NY Post: Julius Randle, RJ Barrett flop in Knicks’ blowout Game 3 loss to Hawks

From Marc Berman:

 Tom Thibodeau can change the Knicks’ starting point guard, but he can’t change what his team has been built around this season: Julius Randle and RJ Barrett as a dynamic 1-2 punch.

In their playoff debuts, however, the pair have been duds, and now the Knicks are facing a dose of reality as they trail the Hawks 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

For the third straight game, Randle and Barrett underperformed and the Hawks rolled with an emphatic 105-94 victory Wednesday in Game 3 at rowdy and red State Farm Arena.

I mean, that’s really it, right? Randle and Barrett were terrible and the Knicks could have still won this one.

So….you know, let’s hope they play better and the Knicks even this series on Sunday.

Imagine how much they would have lost by had Payton started!

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173 thoughts to “NY Post: Julius Randle, RJ Barrett flop in Knicks’ blowout Game 3 loss to Hawks”

  1. If Randle shoots 10%, there are no adjustments that bring the Knicks back.

    with all due respect to Ephus, I vehemently disagree. There is a very simple and obvious adjustment that we can make to negate the impact McMillan’s scheme has had on us:

    Tom Thibodeau needs to take his center off the court for once and see what happens. Atlanta’s entire defense is built on the fact that we consistently play a center who is no threat to score. It’s a 5-on-4 power play out there all the time with Taj or Noel.

    McMillan played Gallo at the 5 ffs. It’s not 2008 anymore. Our coach is having his “the east is big” moment.

    Capela cannot be allowed to play free safety. He needs to be stretched. Thibs and Randle are the two biggest reasons we are here, but both of them are shitting the bed so far. This isn’t a “just execute better” series. This is a “pull your head out of your ass and start making some adjustments” series.

  2. julius at the 5, seems at least worth a try, get some more time for obi who is playing well right now…

    julius and RJ may only have 2 more games to change a negative narrative that’ll stick with them for at least a full year…

    of all the things I expected from the playoffs, those two being completely overwhelmed wasn’t one of them…

  3. Hubert: Tom Thibodeau needs to take his center off the court for once and see what happens. Atlanta’s entire defense is built on the fact that we consistently play a center who is no threat to score. It’s a 5-on-4 power play out there all the time with Taj or Noel.

    I don’t know, do you think Randle and RJ missed so much because of Capela?

    I watched the game after watching the Euroleague semifinals between Barça and Milano and the offense seemed… simplistic (I know FIBA rules is played differently, but still). Randle was catching the ball in very bad positions and then going one-on-one and failing against Collins, while the rest of the players were static. I expected him to win the matchup against Collins but that has not been the case. So, why dont we try something else? I think we should get Randle going with some other kind of plays. First, I think we should stagger Rose and Randle, so that Randle can handle the ball a little more. Second, I think Noel could set screens for Bullock/Burks/RJ while Randle has the ball to create a little havoc, drive Capela out of the lane and get passing opportunities.

  4. Barça – Milano was a nice game and part one of a very disappointing night for me yesterday… :-(

    Our “alleged” stars have played badly in these three games, logic would like them to improve,
    but I’m a little worried because I haven’t seen many adjustment on offense, like Thibs is simply hoping that sooner or later Randle and Barrett can finally unlock.

    Without Rose we would be down 0-3, with average games from Randle and RJ we would be ahead 3-0.

    Your collective suggestions are good and at least must be tried, let’s play 5 minutes with Randle at the 5, let him pass more with more screens and movement from the shooters and see what happens.

    Unfortunately I’m old enough to remember the Memorial Day Massacre, when the Lakers lost Game-1 of the Finals to the Celtics by 34 (with Scott Wedman going 11-11 from the field)… only to take home the ring less than two weeks later.

    That’s why you need selective memory in the playoffs.
    Watch the film, adjust, adjust some more, then erase the last game and go on to play the next one, it’ll start 0-0.

    But they need to try something new to make the Hawks unconfortable.

  5. Exactly what Hubert said plus they also didn’t blitz Trae when he had the ball the same way they did in the second half of Game 2. It’s like Thibs has a “stock model” and he deviates from it only in emergency. Then the fact that the deviation actually worked better than the stock is completely ignored—and it’s right back to stock.

  6. After going 5-25 from 3 in Game 2, Bogdo, Huerter and Gallo went 10-12 this time. To me, that was the difference in the game. They shot slightly better than us from 2 but we outscored them by 22 points at the FT line. It came down to a 3pt contest and we lost miserably. RJ and Julius have to step up on both ends, but it won’t matter if we don’t defend the 3pt line better.

  7. That game felt very much like a carousel turning back into a pumpkin. Series isn’t over yet, but that was much more delating than Game 1.

  8. I don’t know, do you think Randle and RJ missed so much because of Capela?

    I think they’re not attacking the rim bc there are too many bodies in the paint. The only player who can navigate that sort of mess in the lane is Derrick Rose, and that’s why he’s our only effective player. We need to move some of those bodies out. Or run more pnr. Or just do something other than “get the ball on the perimeter, hold it so the defense can set, and attack it half assed by yourself.”

  9. Capela doesn’t even have to guard anyone, and there isn’t the slightest sense that Thibs and the staff are thinking of ways to make him pay for doing that. They obviously aren’t generating ways to make him pay.

    The 22 FT advantage the Knicks somehow mustered makes the dreadful offensive shot chart look even better than it actually was. They just aren’t generating looks at all and haven’t the whole series.

  10. let’s play 5 minutes with Randle at the 5,

    I would like to see Obi at the 5, too. He’s been effective in this series and deserves more time. Obi is a threat on picks. His presence can help Randle in many ways.

    Quickley should be playing with Randle and RJ more, too.

    But I can’t imagine us doing any of that stuff. This has been like watching rock paper scissor with someone who only knows how to throw rock.

  11. E, all merc’d out: They just aren’t generating looks at all and haven’t the whole series.

    They went 16-27 from 3, we went 9-30. Were their looks all that much better than ours? Or did they just make theirs while we missed ours?

  12. To me, by the eye test, it looked like Randle did much better when he chose an offensive option quickly. If he waited even a few seconds, and Atlanta’s defense got set, then he really struggled.

  13. Hubert: But I can’t imagine us doing any of that stuff. This has been like watching rock paper scissor with someone who only knows how to throw rock.

    Or maybe it would be ill-advised to try something you haven’t done all year after one playoff loss…I don’t see many coaches doing that, do you?

  14. And I also have to say it, starting Rose instead of Peyton didn’t help much. We didn’t have a bad first quarter, but the second unit wasn’t as effective and it seemed to cancel things out.

  15. Randle and RJ went a combined 4-24. Does anyone really think that their 20 misses were all on bad looks?

  16. Or maybe it would be ill-advised to try something you haven’t done all year after one playoff loss…I don’t see many coaches doing that, do you?

    we see it all the time. Remember when Steve Kerr finally took David Lee out in game 4 of the finals and tried a small lineup for the first time?

    I’m not writing Thibs off for the series. We’ve seen a lot of series turn with one key adjustment between game 3 and 4 down 2-1. But he’s got to adjust something. We need to force them to play 5 on 5.

  17. What about on defense? How about a zone?

    Watching Trae brake the ankles of whomever is guarding him and then find people for easy dunks can’t be helping the morale. Why not lay off him for a bit. Make them all beat us with threes from deep.

    EDIT: And have we scored on one pick and roll, I mean even ONE the entire series?

  18. Hubert: we see it all the time. Remember when Steve Kerr finally took David Lee out in game 4 of the finals and tried a small lineup for the first time?

    What? We hardly ever see it. Not to mention that I think you are misremembering what happened in that series, it was actually David Lee who played more and turned things around, and that we’re talking about a finals team from the WC that is deep by definition, not whatever we are. Nor do we have the likes of Iggy or future HOFers Steph Curry or Draymond Green to play small ball with. And it wasn’t the first time it was done, Kerr had done it all year, and it was done the year before under Mark Jackson.

  19. Chirurgical, merciless analysis from our old friend Mike Vorkunov on The Athletic.

    I especially agree with the “the lack of talent they were able to paper over during the last five months is now revealing itself” part…

    Still this serie is far from over, the Hawks aren’t a juggernaut,
    but we need to adjust, let’s see if we can.

    P.S. I wasn’t aware that they used this surprising season as an excuse to raise the season-ticket for next year. Well done Dolan, not that we need other evidence that you’re a piece of shit.

  20. First of all, it’s an indictment of the coach that we never tried any of this shit during the regular season, either.

    Secondly, it’s not that big a deal to have Obi set screens instead of Taj.

    And finally, the stats indicate Reggie Bullock has set 4% of the Knicks screens in this series. The man Trae Young is hiding on is not setting screens to get Trae switched onto our primary ball handlers!! what the fuck!? why are we letting this happen??

    Do you know how happy the Hawks must be right now? We are politely declining to do all the things they’re afraid we’ll do, all bc “it’s not what we did in the regular season.”

    Rock.

    Rock.

    Rock.

    Every damn time. So they just keep throwing paper. They don’t even have to think about us throwing something different at them. It’s become so easy for them now.

  21. I especially agree with the “the lack of talent they were able to paper over during the last five months is now revealing itself” part…

    Yeah, that’s the thing. Atlanta just has so many more weapons than we do, even leaving aside Randle and RJ going into simultaneous funks. The good news is that Leon Rose and company are seeing this, too, which means they won’t be naive enough to just run back the current roster plus our draft picks. We need at least one more high-level scorer, plus more shooting options up and down the lineup. Quickley and some of the others on the roster are capable of being better than this. But we need a situation where we have redundancy after redundancy, whereas right now our offense is so fragile.

  22. Hubert, I think you meant Andrew Bogut….but still, they had used the small lineup earlier in the year and the playoffs:

    The five-man lineup of Iguodala, Curry, Thompson, Green, and Barnes had played together for 102 minutes during the regular season and 62 minutes through the first 18 games of the playoffs

  23. Alan: Alan
    May 29, 2021 at 9:18 am
    I especially agree with the “the lack of talent they were able to paper over during the last five months is now revealing itself” part…

    Yeah, that’s the thing. Atlanta just has so many more weapons than we do, even leaving aside Randle and RJ going into simultaneous funks. The good news is that Leon Rose and company are seeing this, too, which means they won’t be naive enough to just run back the current roster plus our draft picks. We need at least one more high-level scorer, plus more shooting options up and down the lineup. Quickley and some of the others on the roster are capable of being better than this. But we need a situation where we have redundancy after redundancy, whereas right now our offense is so fragile.

    I’ve been saying all along that ATL is better than us on paper, and most pundits think the same thing. And yes, it’s good for our flaws to get exposed, and for Randle to be maybe humbled enough to accept a long-term deal for less than the max. It’s also good for RJ to see that he is still a long way from being a championship-level starter, let alone an alpha dog.

    But that said, I still think this game came down to making and missing. I expect a bounce back on Sunday. And if not, and we go down in 5 or 6, hey, credit the Hawks and let the hyperspeed low-budget rebuild continue!

  24. Dammit Thibs! I said start Rose…not start Rose and Taj!! Noel still needs to start to protect the paint. When I saw Taj in the first 5..I was like “shit man..”. He is so much better with the second unit.

    But how about Noel goin 10-12 from the line?

  25. I don’t hate Trae yet. Some of his antics are annoying but he’s not doing anything all that crazy considering how triggering the F Trae Young chants were in game 1. It would take years before he gets to the level of Reggie Miller or Paul Pierce or Tim Hardaway.

  26. I still think this game came down to making and missing

    My counter argument is that it’s hard to make shots when the whole team is guarding you. When Randle gets the ball, Clint Capela can confidently ignore Taj & Noel. And the rest of the Hawks can sag off their men to cover the ground Capela is ceding bc they’re confident they can run Barrett or Bullock off the line.

    I’m not buying this “no talent” bullshit. Obi can set a screen for Julius Randle. Reggie Bullock can set a screen for Julius Randle. Either of those things would help Randle immensely, but no. We can only use nonthreatening offensive players to set screens.

  27. We could also let Julius Randle set screens! Have you watched Bucks Heat? Giannis has probably set more screens in this series than he has in his entire life.

  28. We really need Rose coming off the bench, so I say start (redacted). He could slow down Trae and despite being an offensive zero, could still hit an open 3 if the opportunity arises.

    Play him for the first 5-6 minutes and then go to Rose.

  29. Hubert: My counter argument is that it’s hard to make shots when the whole team is guarding you. When Randle gets the ball, Clint Capela can confidently ignore Taj & Noel. And the rest of the Hawks can sag off their men to cover the ground Capela is ceding bc they’re confident they can run Barrett or Bullock off the line.

    I’m not buying this “no talent” bullshit. Obi can set a screen for Julius Randle. Reggie Bullock can set a screen for Julius Randle. Either of those things would help Randle immensely, but no. We can only use nonthreatening offensive players to set screens.

    Nobody said that the Knicks have “no talent.” Only that ATL has more. You really have to be a total homer to think otherwise. But whatever. If your point is that there should be offensive adjustments involving other players setting screens for Randle, sure, that’s fair.

  30. Obi is still a terrible defensive player. Playing him more that the spot minutes he’s getting would likely hurt the team. Playing him at the 5 would be a disaster. Playing him at the 4 with Randle at the 5 would probably work when Capela is out, so I’d be down for Thibs trying that, but it probably won’t happen.

  31. Yeah, that GS reference doesn’t support the theory at all; however, I do think there have been reactionary coaches over the years that do try to MacGyver things with duct tape and chewing gum in the playoffs rather than stick with what got them there in the first place. Woodson is a primary example (“right now I’m reaching and just trying to find something that works”, May 15th, 2013); and Riley kind of admitted that he SHOULD have done it when he foolishly thought that “tightening the rotation” was more important that not shooting 2-18. And I’m sure there are other examples that don’t spring to mind because you really have to study the minutiae of mediocre teams over a full season to notice it, and because, ultimately, good, well constructed, well coached teams typically don’t need to resort to that kind of stuff barring injuries/masssuspensionsforleaving thebenchareaduringbrawls.

  32. I think both Z-Man and Hubert are right, actually. On the one hand, Hawks were shooting a bit below average in games 1 and 2, and then blew the game open on the back of outlier 3 point shooting. If each team plays to their average 3pt %, it’s a down to the wire game. So I think Z-Man is right in that respect. But also, our offense is static and predictable–there’s very little ball movement, and 50 % of the time when we get penetration we pass it out to a covered guy and reset, because we’re so afraid of Capela/our guy knows he doesn’t have the chops to finish. There are few forced switches, few effective screens when Taj isn’t playing (an issue we’ve had for what feels like years now, tbh), and just a lot of rock-pounding. I think Thibs needs to ask for a different look on offense from his players, because “let Randle and RJ pound the rock” is not a winning strategy in this series or any other, even if we do hit our 3s–it makes us too easy to shut down when Randle is having a poor game.

    That doesn’t mean Thibs should overhaul the offense in g4 (I would like to see Obi at the 5 someday, but not in the make or break game of the playoffs trying to guard one of the league’s biggest lob threats who also has 2 inches and 20 pounds on him), but it involves things like letting Reggie shoot off curls (in general, more of Reggie shooting in movement, since he’s one of the most immobile elite 3pt shooters in the league last time I checked) with Randle passing out the post (something that happened at the beginning of the game and led to a three point foul), or double screens, more Rose PnR, literally anything to get Capela away from the rim, etc.

  33. i don’t think there’s anything wrong with hoping for experimentation with randle or obi at the 5. but i also strongly suspect that it won’t work. especially if it’s with capela in the game. without capela on the floor, the knicks have already significantly outscored atlanta. with capela against an obi/randle 5, i think we’d probably get obliterated in the long run.

    on the other hand, i read the game thread and i think i may have watched a totally different game? this idea that atlanta was really dumb and we were smart but just missed shots is not in any sense what i saw. atlanta did some really interesting things offensively. they ran a bunch of new actions that allowed trae to go downhill on the right side of the floor, even when our defense had obviously adjusted with the full intent of forcing him left. they ran some really clever wag the dog stuff that helped open the middle for lobs, which we had previously succeeded at scuttling. the very first play of the game they ran hunter around a capela screen on the baseline, setting up rj and taj to get stuck in the corner while trae and collins ran a very high screen and roll against our two worst defenders in randle and rose. we literally did not run a play as clever all game. i am not a fan of everything nate mcmillan did, but our offensive adjustments were about as minimal as you will ever see from a struggling playoff offense.

    that’s not to say anything would have mattered when atlanta shoots 60% from 3. there are so many counterfactuals to a single game it’s hard to squeeze any one part of the balloon with confidence. and i do think atlanta has more talent in the most general sense of the term. but do i feel like i am watching a really dumb team just out-talent a smart team missing shots in this series? no way.

  34. I think Randle and RJ are getting exposed a little as 2nd and 3rd options facing playoff level defense under playoff level pressure. This is partly why I wanted us to be in this position this year. All of these inexperienced players are going to learn what they have to work on to become more complete and mentally tough players. It’s far from over though. We are one hot night away from being back in the drivers seat.

  35. This is what some of us meant a few months back when we were musing and back-and-forthing on the difference between planning to play a team and just kind of playing them in the midst of the endless regular season. Sure there’s scouting, and yeah you make tiny tweaks when you go to NYC from Boston on the next leg of your road trip, but there’s a massive difference between that and planning to play huge games against a single team for the next two weeks, and really truly targeting their best players and the things they do well, with seasons on the line.

    Unlike the regular season games, the Hawks prepared to play these games. The defense they’ve unleashed is completely different than the one they used in Knick games in the regular season. Julius looked flummoxed by roaming Capela and the three-men deployed at or near his comfort spots from the very first time he saw it Sunday night and he’s still looking flummoxed at game’s end last night. The Knicks show no evidence of this preparation and little evidence of strategic countering of the new stuff they’ve seen from the Hawks. It’s very, very fair to wonder whether the Knick coaching staff matched the planning and preparation of the Hawks staff. Very fair.

  36. I think that Randle’s and RJ’s problem is Capella more than anything. The focus would be to take him out of the game but doing nothing but bodying him up the instant he gets into the post – big time. I might (shocking) start Pelle and just have him put himself into a post pick position, preventing Capella from moving to his defensive spots. Pelle is “fouls to give”. I know, it’s a wacky approach, but the fact is that Capella owns that baseline and Pelle’s got the body to body Capella up.

  37. I’ve been saying this all series… start burks! He’s takes so much pressure off randle and rj with his shooting. Rose is ideal at6th man

  38. Even though there are games when we pile up assists, for the most part we are not a great offensive team. Randle’s assists are mostly of the garden variety kick out of doubles after pounging it inside, nothing aesthetic at all about it. Rose has never been a high assist guy. Nobody else on the team has elite court vision or ball skills. We almost have to run a very vanilla offense…that makes us very susceptible to even simple defensive adjustments.

    And let’s face it, while RJ and Randle have both shot extremely well from 3 this year, it’s still not something you want to hang your hat on. For example, Trae Young shot 34% from 3 this year, but who would you rather have shooting an open 3 with the game on the line, Trae or Randle/RJ?

  39. I think both Z-Man and Hubert are right, actually.

    I think a lot of what Z-Man is saying is right, too. I just think it’s right because we’re deploying poor strategies and tactics.

    We need 5 offensive threats on the floor. Period. If that means we’re vulnerable to Capela lobs, so be it. Stay home on the shooters and make Clint Capela beat us. If he can win a 7 game series with dunks, god bless him. I highly doubt that he can.

  40. E, all merc’d out: It’s very, very fair to wonder whether the Knick coaching staff matched the planning and preparation of the Hawks staff. Very fair.

    Sure, it’s fair to wonder, but it’s just as fair to say that Thibs prepared his ass off and the team just got outplayed by better players. It’s also fair to say that Nate is underrated here as a coach, and it’s fair to say that very few coaches would have the Knicks one possession away from a 2-1 lead in this series. It’s also fair to say that very few coaches would have this team in the playoffs to begin with.

  41. Hubert: I think a lot of what Z-Man is saying is right, too. I just think it’s right because we’re deploying poor strategies and tactics.

    We need 5 offensive threats on the floor. Period. If that means we’re vulnerable to Capela lobs, so be it. Stay home on the shooters and make Clint Capela beat us. If he can win a 7 game series with dunks, god bless him. I highly doubt that he can.

    What makes you think that if we play 5 offensive players that the only possible pitfall is Capela dunks? Do you really think that we can out-offense the Hawks? Seems to me that we’d be playing right into their hands…

  42. Z-man: Sure, it’s fair to wonder, but it’s just as fair to say that Thibs prepared his ass off and the team just got outplayed by better players. It’s also fair to say that Nate is underrated here as a coach, and it’s fair to say that very few coaches would have the Knicks one possession away from a 2-1 lead in this series. It’s also fair to say that very few coaches would have this team in the playoffs to begin with.

    If the Hawks have clearly “better players,” then why did the Knicks go 3-0 against them in the regular season. And how did Julius Randle go from dominating them completely to the worst 3-game playoff shooting percentage in the shot clock era?

    I’m going to let this play out before any final conclusions. But right now, the narrative is very heavily leaning toward “regular season mirage.” (And if we get to that point conclusively, the reason it would be a regular season mirage is all the things we’ve already discussed around here. But we’re not there yet. Trending that way, though.)

    And if we get there — again if — we will have to face the question square on again if “regular season mirage” was really the best thing for the medium and long term future of the franchise. But I will repeat the “if” here.

  43. Do you really think that we can out-offense the Hawks?

    I don’t think we can beat them with better execution or by just making more shots. My suggested adjustments may be extreme, but that’s bc I’m a poster in the comments section of a knicks blog. I’d be a terrible basketball coach. The Knicks don’t necessarily need to make the adjustments I’m suggesting, but they need to make some! I think our coaching staff is being thoroughly outclassed by its counterpart. I want to see the same creativity and adjustments from Thibs that I’m seeing from Nate. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

  44. When adversity hit, Thibs leaned harder into elbow grease and his old Bulls warhorses. Might work, might not — but that’s what he did. I’m completely stunned he went away from blitzing Trae after Game 2 second half.

  45. E, all merc’d out: If the Hawks have clearly “better players,” then why did the Knicks go 3-0 against them in the regular season.

    The answer to that is so simple that it doesn’t merit a rebuttal.

    E, all merc’d out: I’m going to let this play out before any final conclusions. But right now, the narrative is very heavily weighted toward “regular season mirage.”

    We are in agreement here. I have already said that one of the pitfalls of a team being coached all season like very game is Game 7 of the finals is that they don’t have another level to go to. It has also been said ad nauseum that we benefitted significantly from scheduling luck over the course of the season, which is why we wound up with the 4 seed rather than a sure sweep vs. any of the top 3 teams, if we even survived a play-in scenario. That’s why the term “house money” applies. Having higher expectations than that is, well, I’ll be nice and call it unrealistic. Having higher hopes is far more realistic, that’s what being a fan is all about.

    My feeling has been that winning a 7-game series against any of the teams in the EC playoffs except maybe a terribly flawed WAS or injury-riddled BOS would be a tall order. Do you think we’d be doing any better against Miami? Do you think that we’d be beating the Hawks if Nate and Thibs switched teams? Or if, say, Steve Kerr were coaching this bunch? I highly doubt it.

  46. Hubert: I think our coaching staff is being thoroughly outclassed by its counterpart.

    It’s weird that you are saying that, given that one team has vastly exceeded all expectations and the other has underachieved all year, and given that you yourself recently made a point of saying how great of a coach Thibs was and iirc (may not have been you but certainly others) how lousy of a playoff coach Nate was. Do you really think that Thibs just got stupid all of a sudden?

  47. E, all merc’d out:
    When adversity hit, Thibs leaned harder into elbow grease and his old Bulls warhorses.Might work, might not — but that’s what he did.I’m completely stunned he went away from blitzing Trae after Game 2 second half.

    Blitzing Trae worked because Bogdo, Gallo and Huerter missed open 3 after open 3. Did you really not see that?

  48. Thibs’s stuff is made to outperform baseline expectations in the regular season. It then reverts to form or even below-form in the playoffs. That’s his clearly-established history and we’re seeing it play out in front of our faces and we’re seeing why it’s that way playing out in front of our faces.

    Nate’s playoff history is meh. But he’s clearly outcoaching Thibs in this series. No question about it. He’s negated Randle completely and Thibs has had no answer. At all.

  49. If anyone needs a pick-me-up, check out the emerging consensus on r/Mavericks regarding a certain former Knick. That dude has been completely useless for them.

  50. In this swirling of analysis, with many of whose I agree with,
    I’m still amazed that yesterday we weren’t able to mount anything resembling a reaction, a fake comeback, a “let them shit the pants” moment.

    We were down by double-digit all the second half, totally unable to do anything to scare them just a little bit, instead allowing them and their fans to build confidence with every minute.

    The exact opposite of what happened in the first two games where, except for the last minutes of game 2, both teams were always able to go on a run and close the gap.

    Yesterday, except for Rose, it was like we raised the white flag after three quarters, despite Thibs keeping the starters in until the end.

    I think that Rose summed it up when he said something like “we didn’t feel the urgency”.

    It has been very unusual.

  51. Not everything has to be so absolute, Z-Man. You can be a great coach and coach a bad series. You can be an average coach and coach a great series.

    I thought we had a huge coaching advantage heading into the series. But Nate has brought it.

  52. If anyone needs a pick-me-up, check out the emerging consensus on r/Mavericks regarding a certain former Knick. That dude has been completely useless for them.

    But LA has focused their whole defense on stopping him. That’s why Luka went off, right? because they were focused on KP.

  53. Hubert: I don’t think we can beat them with better execution or by just making more shots. My suggested adjustments may be extreme, but that’s bc I’m a poster in the comments section of a knicks blog. I’d be a terrible basketball coach. The Knicks don’t necessarily need to make the adjustments I’m suggesting, but they need to make some! I think our coaching staff is being thoroughly outclassed by its counterpart. I want to see the same creativity and adjustments from Thibs that I’m seeing from Nate. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

    Perhaps the reason you’re not seeing the creative adjustments you’re asking b/c the team doesn’t have the personnel to execute it at this level. This has become a shooter’s league, and the Hawks have more talented shooters and a premiere offensive PG. I mean geezes, you’ve seen Bog’s release on his 3s??? Damn-near Curry-esque with how fast he let’s it fly, and that’s with decent contesting.

    You mentioned staying at home on the perimeter and just give Capella his lobs. I get it: giving up 2 is better than giving up 3. But no team is going to willingly allow another team to run amuck in the paint, especially when facing a PG that can penetrate and break defenders down off the dribble. Players are gonna do what they’ve been trained for eons to do – help in the paint. And that opens up the defense to be tilted – kick the ball out the the perimeter, make an extra pass or two, and you got an open 3.

    In no way is this series not winnable for us. But we need to give the Hawks more credit than we want to.

  54. E,

    It’s not that the Knicks aren’t being prepared as well or adjusting in the playoffs. It’s that they get playoff level preparation in the regular season. In the playoffs they are facing equal preparation. Guys like RJ, Randle etc are having their strengths limited or taken away. They are being exposed as 2nd and 3rd options that can be slowed down because there are things they can’t do well. That’s the difference between a legit #1 and a guy that can score in the regular season. In the playoffs there are no easy games and the best teams are trying to take away your strengths .

  55. there is enough blame to go around…coaching/players, etc…bottom line…thibs can’t shoot the ball for rj/randle…any semblance of medicority from those two instead of crap and we could be up 2-1 against a team that is very much our equal if you honestly assess the rosters.

    As Strat, er…Deefense noted above…this is a good learning experience and also Alan said above…very good (to the extent Leon and Co still had the rose colored glasses on) eye opener to the brain trust that there are obvious deficiencies on the roster…

    let’s see if they come out and impose their will on Sunday and can take back homecourt…they just need to win one in Atlanta..I don’t think we lose to this team in the Garden in a game seven…

    I do think Thibs by being stubborn on payton did fuck things up…by switching it now…there is some adjustment needed…we could have gotten that out of the way in the last half dozen regular season games…to do it game 3 of the first round was not ideal…that is on him..

  56. E, all merc’d out:
    Thibs’s stuff is made to outperform baseline expectations in the regular season.It then reverts to form or even below-form in the playoffs.That’s his clearly-established history and we’re seeing it play out in front of our faces and we’re seeing why it’s that way playing out in front of our faces.

    Nate’s playoff history is meh.But he’s clearly outcoaching Thibs in this series.No question about it.He’s negated Randle completely and Thibs has had no answer.At all.

    So you watched all his Bulls teams in the playoffs??

    Was it his fault that LeBron decided to D-up Rose who was by far their best offensive player? Whereas LeBron had what was (at the time) his equivalent in Wade?

  57. Deeefense:
    E,

    It’s not that the Knicks aren’t being prepared as well or adjusting in the playoffs. It’s that they get playoff level preparation in the regular season.In the playoffs they are facing equal preparation. Guys like RJ, Randle etc are having their strengths limited or taken away. They are being exposed as 2nd and 3rd options that can be slowed down because there are things they can’t do well.That’s the difference between a legit #1 and a guy that can score in the regular season.In the playoffs there are no easy games and the best teams are trying to take away your strengths .

    +1000.

    I take heed in that there’s a great deal of internal improvement possible this summer, and these playoffs will motivate our guys to bust their asses in the gym.

  58. Max:
    In this swirling of analysis, with many of whose I agree with,
    I’m still amazed that yesterday we weren’t able to mount anything resembling a reaction, a fake comeback, a “let them shit the pants” moment.

    We were down by double-digit all the second half, totally unable to do anything to scare them just a little bit, instead allowing them and their fans to build confidence with every minute.

    The exact opposite of what happened in the first two games where, except for the last minutes of game 2, both teams were always able to go on a run and close the gap.
    Yesterday, except for Rose, it was like we raised the white flag after three quarters, despite Thibs keeping the starters in until the end.

    I think that Rose summed it up when he said something like “we didn’t feel the urgency”.

    It has been very unusual.

    This is the main thing that worried me. We just gave the Hawks an entire half of gaining confidence.

    All season long we’ve been calling it out: What are the three (2? 1?) plays the Knicks go to for a bread and butter easy basket. The Hawks have taken away Randle, and our guys are not hitting a “crazy” percentage of threes anymore. So it’s on Thibs to find at least ONE weakness we can try to exploit consistently. Even if we don’t score on it every time, there has to be a plan. I don’t see the plan.

  59. it’s kind of late in the game to be changing the offense…. we leaned into the iso randle and these no-pass drives into the paint from our pg’s all season… it’s just randle hit a lot of those difficult shots and against some teams that was enough… we were still 23rd in the league in offense despite great 3pt shooting and randle hitting all these fadeaways or pull up midrange shots near the elbow.. this was a never a good offense … and it’s a terrible offense when those difficult shots stop falling…

    part of why atlanta got real good under mcmillan was their defense.. mcmillan is known to be a defensive coach… and they improved their drtg to 111.3 good for 12th in the league since he took over… up until that point they were 23rd (112.9)… so even tho they were in aggregate a bad defensive team they’re actually not terrible on that end and we’re making their job easier with a very rudimentary offense…

    we’re still defending well despite what happened last night… we ARE slowing down this hawks offense (105.9 Drtg).. it’s just we are playing godawful offense… that is probably not going to change but the good news is that it might not need to be THAT much better… we’re defending well enough that we can still win with a terrible offense like we did in game 2…. we just need a couple people to step up instead of only one (burks game 1 and rose game 3)….

  60. Deeefense:
    E,

    It’s not that the Knicks aren’t being prepared as well or adjusting in the playoffs. It’s that they get playoff level preparation in the regular season.In the playoffs they are facing equal preparation. Guys like RJ, Randle etc are having their strengths limited or taken away. They are being exposed as 2nd and 3rd options that can be slowed down because there are things they can’t do well.That’s the difference between a legit #1 and a guy that can score in the regular season.In the playoffs there are no easy games and the best teams are trying to take away your strengths .

    I don’t think we’re saying anything different and moreover we talked about this kind of thing on the board all regular season. Julius’s true place in the basketball cosmos was chewed over day after day after day.

  61. Atlanta has more talent and firepower than us.
    No secret here
    2 months ago we were 50-50 to collapse or thrive.

    Extending their pressing D outside the 3p line took away our open 3s that had been our latest big weapon.
    Our pnr and midrange shooting are non existent so offensively we had to pick among hero iso against set D and contested 3s with the results that we all saw in the last two games.

    Thibs should continue keeping away Capela off our paint but also extend our 3p D like Atlanta’s while also try to slow down Trae.

    Easier said than done but the truth is that Atlanta may was the easiest opponent for us on paper in the first round but that doesn’t mean that they’re easy to beat.
    Despite “having” the homecourt advantage we always were the underdog of this series…and now its absolutely clear.

  62. pepper:
    elf’s momma was rubbing Thibs’ nose in it on twitter
    https://twitter.com/danniep19/status/1398434792501354498?s=21

    some of the replies are hilarious

    It is indeed funny. And I understand that any mom is gonna back their son especially if he’s been heavily criticized. But even if her comment was directed at said critics, it’s not a good look for her.

    Thibs & Co found that, for this iteration of the Knicks, putting the ball in Randle’s hands was their best way to build their offensive system (as limited as it may be). So it’s possible that shift in strategy negates Elf’s skillset (as limited as that may be). Now you can say, “well, he only got a 1-year stop-gap deal” – I’m sure Payton thought it was his chance to parlay the season into an opportunity for a larger/longer deal for another team and now that’s in jeopardy.

    It’s crystal clear he no longer has a place on the team going forward. And maybe not a place within the league much longer. I’m sure his mother shares his frustration. But again, taking to Twitter the way she did was not the move.

  63. It’s not that the Knicks aren’t being prepared as well or adjusting in the playoffs. It’s that they get playoff level preparation in the regular season.In the playoffs they are facing equal preparation. Guys like RJ, Randle etc are having their strengths limited or taken away. They are being exposed as 2nd and 3rd options that can be slowed down because there are things they can’t do well.That’s the difference between a legit #1 and a guy that can score in the regular season.In the playoffs there are no easy games and the best teams are trying to take away your strengths .

    how convenient that what’s happening just happens to fit your narrative.

    The same people who thought we would win this series are suddenly acting like this is some insurmountable challenge that we didn’t have the personnel to handle. Come on.

    We are consistently putting Randle in a terrible position to succeed against this defense. We made him play with Payton FFS!!! At a bare minimum, he needs IQ on the court with him to relieve some pressure. The personnel is there, it’s just not being used.

    If, after adding new wrinkles to combat Atlanta’s defense, he still fails, I will concede your point. Until that happens, his coaching staff is letting him down.

  64. djphan: we’re defending well enough that we can still win with a terrible offense like we did in game 2…. we just need a couple people to step up instead of only one (burks game 1 and rose game 3)….

    Because of exactly this, it might be better now to get Reggie or Burks going early on instead of Randle (which I know is the opposite of what I’ve been begging for three games).

    Maybe Randle is just too skittish for the spotlight (at the moment), so we should find our “other” hot hand earlier in the game, before the whole team is depressed and hanging their heads after endless bricks from Julius and RJ.

    Luckily, it seems like DRose is gonna bring 20 every night.

  65. This was a tough L, so we’re all mad, and rightfully so. But i’m waiting for next game to draw conclusions, because until now, they surprised us in game 1, we adjusted in game 2 and got the W, they adjusted in game 3 and did the same, better wait for game 4 to check if we can adjust again and steal one game in Atlanta.
    It’s Thibs turn now, let’s see what he can do.

  66. we’ve also taken the ball away from RJ a good deal and you would think his minutes would be taken by burks given their offensive usage but even burks isn’t playing that much (26mpg)… RJ is only avg’ing 28.6mpg and it’s unclear where those minutes are being soaked up now….

    i know RJ is young and he hasn’t played a great series either… but there were plenty of games where he was quiet for most of the game and he winds up figuring it out late.. if your’e going to ride or die with randle it would seem that you would either do the same with RJ or sit him in favor of your bench scorer (burks).. but for whatever reason neither is happening… and that’s part of the reason why our offense is suffering where we are trying to have other people do slightly more than they’re used to….

    there were multiple times where obi, bullock and even noel were trying to drive the paint from the top of the key and that almost never happened with obi and NEVER happened with bullock or noel… yet it’s happening with some regularity this series… we are all out of sorts on offense and they should probably let RJ go through his growing pains because it’s putting other people in positions they’re really not good at…

  67. Even if we lose in 5, i’m happy with this season, the regular season was pure fun, and although the playoffs have been painful in the long run it can be for the best (the reality check can lead Julius and RJ to take another step on their development, this way maybe Randle signs the extension, and serves as a reminder for Leon that the team is not “one player away” from being good). For this i’m grateful we got the 4th place and are playing the Hawks, because if we were 6th or worst we’d be playing a Top3 team and our struggles might have been easily dismissed because of the talent gap.

  68. The floor is still too clogged even with D-Rose replacing Elf. It’s just really hard to function in the modern game when your 5 can’t shoot from the outside, much less from downtown.

  69. Knicks players during the games of reg season hadn’t faced much physical D from the opponents and could pass the ball or dribble much more easier than now in the playoffs.
    Atlanta’s pressing D on the last two games seem to fuk our player’s cool routine and only Playoff Vets adjusted somehow easier and showed like expecting something like that.
    Playoffs require intense mindset to success.
    Cool don’t work this time of the year.

  70. Imagine what the game would have been like had the Knicks not scored 6 points in 1.1 seconds at the end of the first quarter!

  71. E, all merc’d out:
    The floor is still too clogged even with D-Rose replacing Elf. It’s just really hard to function in the modern game when your 5 can’t shoot from the outside, much less from downtown.

    last time I looked the top teams (see lakers, jazz, phx) in the west (even Atlanta has capella who can’t shoot) have numero 5’s who can’t shoot from more than 10 feet from the hoop…doesn’t seem to hamper them much…

  72. As for whether Thibs’ regular season coaching style gets exposed in the playoffs, I was admittedly concerned before the season about the fact that this team was clearly going to go hard for the playoffs, even if it meant just barely making the play-in team as an overachieving shitty 10th seed when they would be better off, you know, not doing that, but that style got them the #4 freakin’ seed in the playoffs! How can you begrudge Thibs dragging this collection of misfit toys to home court in the first round? And heck, they could still even make the second round! They’re only down a single game! The key, of course, comes down to whether Leon Rose thinks that the team overachieved because of Thibs or whether it legitimately is a top four team in the Eastern Conference. I think Rose is smart enough to lean towards the former, so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the Knicks’ current situation if Rose then just gives Thibs an even better squad to overachieve with in the future.

  73. E, all merc’d out:
    The floor is still too clogged even with D-Rose replacing Elf. It’s just really hard to function in the modern game when your 5 can’t shoot from the outside, much less from downtown.

    Yeah, I wish we had a stretch-5 like Capela…

  74. Brian Cronin:
    As for whether Thibs’ regular season coaching style gets exposed in the playoffs, I was admittedly concerned before the season about the fact that this team was clearly going to go hard for the playoffs, even if it meant just barely making the play-in team as an overachieving shitty 10th seed when they would be better off, you know, not doing that, but that style got them the #4 freakin’ seed in the playoffs! How can you begrudge Thibs dragging this collection of misfit toys to home court in the first round? And heck, they could still even make the second round! They’re only down a single game! The key, of course, comes down to whether Leon Rose thinks that the team overachieved because of Thibs or whether it legitimately is a top four team in the Eastern Conference. I think Rose is smart enough to lean towards the former, so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the Knicks’ current situation if Rose then just gives Thibs an even better squad to overachieve with in the future.

    Exactly my sentiments…

  75. We should start Frank and leave DRose in his role of coming off of the bench.

  76. I don’t begrudge Thibs at all.

    Why is it Randle is playing like shit and we can talk about it but when Thibs is coaching like shit we have to be quiet? We wouldn’t be here without Randle, either!

  77. Begley:

    A few names to keep an eye on for the second-round pick: Matt Mitchell (San Diego State), Quinton Grimes (Houston), Neemias Queta (Utah State), Isaiah Livers (Michigan).

  78. Frank just like Bogdo has experience of big games with France. Same w Vildoza and Argentina.
    I could easily see both play a nice part in this series despite it seems hard to impossible.

  79. I have suddenly become super engrossed in Building Off the Grid, it’s on discovery I think…

    now that life has slowed a bit, and there’s more time to get out of the present and visit the future, starting to game plan how I can get some more outdoor free space close outside the door…my town is adding a bunch more housing, decent communities, just a lot more people…we’re also getting a modern brewery and bar scene close to downtown…

  80. I have no issues with anything Thibs has done so far. He has made the adjustments to the rotation, he has put the team in position to win, he can’t go on the court and make these fools hit open 3s or play for Randle. Yes maybe there are coaching adjustments that could help here and there, but these losses have been on our best players playing like crap, no amount of coaching could solve that.

  81. Someone mentioned that we need to find a gym and just practice our shooting. I think they might be right. Even Burks was off yesterday.

  82. Hubert:
    I don’t begrudge Thibs at all.

    Why is it Randle is playing like shit and we can talk about it but when Thibs is coaching like shit we have to be quiet? We wouldn’t be here without Randle, either!

    Come on, Hubert, stop whining. Who is saying anybody can’t talk about anything? You are totally free to feel that Thibs being outcoached is the main reason we lost game 3 and to express that opinion. In my case, I just disagree with most of the evidence you are presenting to back that claim. I firmly believe that Atlanta has the better team right now, and said as much going into the series. I was in the 100’s for the last regular season game and had a great view of them kicking our ass in much of the same manner they did yesterday before Trae went down…and it still took OT to beat them, and that was without Gallo or Hunter. Am I alone in holding that opinion, or is it pretty widely held?

    And they should be better, given that they drafted better and are a year or two further along in their rebuild than we are. They have Bogdan, Gallo and Capela lockerd up on long-term deals and will certainly max Trae at the first opportunity. I don’t think there is a huge gap, but it’s enough to overcome any gap in coaching ability between Nate (who I think is pretty good) and Thibs. I sure hope we win, but if we don’t, I’m just not going to hang it on the coach given the difference in talent as I see it.

  83. DudesTown:
    Someone mentioned that we need to find a gym and just practice our shooting. I think they might be right. Even Burks was off yesterday.

    A cousin from Toronto sent me this about Kyle Lowery shooting at 1am, saying Julius is at that same point right now.

  84. Why is it Randle is playing like shit and we can talk about it but when Thibs is coaching like shit we have to be quiet? We wouldn’t be here without Randle, either!

    I don’t think Thibs has coached poorly. I think we’re just seeing the effects of the Knicks playing each game like it is the playoffs while their playoff opponents wait until the playoffs to play like the playoffs. That was always likely to be a problem for the Knicks in the playoffs (and it’s not like it’s not something we’ve been discussing all year long), but that’s not a knock on Thibs. If it were, like, him getting the Knicks from 21 wins to 25 wins by treating every game like it was Game 7, then yeah, that would suck. That was what I was afraid of coming into the season. Instead, Thibs won 41 games , way more than we expected and got them all the way to the #4 seed. That it is now falling apart a bit is just the downside of this approach, but it pales compared to the upside. And that’s assuming the Knicks don’t still win this series, which they very much could still do!

    The overarching fear is just that the Knicks would fall too much in love with this specific roster based on Thibs overachieving with them and locking themselves into some of these guys at the peak of their value and I don’t think that’s going to happen now, which is good.

  85. There is way too much over complicating matters, right now the only difference in this series is Randle and RJ are shooting like shit. Period. The Knicks defense has actually been very good, the Hawks offense has been much worse than their regular season numbers. But the Knicks are shooting horrible and while of course they have had a bunch of ugly possessions they have also missed a ton of wide open 3pters and then are passing up those same shots which is really screwing up the offense. Thibs says it all the time, even if you are missing open shots you have to keep taking those same shots.

    I just dont want the Knicks to lose this series in 5 games, it would be a shame for the season to end on such a down note in the playoffs. I doubt that will happen though, this team all season long has bounced back and at the very least they will force a Game 6.

  86. Living in Miami this is the first time since 2000 I’m happy that I’m a Knicks fan and not a Heat fan!

  87. The Bucks were right in wanting the Heat,
    they beat them like a pulp, winning the last three games by a combined 80 points.

    As I wrote before, Middleton slayed the dragon in Game-1, the rest of the series has been a joke.

    Sometimes even geniuses like Riley and Spoelstra get some good ass kicking.

    And now, Dame vs The Joker Round 4…

  88. Max:
    The Bucks were right in wanting the Heat,
    they beat them like a pulp, winning the last three games by a combined 80 points.

    As I wrote before, Middleton slayed the dragon in Game-1, the rest of the series has been a joke.

    Sometimes even geniuses like Riley and Spoelstra get some good ass kicking.

    I don’t know how to do a quick search on it…but how many times has a team been in the finals and then the next year gets swept out in round 1?

  89. Thibs won 41 games

    Exactly.

    Not Randle, not Rose, not Bullock Burks Quickley Noel and Barrett. Thibs “dragged this roster to 41 wins,” as the narrative goes.

    And now that we’re losing, it’s all the players. “Thibs can’t shoot threes for Randle,” you say.

    This narrative is insane. I wish Jowles still posted, bc I know he’s laughing at this bullshit.

    People know what’s going on here, right?

  90. BigBlueAL: Living in Miami this is the first time since 2000 I’m happy that I’m a Knicks fan and not a Heat fan!

    And if they fail next year, maybe Jimmy opts out and comes here to reunite with Thibs, DRose and Taj one last time. :)

  91. Butler had a Randle-like serie shooting 19-64 in the four games (including 4-22 in Game-1 OT loss).

  92. pepper: I don’t know how to do a quick search on it…but how many times has a team been in the finals and then the next year gets swept out in round 1?

    Miami did it in 2007…
    Don’t think I’m crazy, the italian broadcasters told it :-)

  93. Max: Miami did it in 2007…
    Don’t think I’m crazy, the italian broadcasters told it :-)

    What pepper meant was if any team outside of Miami had done it before. LOL

  94. Max:
    Butler had a Randle-like serie shooting 19-64 in the four games (including 4-22 in Game-1 OT loss).

    Blame Erik Spoelstra.

  95. Crediting or blaming a coach and his players ain’t always easy to tell.
    Usually it has to do with the exceptions and the averages.
    When a successful trainer gets a bunch of stray dogs and makes them play Symphonic music he usually gets credited.
    When 2 well trained dogs shit on your bed cause you left them alone in the house for a few hours they usually take the blame.

  96. cybersoze: What pepper meant was if any team outside of Miami had done it before. LOL

    actually i didn’t know about Miami in 2007 but they were the champs the year before…and the last time that happened was in 1957… i was curious if a team had even just been in the finals the year before (whether won or lost) and then got swept in the first round..

  97. Hubert: This narrative is insane. I wish Jowles still posted, bc I know he’s laughing at this bullshit.

    People know what’s going on here, right?

    lol so predictable that you went right to your favorite n word…humor me, what’s going on here? Or do you actually think it makes you sound clever when you talk in riddles?

  98. Blame Erik Spoelstra

    that would be as stupid as claiming Erik Spoelstra dragged his team to the NBA Finals last year.

    Y’all know that outside this bubble Thibs is getting nationally lambasted, right?

  99. Hubert: Y’all know that outside this bubble Thibs is getting nationally lambasted, right?

    Can you cite some credible examples?

  100. lol hubert what are you on about. I watch espn stuff on youtube and browse r/nba and most of the blame is on Randle. “Nationally lambasted” is a comic exaggeration.

  101. Yeah, “Thibs wins games, players lose games” probably needs a bit of a persuasion boost.

  102. Without Thibs right now we would all check out ncaa highlights, instagram and Facebook accounts from future draft picks and djphan would work doubleshifts for his draftboard instead of waiting to enjoy tomorrow’s huge game!
    ;-p
    Thibs for the Win!

  103. Z-man: Can you cite some credible examples?

    I don’t know about nationally, but the NYC media is lambasting him and rightly so. He’s getting badly outcoached.

  104. I will admit my twitter feed may not be a certifiable source. But the world does not see Thibs as the Christ Figure some of y’all do.

  105. Every national broadcaster on TV has said before the series even started that the Hawks were the much more talented team and all of the credit to the Knicks success has been given to Thibs and Randle in that order. Most people outside of NY thinks everyone on the Knicks roster sucks besides Randle and Rose. Outside of a few posters on this site Thibs will get 0% of the blame if the Knicks lose to the Hawks

  106. It’s hilarious that for the past 2 months the Thibs haters here were dead silent and even pretending like they never hated Thibs but now the Knicks are down 2-1 to the Hawks and here comes the Thibs hate again.

  107. “pepper
    May 29, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    I don’t know how to do a quick search on it…but how many times has a team been in the finals and then the next year gets swept out in round 1?”

    *

    The last NBA finals runner-up to win a playoff game the next year was the 2017 Cavaliers.

  108. BigBlueAL:
    It’s hilarious that for the past 2 months the Thibs haters here were dead silent and even pretending like they never hated Thibs but now the Knicks are down 2-1 to the Hawks and here comes the Thibs hate again.

    Yes it is. E’s exile was particularly cute.

  109. Thibs is deserving of criticism for certain things, but his best player having a .366 TS% and -5.5 BPM through three games against a pisspoor defense? Not one of them.

  110. Randle and Barrett should study Lillard’s game today to figure out the secret to shooting 1-10 and still being a plus 36.

  111. Even the fact that yesterday despite shooting poorly we never lost our composure by committing foolish fouls out of frustration or by getting technicals for nothing shows how well coached this team is.
    Sometimes you just can’t win more talented teams. You just can’t.
    But you have to give yourself a chance.
    Don’t give up and blame the refs.

  112. For you pepper, since 1970 here are the teams that went to the NBA Finals the year before and then didn’t win a single playoff game:
    70 Celtics* DNQ
    75 Bucks DNQ
    77 Suns DNQ
    80 Bullets Swept (best of 3)
    99 Bulls* DNQ
    05 Lakers DNQ
    07 Heat* Swept (best of 7)
    12 Mavericks* Swept (best of 7)
    15 Heat DNQ
    19 Cavaliers DNQ
    20 Warriors DNQ
    * – NBA Champions

  113. Donnie Walsh: Randle and Barrett should study Lillard’s game today to figure out the secret to shooting 1-10 and still being a plus 36.

    He has an assist to turnover ratio of 10. Kind of good, right?

  114. Thibs went with Payton far too long, got criticized for it and rightfully so. Beyond that, haven’t seen too much. I definitely have seen lots of criticism of Randle, and less but some of RJ. And whose idea was it to bring Rose and Taj here? How did Hubert and E feel about those moves> How has that worked out?

    It’s also really petty and childish to say shit like “the world does not see Thibs as the Christ Figure some of y’all do.” Nobody here, as in zero people, see Thibs as anything beyond an excellent coach, which he is. He has plenty of flaws, as all excellent coaches do. Even your “I wish Jowles still posted, bc I know he’s laughing at this bullshit” comment backfired.

  115. With a 20 pt differential and 4 mins to go, both teams (POR and DEN) sat the starters… what is this madness? :D

  116. Seth Partnow at the Athletic says last night’s game came down to shotmaking, more or less:

    There is an adage that no team is as good as they look when they’re making jump shots and no team is as bad as they look when they aren’t. To a large extent, Game 3 of the Hawks-Knicks series bore that out with the Hawks having their best shooting game of the postseason and the Knicks their worst, even with overall shot quality relatively even. Now to some degree, this is a function of talent as Atlanta simply has more shooters and offensive playmakers than do the Knicks.
    But the Knicks offense has stayed afloat all year due to their ability to make tough jumpers, especially from Julius Randle. As noted in the last post, the MIP winner has had a tough go of it in this series, and in fact has had the second-largest shotmaking decline of any player this postseason. With New York at times struggling to generate good looks, they;re going to need that trend to reverse if they expect to get back in this series.

  117. If Thibs can “win games,” then logically he can “lose games” and we can’t falsify the proposition that he won games unless he can also lose them.

    And with that, I’m going to await tomorrow’s data point before further commenting on the meaning or ramifications or blame of/for any of this. I’m rooting for Thibs to coach extremely well and the Knicks to play extremely well. Hopefully that will happen.

  118. E, all merc’d out:
    If Thibs can “win games,” then logically he can “lose games” and we can’t falsify the proposition that he won games unless he can also lose them.

    And with that, I’m going to await tomorrow’s data point before further commenting on the meaning or ramifications or blame of/for any of this.I’m rooting for Thibs to coach extremely well and the Knicks to play extremely well.Hopefully that will happen.

    No one is saying Thibs “wins games.” Some, like me, are saying that Thibs puts his players in a better position to win games than many other coaches, which even Hubert agrees with when challenged. And almost everyone who knows their asses from their elbows agrees that Thibs did a great job in getting 41 wins out of this roster. It’s incredibly intellectually dishonest to twist what’s being said into this “Thibs wins games, the players lose games” bullshit. Everyone knows that the NBA is a player’s league. Players ALWAYS deserve the lion’s share of credit for winning and blame for losing per se. But to the degree that coaching matters, Thibs has outperformed his peers by leaps and bounds in terms of what was possible with this roster, even with Randle’s and RJ’s development, etc.

  119. Doug Chu:
    Seth Partnow at the Athletic says last night’s game came down to shotmaking, more or less:
    There is an adage that no team is as good as they look when they’re making jump shots and no team is as bad as they look when they aren’t. To a large extent, Game 3 of the Hawks-Knicks series bore that out with the Hawks having their best shooting game of the postseason and the Knicks their worst, even with overall shot quality relatively even. Now to some degree, this is a function of talent as Atlanta simply has more shooters and offensive playmakers than do the Knicks.
    But the Knicks offense has stayed afloat all year due to their ability to make tough jumpers, especially from Julius Randle. As noted in the last post, the MIP winner has had a tough go of it in this series, and in fact has had the second-largest shotmaking decline of any player this postseason. With New York at times struggling to generate good looks, they;re going to need that trend to reverse if they expect to get back in this series.

    I’d like to see the notable analyst who vehemently disagrees with this take and puts the blame on Thibs being outcoached by Nate.

  120. cybersoze:
    For you pepper, since 1970 here are the teams that went to the NBA Finals the year before and then didn’t win a single playoff game:
    70 Celtics*DNQ
    75 Bucks DNQ
    77 Suns DNQ
    80 BulletsSwept (best of 3)
    99 Bulls* DNQ
    05 LakersDNQ
    07 Heat* Swept (best of 7)
    12 Mavericks*Swept (best of 7)
    15 Heat DNQ
    19 Cavaliers DNQ
    20 WarriorsDNQ
    * – NBA Champions

    gracias…didn’t realize the list was so long…

  121. It’s hilarious that for the past 2 months the Thibs haters here were dead silent and even pretending like they never hated Thibs but now the Knicks are down 2-1 to the Hawks and here comes the Thibs hate again.

    why can’t thibs be criticized without being labeled as a hater? this isn’t hate…. thibs has had weaknesses throughout his career and offensive creativity is one of them… this season we were 23rd in the league on offense and in this series we’re playing a lot of iso ball.. many of whom should not even be dribbling the basketball…

    most of the critiques here stem from that…. and that is relatively tame and mostly deserved given the performance of our offense so far…. and he’s gotten much deserved credit throughout the year when things go well.. and so when it isn’t… he’s going to get scrutinized… that’s more than fair in this business…

  122. Thibs is deserving of criticism for certain things, but his best player having a .366 TS% and -5.5 BPM through three games against a pisspoor defense? Not one of them.

    the level of difficulty of those shots has always been high and it’s one of the reasons why we had a terrible offense… put another way… we are also stopping the much ballyhoo’ed hawks offense and performing much better than our top reg season defense did…. yet we’re still behind….

    we can’t even clear a really low bar…. and yes most of that blame lies with randle and the players… but the offense has been pretty predictable all year which has been a common refrain for thibs… so yea we should look at the coach also when we’re looking at our struggles on offense….

  123. ! The key, of course, comes down to whether Leon Rose thinks that the team overachieved because of Thibs or whether it legitimately is a top four team in the Eastern Conference.

    I don’t think this matters at all. Management will go into the off season thinking how can they get good value for their assets, what are the team’s weaknesses and how can they make the team better. So they will look at what the team could do and what it couldn’t do in the playoffs. Whether we are legitimately a top four team in the East or not doesn’t matter a bit to that thinking process.

  124. Here’s the thing about the Knicks apparently playing too much ISO ball, WTF else are they supposed to do? All the Hawks do is PnR us to death because they have Trae Young, the Knicks have nobody on the roster who can come close to replicating what he does. Doesn’t help that we don’t have Mitch either, his absence is not getting enough attention when it comes to the Knicks struggles against the Hawks.

    The Knicks during the regular season shot astonishing well from 3pt range mostly because they were very good at generating corner 3pters which is something Thibs often mentions as one of their goals on offense. Yes the Knicks offense isn’t very good and that was the expectation going into the season due to the lack of talent. They have enough good shooters but most of them need help getting their shots which is why this team needs a huge upgrade at PG next season and we all know this.

    I seriously believe the people who bitch about the Knicks ISO offense don’t watch the rest of the NBA because it’s basically either ISO or PnR all game long. There is only so much you can do on offense to generate good shots against NBA level defenses.

  125. So they will look at what the team could do and what it couldn’t do in the playoffs. Whether we are legitimately a top four team in the East or not doesn’t matter a bit to that thinking process.

    Right, but if they were really one of the four best teams in the Conference, they’d be more likely to keep the team together. I don’t think they think that.

  126. I seriously believe the people who bitch about the Knicks ISO offense don’t watch the rest of the NBA because it’s basically either ISO or PnR all game long.

    ok so when was the last time we ran a pnr with randle?

  127. I don’t think anyone is saying that Thibs is above criticism per se. No coach is. He’s not an offensive mastermind, much in the same way that D’Antoni was not a defensive mastermind. But this team would never, ever have a top offense no matter who was coaching. They weren’t even supposed to have much of a defense. Randle, for one, had a lousy defensive reputation. But the offense has performed better than most expected, and the defense has been among the best in the league, despite playing 2 rookies and a 20yo major rotation minutes, not to mention Randle himself.

    And the team has played consistently hard in just about every game, with hardly any blowouts and lots of grind-it-out type wins. It takes a certain kind of coach to get everyone on the same page and to get them to believe that they can beat anyone.

    So sure, we can nitpick away at the things we’d like to see done differently, but that’s different than saying he’s getting outcoached by a guy who almost any impartial observer would say had the better personnel to work with, especially on offense. D’Antoni would have a field day coaching the Hawks, and would puke coaching the Knicks.

  128. I don’t think Thibs did anything wrong in Game 3. But sure, he does plenty of stuff I disagree with. I’ve pointed them out over the season. I don’t like how he keeps guys in during blowouts. I didn’t like him continuing to start Payton. I don’t like the way he yanked Obi and IQ’s playing time around. I didn’t like how little pick and roll they would run with Mitch during the season. But other than Payton (which he then fixed for Game 3), none of my issues with Thibs are ever about him doing the most to win any given game. He clearly does everything to win every single game. Once you hit the playoffs, that sort of approach hits limits, when the other teams start playing the game like that, as well, so the more talented team typically wins out.

  129. djphan: ok so when was the last time we ran a pnr with randle?

    This is why I mentioned Mitch’s absence because he is by far the most effective big on the Knicks in the PnR. The Knicks run alot of PnR but it’s always with the Center which leaves Randle and Obi when he is in the game as the stretch 4. It is frustrating at times especially when Obi is in the game but it has also lead to Randle getting a decent amount of 3pters too.

    I’ve read criticism about not having Randle at the 5 which is understandable to help unlock the offense a bit but it clearly will affect the defense. Virtually entire season the Knicks have played with a true Center on the floor at all times to pretty good success so abandoning that 3 games into the postseason seems a bit foolish. Similar to Woodson doing the opposite against the Pacers in 2013. Do what you do best and if it’s not enough then tip your cap to the other team.

    Funny part is while it does feel like the Knicks should be down 3-0 the fact is they’re only down 2-1 and really because of one bad luck deflection leading to a Bogdan 3pter late in Game 1 the Knicks should actually be up 2-1.

  130. Since this thread started with a rebuttal to my assertion that no change of scheme will help the Knicks if Randle continues to shoot 10% (he actually made some shots down the stretch to improve to 5/16), let me clear my throat:

    1. Putting Randle at the 5 would heighten (not decrease) the need for Randle to hit shots. If he is missing (or not taking) perimeter shots, Capela would ignore Randle on the perimeter in the same way he ignored Mitchell Robinson. The lane would be just as clogged.
    2. Having Trae’s man set screens is a great idea. I would not expect Trae to switch onto the ball handler. It would free the ball handler to get into open shots as his defender tried to navigate the pick.
    3. One way to punish Atl for Capela’s soft doubles would be to have the center set perimeter screens, like Tony Allen used to do when his defender would ignore him.
    4. The Knicks have generated a lot of open 3s that have not been made. 9/30 in Game 3 was not the product of all contested 3s.
    5. Notwithstanding #4, Huerter’s block of Rose’s 3 was important. The Knicks were hesitant to take 3s in rhythm.
    6. Thibs had the Knicks double Trae at mid court center twice in the 4Q. Both led to lob dunks. I think Thibs will have a more clever way to double Trae, if he does it again.
    7. This is what it feels like lose House Money back to the House.
    8. Win or lose, this season has been much better than I dreamed it could be.
    9. Randle has NOT cost himself any money, yet. Barring injury, the Knicks will offer him the maximum 4 year extension, which would add 4 years/ $114m to his $21.9 for next year. Randle likely would prefer a series of shorter extensions with a player option in the second year, which would allow him to get to 30% Max for 2023-24 and a 35% Max for 5 years in 2024-25. The short extensions would put Randle at risk of losing a lot of money. If 2019-20 Randle is his true level, he would be lucky to make $7M/yr in his next contract.

  131. Some more thoughts:
    1. I would put Randle/Obi at 4/5, but only when Atl plays Gallo at the 5.
    2. If Trae is defending Bullock/Burks in the corner, bring the ball to that side of the court and have Bullock/Burks set a cross screen for Randle coming to the ball side. If Capela is lodged in the dunker’s spot, have Noel/Gibson set a screen on Randle’s defender and Bullock/Burks screen Capela after he switches on to Randle.
    3. if Trae covers RJ in the corner, have RJ duck in for a quick post up.
    4. Playing a zone against Trae Young seems likely the wrong choice. He will still get into the lane, and Atlanta’s shooters will be open for 3. Plus, zone defenses are very vulnerable to offensive rebounds.
    5. I would look to counter Capela’s offensive rebounding by having Randle/Obi look to run. Obi has gotten some great looks filling the lane. Randle can do the same.
    6. Trae Young is too good to be contained by one strategy through the entire game. They have to mix coverage to take him by surprise.

  132. Question #1: are suits a thing of the pre-pandemic past for head coaches?

    Question #2: If so, is this a formal agreement, or is it just something that coaches are doing and hoping that nobody notices?

    Question #3: Which Bojdan Bogdanovic would you rather have on the Knicks? The Serbian one, or the Bosnian one?

    Question #4: Which one plays for the Jazz?

    Question #5: Is anyone disappointed that the much-hyped Kyle Anderson vs Joe Ingles head-to-head matchup has been a dud thus far?

  133. Question #2: which Bojdan Bogdanovic would you rather have on the Knicks? The Serbian one, or the Bosnian one?

    The Croatian one is named Bojan. The Serbian is named Bogdan. The Croatian one plays for the Jazz.

  134. Which one is better? (They have nearly identical names and nearly identical games per the eye test)

  135. The Hawks Bogdanovic is three years younger, so I’d definitely take him right now.

  136. Right, but if they were really one of the four best teams in the Conference, they’d be more likely to keep the team together. I don’t think they think that.

    So you think if we are one the four best teams management won’t try and make the team better?

  137. So you think if we are one the four best teams management won’t try and make the team better?

    If they think they’re one of the four best teams in the conference, then they’d want to bring their free agents back. That’s the issue. If you fully believe in this current squad, you have to bring them back. If you don’t, then you won’t. How they handle their free agents will say a lot about what Rose thinks about this team overall. If you think this is a top four team as currently constituted, you bring them all back and hope that improvement from RJ, Quickley and Toppin, a full season of Mitch and the addition of the two first rounders makes you even better next year.

    Things would be very different this offseason if they didn’t have half the rotation hitting free agency at once.

  138. That is just not the way I think. You bring your free agents back if you can’t find anyone better at their position. If you can, then you replace them. How good you are as a team has little to do with it except that if the teams plays well together, that’s an argument against breaking it up, but only if all other things are equal.

  139. It’s going to be difficult to defend the 4-seed next year. Even if we get marginally better, there’s not much separating us from the 3-4 teams below us. If we slip at all we could easily wind up in 7th. Either way, the gulf between the 3 & 4 seed is massive and the divide between 4 & 8 is minimal.

    ATL with good health and a full year of Nate McMillan will be difficult to stay ahead of. Boston could very well have a bounce back year, CHI could figure out how to mesh LaVine and their new toy at C, LaMelo could push CHA in front of us if he takes the next step. Hell, WAS looked pretty scary the last couple weeks of the season.

  140. Donnie Walsh: Which one is better? (They have nearly identical names and nearly identical games per the eye test)

    Donnie, it’s easier if you spell their names, as they won’t be so identical. The older guy is Bojan, which reads “Boy-on”, and the younger reads exactly like the beginning of the surname, “Bog-dan” (and exactly how it’s written). So if you start calling the Jazz guy “Boy-on” you’ll never be confused again.
    Oh, and by the way, “Boy-on” he’s in fact Bosnian by birth. But as he was born before the dismemberment of Yugoslavia, he has bosnian and croatian nationality and opted to play for the Croatian national team.

  141. Man the tales are hot right now and very much skewing in the negative side. Welcome back team pessimist!

    Obviously today will be very telling but here’s where I’m at.

    Game one we lost bc of an unlucky bounce and that was after a horrible first quarter that was largely due to the team being nervous in front of a huge and loud crowd.

    Game two we controlled the entire second half.

    Game three we lost bc of Randle and RJ missing shots. I’m not underplaying how well Atlanta played but we missed open shots and passed on others bc we got in our heads. Maybe Atlanta is a little bit more talented but we gotta remember that RJ is 20 and still very much a work in progress. And while Randle has been amazing and is definitely an all star, he probably is more a number two option than a number one option. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep him.

    Let’s see how they respond today before we call to blow it all up or decide Thibs isn’t that good! Go Knicks!

  142. Re: bring back our own free-agents
    You guys are talking about bringing them back on multiyear deals, right? Because bringing the band back on 1-year deals, probably only some of them, as the others will receive multiyear deals and we’ll let (most of) them go, is the way to go to roll the cap space to 2022.
    Leon has a decision to make in the offseason, a big one, which is to work under or above the cap (and there’s no middle ground here). But that stems on other decision, which is what i think Brian is talking about, which players do you want to have here for the 2022-23 season and which ones are trade assets to assemble that team.
    If Randle signs the extension, we can maybe work 2 years under the cap (or deals until 2023), and assemble the team in 2023 (when RJ is getting paid).
    Right now, i’m not at all worried about that as i now trust Leon to do a good job. When was the last time i had a POBO/GM this highly considered? I don’t even remember! :P

  143. Great work, ephus. You and the others yesterday. I hope the Knicks read this blog because you guys post here very good analysis of what the team did and should do. It’s a pleasure to be a part of it.

  144. I have had my questions about the long term sustainability of this team and its approach but I don’t think I can put all this on Thibs.

    The narrative will definitely change fast if we win today….

  145. Why are we trying to put the blame on one person only… some say it’s Thibs, some say it’s Randle (and to some extent the other players). But why not both? And why do we think they can’t turn it around?
    The way i see it some players are in a mental block, and once they release themselves from that, mind me tell them it’s not the worst thing in the world to lose, what’s worst is not playing the way they used to play in the regular season, with joy and relentlessness. Just get back to that and i don’t even mind losing (although in the hours after i can make comments that won’t back up this :P).

  146. This is a huge game in terms of testing team resolve and resiliency. It’s all low-stakes in terms of the house money thing, but winning this game guarantees a long series and that much more serious national exposure. It would also mean a much needed turn in the “who’s to blame?” debate.

    I want to believe that Julius will step up, that the moment isn’t too big for him. There’s not a lot of roads to a win that don’t go through a monster game from him. 25-10-5 is pretty much a must. Thibs will probably add some wrinkles but I doubt that the game plan changes much.

    One thing that bugs me is that the series hasn’t been as physical as I had hoped. The only exception was the second half of game 2. Hopefully we change that today.

  147. We’re far from out of it, but I think people are justified in their pessimism with RJ and Randle playing so poorly. 1 bad game is a fluke, 3 bad games is a pattern.

    Luckily, we only need them to be anything above godawful and we can at least make this a series.

  148. If Randle doesn’t play well, (all nba level) we’ll lose, simple as that. We’ve had double digit deficits in I think every game so far this series. They’ve played better for way more mins than we have. He needs to make quicker decisions, dribble less, pass on target better, take the 3s with confidence, and sometimes take it to the basket to get fouled vs avoiding contact. Those are all things in his control …he’s done very little of the above so far …that’s on Randle.

  149. Here’s ex-KBer David Vertsberger weighing in on playing Obi and Julius together. It’s a reasonable idea, but since he never tried it before Thibs probably wouldn’t risk it backfiring and costing the series. It’s a fair critique that Thibs should have tried it a few times during the regular season, but on the other hand, nearly every game was so closely contested and Obi only started to merit any playing time towards the end of the season, not to mention that freeing up Julius hasn’t been much of a problem before. Sounds like a next year conversation to me.

  150. there’s more reason to be optimistic than pessimistic… our defense has been playing well against a good offensive team and besides these capela lobs in game 3 vs taj (which is problematic) they haven’t found a way to exploit us despite trae playing well all of these games…

    if randle ever starts to find his rhytmn like in the 4th quarter of game 2.. and like thibs says.. makes quicker decisions.. then we’re in really good shape… if not.. well we have to find something else before our season ends…

  151. @MikeVorkunov
    Knicks will use the same starting lineup today as in Game 3

    Bye bye, Elf.

  152. And before anyone asks again:

    @NYPost_Berman
    Tom Thibodeau said new signee Luca Vildoza didn’t join club in Atlanta now that he’s out of quarantine in New York. Gave no indication he’s working out at Tarrytown yet. “For later in the summer.”

  153. I’ve read criticism about not having Randle at the 5 which is understandable to help unlock the offense a bit but it clearly will affect the defense. Virtually entire season the Knicks have played with a true Center on the floor at all times to pretty good success so abandoning that 3 games into the postseason seems a bit foolish.

    while this makes sense, the problem with this defense of not going small is that we should have been doing this in the regular season, too.

  154. swiftandabundant: Game three we lost bc of Randle and RJ missing shots. I’m not underplaying how well Atlanta played but we missed open shots and passed on others bc we got in our heads.

    cybersoze: with joy and relentlessness.

    This. We’ve accurately shat on Julius and RJ for shooting poorly, but it’s like a virus that spread the last game, infecting Bullock, Burks, and Quick. Only Rose had antibodies. I was watching Bullock repeatedly choose not to shoot when he was open — a few times he’d duck the close-out, dribble into two-point territory, and despite being wide open hesitate and then pass. Those were money shots earlier, and often seemed to warm him up so he’d start hitting threes. A lot of folks seemed to be second-guessing themselves shot-wise. We need to get back to a relaxed, natural flow. But not sure they can, given playoffs pressure.

  155. as for the “better personnel” argument, the Hawks only have better offensive personnel. They are hiding Trae Young on defense and getting away with playing Danilo Gallinari at center. That’s not good personnel, but it’s been effective bc they have a good scheme and we stubbornly play right into its hands.

    Some really easy things we can do that we haven’t seen:

    – play IQ with Randle
    – have Reggie Bullock (or whoever Trae is guarding) set screens to get Young switched onto a ballhandler.
    – Use Randle as a screen setter to either get him the ball in a better position or take advantage of the defensive focus on him.

    You can make a good case about not playing Randle or Obi at the 5, but it’s hard to defend our choice to avoid doing any of those three simple things.

  156. I know it’s Derrick Rose – colored glasses, but NYKs could have easily won game 1 and lead 2-1. Both of RJ and JR have been putrid. My prescription: (a) get them going, by PnR, not by waiting for either to manipulate in the paint; (b) Thibs must do more offense / defense subbing at end of quarters; (c) keep Trae to his left and out of the paint; (d) Burks to start at point with Rose off bench; (e) Thibs must mix it up more-lengthen the bench-limited Obi and Frank minutes but they should play.
    We can win this game.

  157. It’s a fair critique that Thibs should have tried it a few times during the regular season, but on the other hand, nearly every game was so closely contested

    And that’s always been my rub with Thibs, that I think winning each specific game shouldn’t always be his top priority, but clearly it was and doing it his way added twenty wins to their total from last season (in ten less games!), so it is hard to argue with his approach.

  158. Hubert feels like he feels, nothing is going to change his mind, not even facts. The best thing to do is to table the discussion until next year. This playoff series is gravy, and it is 100% Thibs that got us here. None of the available coaches would have come close, regardless of how much work Julius and RJ put in during the offseason.

    Thibs came into this year totally blind to what he had, with a shortened preseason and condensed regular season, and passed every reasonable test of coaching efficacy with flying colors. That will be true no matter what happens this series. The real test of who Thibs is in the continuum of building a true contender starts when this season is over. Same for Leon Rose. Miami, Boston, and possibly Charlotte, Chicago and Indiana, will be far better prepared to challenge us next year, we’re not catching teams by surprise, there will be packed arenas and ample recovery time…not like last year after the bubble. There’s a lot of holes left to fill…personnel, strategy, tactics…and I don’t care how good of a coach he is, this group has no shot of anything beyond a 6-7 seed and a quick first round exit next year.

  159. Hubert: as for the “better personnel” argument, the Hawks only have better offensive personnel.

    Even if true, the gap on offense is greater than the gap on defense. Capela is substantially better than Noel as an overall defender because he rebounds better and is just as good of a shot blocker. Randle, Rose, IQ and especially Obi are average or below. And like us, they are well coached on defensive schemes.

    Clearly their offense is much harder to disrupt than ours, and it’s not because Nate is some kind of offensive savant as a coach relative to Thibs. They are much hardr to defend than we are.

  160. Z-man: Even your “I wish Jowles still posted, bc I know he’s laughing at this bullshit” comment backfired.

    No, I was laughing. Just too busy to sift through a 400-comment fight. And unfortunately I’ll be back in NY from Wednesday through Sunday, but not back in NYC until Saturday night to watch Thibs single-handedly win Game 6 : (

  161. Well that last sentence didn’t make grammatical sense, so I had some coffee. If there is a game 7, I will be watching it with fellow KBers in NYC.

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