’t think RJ Barrett and Julius Randle can get going against Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.

    I agree we have a 10% chance against the Bucks. Khris Middleton and Giannis are going to give Barrett/Randle hell all series and there’s no way we have a chance at stopping Giannis.

  28. I thought the dude on the right was DeAndre Jordan at first and got real confused.

  29. I’m just taking it one game at a time but right now, I am not going to bet against this team against anyone. Come playoffs, I don’t think we can beat Philly or The Nets in a series. Bucks, Boston, Heat, Atlanta…all of them will be tough. But I also will not count us out of anything because this team has shown strength and resiliency all year and you never know. RJ and IQ could find another level. The team rarely gets blown out.

    As far as the rest of the trip goes, the Denver game is the only one that I feel pretty certain we will lose. Denver on the road with Jokic the way he’s playing right now…that’s going to be really tough. But its not like The Lakers are playing great right now and neither are The Clippers to be honest. Phoenix we’ll be motivated for revenge and we almost beat them last time. If Noel isn’t hurt and we get Burks back, I like our chances against anyone and it feels so damn good to type that.

  30. Shams:

    Lakers guard Dennis Schroder is expected to miss 10-to-14 days due to health and safety protocols, sources tell me and @billoram. Schroder entered protocols on Sunday.

    The Lakers are still scuffling, and Davis hasn’t played well since returning. Strange to think that they’re more likely to wind up in the play-in round than we are.

  31. The Honorable Cock Jowles: I thought the dude on the right was DeAndre Jordan at first and got real confused.

    Yeah, it doesn’t resemble KD all that much. And then there’s the number, he shouldn’t have abandoned the most beautiful number – 35. ;)

  32. cybersoze: Yeah, it doesn’t resemble KD all that much. And then there’s the number, he shouldn’t have abandoned the most beautiful number – 35. ;)

    That’s James Harden, my dude. And 35 isn’t even a prime.

    So does that mean Schroder has been outed as an anti-vaxxer?

  33. That Schroeder news is brutal for the Lakers. Especially since you can read the tea leaves and very easily figure out this is not a contact tracing situation (as was true for Burks as well–all of our announcers/pundits having to dance around the situation compared to Rose who was open about it has been darkly funny).

    I would still probably take them in a series against any of the top-3 teams in the West assuming reasonable health, but the fact that we’re even talking about the possibility of them losing in the first round is pretty wild. They might be better off just resting LeBron for the rest of the season and dealing with the consequences of that than trying to get him up to speed.

  34. The Honorable Cock Jowles: That’s James Harden, my dude. And 35 isn’t even a prime.

    No, no. Harden is number 13. And 35 was just a joke because it’s the number i use. ;)

    [Update] I’m not reading things right today. You said guy on the right, and i just read Durant and not being recognizable. Eheh. You’re right, the guy on the right is Harden, of course.

  35. I actually think the Bucks are our nightmare match-up in the playoffs. The recipe for slowing down Giannis in the playoffs has been all about having a inside player who cam match his strength, so he can’t just bully and push you around, Marc Gasol, Al Horford, etc. Noel is great but he’s still relatively light and his best assets are mobility and shot blocking, two things Giannis won’t care much about. Randle could probably match Giannis in strength but we can’t expect him to take that assignment over a 7 game series while also carrying most of the offense.

    I think we have a better chance facing Philly and just turning the games into a messy slugfest of hard defense. Then again, Embiid might just foul out our entire front court, but I think it’s still easier than stopping Giannis with our current setup.

  36. None of the Hawks, Celts, or Heat will be an easy 1st rd matchup. Even though we swept the Hawks in the regular season, they’ve dealt with a bunch of injuries and come on late in the year. Even our last win, Trae Young went down with an injury and we still needed overtime.

    There’s going to be a challenge wherever we wind up. The Knicks have shown they can handle it, but there’s no easy matchups.

  37. Quickley has been looking much better recently and I especially liked his long distance three from the H near mid court.

  38. DS:
    Randle and RJ depicted on this week’s New Yorker cover! Granted, they’re running after the Nets’ big three.

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine

    Why didn’t they add Kevin Knox to that picture to make it 3 on 3? Knox excels at 3 on 3 basketball!
    :-)

  39. Possible first-round opponents in order of preference:

    1) Hawks–they’re the only team in this group I genuinely think we’re better than, which might be partially Knicks-PTSD based but there’s a case for it. It would still be far from a cakewalk and I could see us losing because Capela annihilates us on the offensive glass and exhausts our defense with extra possessions.

    2) Miami–they might have the best two players in the series, but they’re pretty barren besides those two. I’d feel decent about our defense being able to give them enough fits to force Herro et al. to carry more of a load than they can. One weird thing about our offense is it’s so slow and isolation heavy I think it’s somewhat impervious to the quality of opposing defenses, so their defense doesn’t scare me much. I’d favor Miami by a little, but would expect a good series.

    3) Boston–I simply think they’re a good amount better than their record due to all the time they’ve missed with injuries, Covid, etc. Between Tatum, Brown, and Kemba they can score much more easily than we can.

    5) Milwaukee–I’d be a little curious to see what Thibs could draw up against Giannis over the course of a series, but we would get steamrolled.

    6) Brooklyn–with the obvious health caveat, we would get steamrolled.

  40. Why didn’t they add Kevin Knox to that picture to make it 3 on 3? Knox excels at 3 on 3 basketball!
    :-)

    lmao

  41. The fact the Lakers are heading to a play in is pretty amazing.

    What’s the consensus on changes to the playoff format? I kind of like it. Puts a lot of interest into the stretch run that was almost never there.

  42. Why didn’t they add Kevin Knox to that picture to make it 3 on 3? Knox excels at 3 on 3 basketball!

    TOO SOON!!!!!!

  43. I’m not getting confident about any potential playoff opponent. Both Capela and Young have given us fits in the past, for instance.

  44. Apart from the overall team success, the biggest happy surprises for me so far have been Randle not burning out at all and the huge leaps in perimeter play on both ends of the floor.

    Randle’s a monster. Like everyone else, I assumed he’d be overused, and he definitely has been. So, I’d have guessed that by now he’d be mostly spent or hobbled and defaulting to old bad habits. And I wouldn’t have held it against him. It’s what you’d expect from being heavily overused and carrying the major offensive load and playing consistently hard D. It’s crazy how well he’s held up. Guy’s made of iron.

    And I definitely didn’t see the 3pt improvement coming. Some improvement? Sure. But going from being the 4th-worst 3pt shooting team last year to the 4th-best in 3pt % and going from the 3rd-worst defense against 3-pointers last year to the best in the league this year? I definitely did not see that coming. Thibs is the ISM. And we’re trending up in 3pt attempts.

    It’ll be fun to see if we can beat some of the top teams during this tough stretch because we’ve just got a better perimeter game overall and our star somehow can’t be ground down.

  45. TheClashFan: Why didn’t they add Kevin Knox to that picture to make it 3 on 3?Knox excels at 3 on 3 basketball!
    :-)

    I’m still laughing.

  46. What’s the consensus on changes to the playoff format? I kind of like it.

    in favor. not convinced those who argue it devalues the regular season have fully thought through the comparison to the previous system where two teams with identical records can receive binary treatment. but i would prefer win/loss guard rails added, even tho it would add a little complexity.

  47. But going from being the 4th-worst 3pt shooting team last year to the 4th-best in 3pt %?

    Keith Smart says Hi

  48. Agree with Milo about the playoff format – makes it more interesting and more fair

  49. I’m still amazed by how much Randle has improved, and wondering how much higher his ceiling might get.
    In April he averaged 27/9/6.3 – played great defense, and was a threat from everywhere on the floor. his shooting is only getting better month by month, and now he’s doing step backs etc. and looking totally comfortable. And he’s defending really well also. Literally other than rim protection, he has been amazing at every other facet of the game.

    (the major difference between him and Lebron is that Lebron’s 2P% has always been 55-60% and Randle’s WAS like that but the last couple years has been closer to 50%).

    And so going forward, do you build around him like he’s Lebron James? Because he’s sort of 90% of average year Lebron James right now. Building around Lebron has always meant just getting guys who can defend and shoot 3’s, and not necessarily a distributor-type PG.

    What’s interesting about Randle is that whereas Lebron has always been the distributor, Randle could easily be the roll man with a real PG shooting threat. (seriously, look at how infrequently he finished possessions as the roll man — in the last 5 seasons he has never averaged more than 0.9 such possessions in a game, and mostly he’s around 0.5/game).

  50. Unreason: But going from being the 4th-worst 3pt shooting team last year to the 4th-best in 3pt %

    All 4 of the major 3 point shooters on the team (Randle, RJ, Burks, Bullock) have basically career high 3P% this year. Rose also shooting 38.6% which would be career high although low volume. Gotta think there is more than just chance to this – ie. their practice habits are better, and maybe Johnny Bryant is the 3P whisperer (Utah was #1 in 3p shooting last year I think?)

  51. i think it’s tough to count on randle being 40% from 3 going forward.. esp the type of 3s he’s shooting which are mostly of the pullup variety…. unless your last name is curry or durant it’s really tough to repeat as a 40% 3pt shooter with high volume…

    can he be 38%? i think high 30s is attainable and reasonable… but seeing as how he’s 42% now… that’s actually kind of a far drop….

    with that weighing on him … the upside is kind of limited…. 2pt land is where he can claw back some efficiency when his 3pt shooting inevitably drops but he’s also going to need to shoot like durant from mid range if he wants to achieve that with his current shot mix…. that’s probably because we don’t have a great pg situation with .339 %assisted 2pt’ers… but that could also be a function of thibs offense where randle is playing the wiggins and rose iso role…. he’s going to need to generate more rim attempts and he’s probably going to need a pg or someone to get him more of those….

    that’s absolutely possible.. esp with rj growing as a #2/3 option…. but that’s far from guaranteed… it’s actually kind of a huge risk factor as randle is a pretty big regression candidate… so yes randle is obv great now… but there’s enormous risk that the bottom falls out… if randle’s 3pt shooting deteroriates and his 2pt shooting doesn’t recover to compensate… that’s the risk with depending on 3pt shooting….

  52. ***going forward, do you build around him like he’s Lebron James? Because he’s sort of 90% of average year Lebron James right now.***

    Average year LeBron James is a well-vetted champion. Randle still has yet to see a playoff game through 7 years, 440 games, and 13,000 minutes. He’s been very good this year, but its been a strange year all around, and building around him like he’s 90% LeBron seems a bit premature.

  53. I love what Randle is doing and I am prepared to take this ride as far as it goes. But saying Randle is 90% of Lebron seems, I don’t know, asking for trouble karma wise and statistically.

    And you ought to stipulate you mean 90% of Lebron this year.

  54. Tommy Beer:

    2020-21 Rookie Leaders in advanced stats per @nbastats:

    Offensive Rating:
    1. Immanuel Quickley
    2. Payton Pritchard
    3. Tyrese Haliburton

    Defensive Rating:
    1. Immanuel Quickley
    2. Josh Green
    3. Aaron Nesmith

    Net Rating:
    1. Immanuel Quickley
    2. Xavier Tillman

    Is that good? That seems good.

  55. Alan: Defensive Rating:
    1. Immanuel Quickley

    That seems pretty good to me, Alan.

    But this is what’s surprised me. He was trying really hard but often flailing about and getting lost early, which is to be expected from a rookie. But lately he seems (eye test, but backed up by this) like he’s much more clued in and moving to the right spots and shutting down players early in sequences. Not what I would have expected this year at all.

  56. I favor the play-in. The NBA is kind of ridiculous in that over half the teams make the playoffs. If you can’t manage to finish above 6th, then you really don’t deserve a free pass to a playoff spot. KB used to call 7th & 8th sucker spots because you miss out on the lotto, but now I’m actually interested in what happens there.

  57. I like the play-in. In years past the Wizards would be out of the playoffs by 2/3 of the season with a 17-31 record but as the 10th qualifies for the play-in and they were in reach, they kept pushing. In that quest for the 10th spot they exceeded expectations and are now in contention for the 8th spot. Amazing, right?

  58. Ian Begley:
    In an injury report posted by the NBA at 1:30 PM, Nerlens Noel is listed as questionable for tonight’s game vs. Memphis due to his ankle injury. Noel left Sunday’s win over HOU due to a left ankle sprain.

  59. Quickley has been awesome recently. He changes our entire dynamic when he enters the game.

    Starting games with Payton is Thibs’ way of lulling our opponents to sleep and then POW!

  60. How much, if any, of Quickley’s various ratings (besides +/-, that is) reflect the fact that he basically never plays with Elfrid Payton?

  61. elfrid payton is like the modern day marc iavoroni or kurt rambis…like a symbolic gesture as some kind of glue guy or steady starting influence but once he sits down…you know he is not seeing the floor again unless of some kind of emergency situation happens….

    once burks comes back….he will be even more of an afterthought…

    i wonder how in his mind..Thibs is rationalizing putting him on the floor right now at all…other than due to injuries…really if he could play rose 40 a game…payton would ride pine all game…

  62. Ian Begley:
    Knicks will sign Jared Harper to a 2-way deal, league sources confirm. Harper had been on 10-day deal that just expired. Harper signing a 2-way clears a spot on 15-man roster. Worth noting: Knicks have been in talks with Argentinian guard Luca Vildoza. @JShawNBA 1st on Harper.

    Time for Luca? :)

  63. Lucasanity is coming!

    Look, Randle has warts we all know about in his game, but just the level of improvement he has shown deserves attention. I keep saying that it’s not entirely about the numbers, but about showing improvement relatively consistently, and I still think that’s the key part. At the end of the day you have to find talent whenever you can and Randle has shown he’s a hard working guy who is still 26, so we should ride and die with him.

  64. how odd, the grizz are 14 – 17 at home and 18 – 14 away…the pacers got a similar thing going on with their record…

  65. cybersoze: Time for Luca? :)

    Apparently we signed Harper to a 2nd 10-day:

    NY_KnicksPR
    @NY_KnicksPR
    .@nyknicks Sign Jared Harper to Second 10-Day Contract

  66. @MikeVorkunov
    Nerlens Noel is out tonight for the Knicks in Memphis. Alec Burks is going to warm up tonight so his return is TBD.

    This game just got more challenging. If ever there was a night for The Obi Toppin Game — or even The Norvel Pelle Game — this is it.

  67. Alan: This game just got more challenging. If ever there was a night for The Obi Toppin Game — or even The Norvel Pelle Game — this is it.

    We should still have this, but we’re definitely going to need to work for it. Is this our first game without either Noel or Mitch?

  68. I really like the play-in. If only they had it the year that Tyson Chandler head-butted his own dunk back through the rim…

    I kind of like the format (7 vs. 8, 9 vs. 10) because it makes the 6 vs. 7 spot chase (like the 4-way chase that we are intimately involved in) a crazy fun element.

    I also like that it mitigates the disparity between the EC and WC somewhat. Not totally, but at least the good teams that miss the 8th spot in the West have less to cry about since they will not have a better record than the #6 team in the East.

    Kudos to Silver, he’s really been a creative commish, way more so than Stern.

  69. Pump the brakes on Lucasanity:

    @IanBegley
    Correction: Jared Harper’s new contract with NYK is a second 10-day deal, not a 2-way contract. So NYK won’t have an open 15-man roster spot until Harper’s current deal ends. They’ll have a small window to sign another player. Deleted previous tweet about Harper inking 2-way deal

  70. I’m wondering if there’s some Covid protocol/immigration issues going on with Luca or if we’ve just given up. Possible Luca needs 10 days to come over and clear NBA protocol so we can begin using him immediately upon signing. No idea.

    Maybe Luca deal fell through though or won’t happen till the offseason?

  71. Randle’s overall improvement is almost entirely due to passing and defense. His 3-pt shooting may be inflated, but he has already had two full seasons of TS% above .600. If anything, there is much less downside risk than there is further room for improvement. His improvements on defense and passing should be stable, and since his 2pt% this years reads as an outlier…he had 4 straight years of being over 50% from 2 before this year…I don’t see any reason why he can’t get back there even at 38% from 3, especially with better PG play.

    However he does it, if his TS% gets north of .600 again and he passes, defends and leads like he did this year, he becomes a legit MVP candidate (objectively, he really is not anywhere near being one this year despite the hype.) Cutting down on turnovers would help too.

  72. I think we’re focusing too much on a guy who was unlikely to play non-garbage time minutes for the rest of this season and into the playoffs, given our coach and our situation. If we were signing him now, it would just be to give the coaches a little time to work with him before figuring out our offseason plans for him and everyone else. But it doesn’t seem like a big deal if it doesn’t happen now. Thibs would play Frank ahead of Luca if he had to.

  73. I really wish we had signed someone better than Pelle. Wasn’t Birdman out there somewhere?

  74. Wow, i get up, go eat something and when i get back Lucasanity ends before it even began? :(

  75. Z-man:
    I really wish we had signed someone better than Pelle. Wasn’t Birdman out there somewhere?

    I’m pretty high on Pelle as far as random scrubs go. We could always cut Jared Harper I guess

  76. I don’t know what the stats say, but Pelle seems to play way better when he has at least one dislocated finger! :D

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