NY Post: Knicks blow it late in loss to NBA-worst Timberwolves

From Marc Berman:

Tom Thibodeau wished he wasn’t so prescient when it came to the Timberwolves, his former club.

“It’s really a loaded roster,’’ Thibodeau said before Wednesday night’s game about the league’s worst team. “No lead is safe against them.”

And so it was.

The Knicks blew an 18-point lead in the first half, recovered and led by 13 points early in the fourth quarter before choking and dropping an awful 102-101 decision at Target Center.

It was so uncharacteristic of this gritty group and the first time in seven weeks that the Knicks have lost two consecutive games.

And it was especially bitter considering this was Thibodeau’s first return to Minnesota since getting fired by the Timberwolves in January 2019. His team fell to 24-24 as the Knicks were outscored 32-20 in the final period as RJ Barrett and Julius Randle went stone cold in the clutch.

“You let your guard down just a little bit you’re going to be in trouble,’’ Thibodeau said. “There’s 30 teams, 29 capable of beating you if you don’t come with that edge, with the mentality to play 48 minutes. If you get loose, you’re going to get knocked down.’’

We’ve known for a while now that this is a team that’s not good enough for too many lapses, but the key has been that they’ve avoided having too many in games against inferior opponents. That happened agaisnt Minny and they barely lost. I think that’s more flukey than anything else, really. So I’m not too concerned about it for the rest of this season.

Anthony Edwards is a man, huh? He isn’t really all that efficient, but with a body like his, you can see why any NBA GM could dream about what he can do on the court if he develops his game more. He was like a one-man wrecking crew in the fourth! You can’t teach what he has, it’s just whether you can teach him the other stuff. If so, he will not look out of place as a number one pick.

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16 thoughts to “NY Post: Knicks blow it late in loss to NBA-worst Timberwolves”

  1. Loved msg’s graphic about how shit the wolves and bulls have been since tt’s departure. They wanted to show his positive impact, but I imagine for many more informed people it would also illustrate how he decimates rosters with his heavy minute loads and abhorrence of player development or cooperation with front office team building efforts.

  2. and yes, I know he’s giving young guys the minutes the front office forces him to give. But I would not be surprised if as win desperate Knicks fans celebrate this modicum of success and tt gets most of the credit that he will use his growing influence and perceived importance to push back against the front office just as he did in Chicago

  3. Whoo! Mets extended Lindor in the middle of the night! $341/10 years, $1M more than what Tatis Jr got.

  4. max fisher-cohen: he will use his growing influence and perceived importance to push back against the front office just as he did in Chicago

    With all due respect Max, why wouldn’t he? The “process” article a couple of weeks back talked about differing viewpoints as to players, best way forward, etc. I know he has flaws, but I don’t consider using some new-found credibility to try to win arguments one of them.

  5. Because he isn’t any good at it, and it’s not his job. And he’s way too aggressive about it, as evidenced by his past.

  6. That game felt like the Knicks weren’t giving 100% at times when they had the lead and failed to land the KO punch as a result. Then when the T-Wolves didn’t just roll over and play dead the Knicks fell apart when pressed hard at the end. It was a horrible loss, but the T-Wolves are better than their record. Towns has been out for lot of the season and took awhile to get his health back to 100%.

  7. Imagine a politician who sells all kinds of public services out to private companies for a quick cash influx. This change improves the quality of life for his constituents temporarily… their taxes drop massively. This gets the politician huge short term support, which he leverages for huge increase in power and influence. TT is the NBA version of that. Not all coaches are effective motivators while being such short term thinkers. I don’t think tt is devious, but I do think he has some psychological divergence that sends him down this path That not only risks a major power struggle with the front office, But even if he wins the power struggle, the strategy for development and improvement quickly implodes, putting a target on his head. It’s a lose lose situation. But tt has a compulsion: he can’t get his head out of the moment, can’t even think about the next game let alone the next season. Doesn’t seem like he has control over this behavior.

  8. There is definitely a downside to treating each game like it’s Game 7, no doubt about it.

  9. Definitely a very frustrating loss. I know IQ didn’t have it going at all but I certainly think he has earned enough leash at this point that playing him 13 minutes in any game, particularly in a game without Rose, is an instance of cutting off your nose to spite your face. He’s one of two players on the roster who provides high usage, high efficiency offense and watching the offense completely flounder down the stretch with him stapled to the bench, I just don’t get it.

  10. What the problem with Thibs today?

    lmao

    We have a few problems.

    1. We don’t have a legitimate #1 option for down the stretch of close games and will probably have to either trade for one using our excess picks or try to move up in the draft and pray we get one.

    2. The bench is not deep enough even with Quickley there – where he belongs.

    3. RJ is still 3-5 years away from his peak (similar for Quick, Mitch, Knox, Frank, Obi etc..)

    4. Bullock has been playing fine, but it’s a tough combo to use him with Noel/Taj and Payton. We don’t have enough punch. If we had a #1 option, he’d be terrific in his current role.

    5. We don’t have a legitimate starting PG even though Payton was having a good game last night and Thibs rode with him. Last night was a night we really could have used Rose down the stretch. When the Knicks were struggling to even get very good shots let alone make the shots they were taking, Rose would have helped with the shot creation.

    We have one non problem that everyone is always whining about.

    1. Thibs is the coach, but I can see this is going to turn into another issue here where everyone is going to see what they want to see.

  11. The bill for Thibs’s services inevitably comes later, after the honeymoon period, and it will here too.

    As to the psychology, I’m sure a lot of coaches think they’re smarter than the FO guys but most of them are able to keep that to themselves and manage up effectively. Thibs can’t. Plus Thibs has the life experience of getting passed over by FO types far more than he should have before he got his first shot. He’s at this point just constitutionally and temperamentally incapable of staying in his lane. It’s no more complicated than that. From a manager’s perspective, he’s extremely high-maintenance and eventually managers and executives and owners just get tired of it. That will happen here, too. Luckily, he doesn’t seem to have any pull with Dolan at all so there isn’t any danger of him actually *winning* some kind of power struggle and gaining more power but of course there’s always Dolan’s Razor lurking out there.

  12. Brian Cronin:
    There is definitely a downside to treating each game like it’s Game 7, no doubt about it.

    Just take a look a the careers of Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, and Derrick Rose.

  13. Clearly this is the wrong day to defend Thibs because last night was probably the worst loss of the season and we lost partly because Thibs overrelied on Payton (although I do think Payton is sometimes too easily used as the scapegoat when we lose games).

    But max, with all due respect…I think your logic is completely flawed here. Thibs was in Chicago for 5 seasons. The worst win total he had during that time was 45 wins. He had over 50 wins three times and over 60 wins once. The last season before he left he only won 50 games.

    Is it really fair to say that he left them decimated? Chicago wanted to tank and tear it all down after a 50 win season. That’s kind of insane if you ask me and Chicago is known for being one of the cheapest teams in the NBA.

    And with Minny…yeah it ended badly there. But was the roster decimated because of Thibs? Like were Wiggins and Towns just horrible players after Thibs left because he played them too many minutes? I don’t think that logic holds up at all.

    I do agree that he over relies on vets and is risk averse with lineups. But I think this narrative that he destroys rosters is way overblown at this point. He literally gave the team 3 days off from practice before this game.

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