NY Post: Knicks lose OT crusher to Lakers as playoff clinch will have to wait

From Marc Berman:

Knicks superfan Spike Lee looked up, at the Staples Center scoreboard, shaking his head, staring at the replay of Wesley Matthews’ putback.

Lee couldn’t believe it. Neither could Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau.

The Knicks’ playoff-clinching celebration will have to wait. The clincher got away — along with that one lost rebound.

In a Hollywood heartbreaker, the Knicks blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead and the defending-champion Lakers showed their mettle in overtime by surviving a 101-99 battle in Tuesday night thriller in front of 3,550 fans.

The Knicks had the game and the playoffs in the bag but couldn’t hold off these Lakers, even with LeBron James watching from the bench.

And the Knicks were devastated.

“It sucks,’’ Julius Randle said. “We fought like hell. Me, I played to exhaustion. I know my guys played to exhaustion. To do what we did, last game of the road trip, against a championship-caliber team, the play was great. And for me to have an opportunity to finish the game off. I felt I had to finish the game.’’

It was fascinating to hear just how upset they all were about that missed rebound. Here’s Thibs, “Rebounding beat us tonight. All we had to do is get that last rebound — the last shot of the game. Everyone’s got to get a body on everyone. That’s the bottom line. Their rebounding hurt us throughout the game. We always say defend, rebound and keep turnovers down. If you neglect that area, you’re going to pay for it.’’

Rose noted that Thibs yelled at him about it and that he should have just fouled Matthews as soon as it was clear that Matthews has him beat for the rebound (I don’t think that would have been a good idea, though, for as soon as you realize you’re beat for the rebound, Matthews might be able to muscle his way into still putting up a close shot that could go in with the foul), adding, “It’s f–king hard right now. It just sucks, man. I’m still upset about it. There’s a lot going on.’’ Chill out, dudes, you still have opportunities to win the #4 seed! Think about it, the Sixers lost last night, too, so they’re going to have to win on Thursday to clinch the #1 seed, so if they beat the Heat and the Knicks win out, the Knicks will finish ahead of the Heat and in a tie-breaker with just the Hawks, the Knicks win the tiebreaker. It’s only if there is a three-way tie that the Knicks lose out to both teams.

The key for the Knicks is to just win these last three games, and the Celtics will almost certainly be eliminated from the #6 seed by the time the Knicks play them, so they might not even give a shit about that game. The Hornets are not a problem. It comes down to the Spurs, but knowing how this season has gone, Pop will use that game as a tinkering game, as he’s been doing lately, where he tries out weird lineups every so often, less concerned about winning games this year and more concerned about where to concentrate on next season (as the Spurs ain’t going anywhere this year, even though they can be pretty darn good at full power. They just stomped the Bucks the other day).

The other interesting thing is that Kyrie Irving might be hurt and the Bucks are pretty close to the #2 seed. So the eventual #6 seed might get a hurting Nets team instead of the Bucks. Not only that, but the fact that they are so close will likely mean that the Bucks have something to play against when they play the Heat. Remember, only the Heat own the direct tiebreaker with the Knicks. If it is a two-way tiebreaker between the Knicks and Hawks, the Knicks win it. So just win out and hope the chips fall into play.

Last night was rough, but don’t lose the forest for the trees. The Knicks are still in pretty good shape for the #4 seed. They just really need to win these last three games at home, but they should.

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202 thoughts to “NY Post: Knicks lose OT crusher to Lakers as playoff clinch will have to wait”

  1. If we had lost because AD did his thing and put up 40 and 20 it would have been easier to take. But Randle did a great job on him and Kuzma, the ghost of Wes Matthews and THT burned our asses. Not exactly a murderer’s row.

    I’m most worried about the Spurs game, first home game after a long trip and they kicked our asses in San Antonio. Won’t be easy.

  2. The Hornets are not a problem.

    This has strong jinx possibilities.

    The Hornets are the toughest team remaining on our schedule. They need to win to get into the 7/8 matchup and avoid having to win 2 play in games.

  3. The Hornets are the toughest team remaining on our schedule. They have the most to play for (they’ll need to win to get into the 7/8 matchup and avoid having to win 2 play in games).

    Any team can win in theory, but the Spurs demolished the Knicks the last time they played and just kicked the Bucks’ ass the other day. They’ve got to be the scariest team of the three left. But sure, could the Hornets theoretically beat the Knicks? Of course, but that would be a disappointing loss, more so than the Spurs.

  4. Spurs are playing 2nd night of b-2-b. They have nothing to play for. And I think Thibs will use that ass whipping they gave us earlier to make sure we’re ready. That’s a confident W for me.

    The Hornets were as good as us before LaMelo went down. Now he’s back. They need that game a lot.

    I think the Heat will go 2-1, Hawks at least 2-1, so it’s either 3-0 for us or the 6 seed. I like our chances, but it’s the trap game vs Charlotte that worries me most.

  5. Random Notes

    Thibs putting Frank on the last minutes while we were attacking and pulling him out while we were defending was slightly bizzare tbh

    Closing the game exclusively going ISO wasn’t effective. Especially wo Burks and IQ. A little bit more of player/ball movement wouldn’t be a bad idea imo

  6. Yeah, we all know teams like to go ISOs at the ends of close games, especially against good defenses like the Lakers, but when the other team knows that literally just two guys are going to be shooting at any given moment, it’s probably not the best idea.

    Also, Thibs likely used his last timeout way too early.

  7. The other thing to remember about last night is that while we have an amazing, kick-ass defense, the Lakers have — at least on paper — an even better defense. I was constantly amazed at how well they were defending, as they’re the Lakers, and I just don’t expect that from them. So a lot of our ‘failures,’ of which there were quite a few, should at least partially be chalked up to playing against a damn fine defense.

  8. “the Lakers have — at least on paper — an even better defense. ”

    This. The offensive struggle was at least partially due to the Lakers doing a very good job shutting us down. We had several instances of good ball movement but nothing materialized. We missed shots too and made some bad mistakes but the Lakers often played good D swallowing up Randle & Rose.

  9. Brian Cronin:
    Yeah, we all know teams like to go ISOs at the ends of close games, especially against good defenses like the Lakers, but when the other team knows that literally just two guys are going to be shooting at any given moment, it’s probably not the best idea.

    Also, Thibs likely used his last timeout way too early.

    Brian, it looked like they were the only two who were allowed to touch the ball. It was way too predictable.

  10. And yes, the Lakers’ defense was doing an excellent job taking away Randle and Rose’s favorite spots, so A. just pass the ball! Randle once passed to Bullock, who was wide open for an easy two and B. get good movement so that when they pass you the ball, you’re not all basically at midcourt with seconds to go in the shot clock. That last possession was insane! It’s hard to even begrudge RJ that much there. Terrible shot, of course, but what the heck was he supposed to do when he got the ball near midcourt with a wall of Lakers surrounding the three point line (and a Laker on Taj if he wanted to try a pass to Taj near the basket that would have required Taj to get the ball and make a good move, all in, like, two seconds)?

  11. It is noteworthy that we didn’t get beat by Davis. People are mad bc we lost to their scrubs but they ran plays for those guys and took advantage of the attention AD was getting. Elite teams know the best player on the court at the end of games is the open player. It seems like we’ve been running ISO’s and forcing bad shots at the end of games since Melo beat Detroit in 2011.

  12. I was thinking about our final play last night – have we hit one game winning shot the whole season? For all our unexpected success, it’s pretty amazing we haven’t.

    The only time I remember a crazy end of game celebration is when Bullock stole a pass.

  13. That last possession was insane! It’s hard to even begrudge RJ that much there. Terrible shot, of course, but what the heck was he supposed to do when he got the ball near midcourt with a wall of Lakers surrounding the three point line

    not to mention Randle was standing motionless on the logo, and Rose was on the sideline 35 feet away from the hoop.

    and a Laker on Taj if he wanted to try a pass to Taj near the basket that would have required Taj to get the ball and make a good move

    and also a Laker on Bullock in the corner who didn’t panic and leave his man wide open.

  14. Hubert:
    It is noteworthy that we didn’t get beat by Davis. People are mad bc we lost to their scrubs but they ran plays for those guys and took advantage of the attention AD was getting. Elite teams know the best player on the court at the end of games is the open player.

    Totally agree. It was tricky last night because the only players left open and hitting their shots were Frank and Obi (admittedly in a small sample). Thibs had to make a judgment call, whether to close with them or go back to RJ and Bullock.

    If those same open bench guys had been Quick and Burks, no question, but Frank and Obi …? Maybe in a mid-season “meaningless” game, Thibs might have tried it, but not in this latest “game 7.”

    And I think that could be a trap as games get even more important. Coach is more likely to stick with his core guys, even if they slump badly, hoping they will turn it around (cf Starks 1994).

    It seems like we’ve been running ISO’s and forcing bad shots at the end of games since Melo beat Detroit in 2011.

    –even longer if you count late career Patrick Ewing launching fadeaway jumpers from the top of the key when everyone in the building knew it (and I was throwing beer at my TV!).

  15. Should it matter if guys are hitting their shots? Like, if you’re D Rose, and you’re double teamed, should you force a bad shot instead of passing to Reggie Bullock bc he’s missed a few?

    Wes Matthews was 1-5 when AD passed to him wide open in the corner for the biggest shot of the night. Horton-Tucker was 2-7 heading into OT before going 2-2 from 3.

    I think Thibs absolutely did the right thing going back to Barrett and Bullock. And I trust that when he drew up a play in the huddle, it had multiple options. I think this stuff is on players and their hero-ball mentality, and we’re hardly unique.

  16. Hubert:
    Should it matter if guys are hitting their shots?Wes Matthews was 1-5 when AD passed to him wide open in the corner for the biggest shot of the night. Horton-Tucker was 2-7 heading into OT before going 2-2 from 3.

    I think Thibs absolutely did the right thing going back to Barrett and Bullock. And I trust that when he drew up a play in the huddle, it had multiple options. I think this stuff is on players and their hero-ball mentality, and we’re hardly unique.

    You’re still being ridiculous.

  17. The bummer was the outcome of the game.

    But we saw a good lineup with frank and rose, I would love to see more of that lineup. Granted rj had a bad shooting night.

  18. Hubert: I think this stuff is on players and their hero-ball mentality, and we’re hardly unique.

    Agree, but it’s part of everything the league sets up and, arguably, what it wants. On any given night, Steph hits a crazy shot to win, Luka hits a crazy shot to win, Kawhi, Harden, LeBron, etc.

    For better or worse, Randle has embraced the role of being “that guy” for us. We’ve also had some great nights where Rose or RJ was “that guy”, or, better yet, when opposing teams didn’t know exactly who “that guy” was gonna be. But last night ALL our guys were gassed except the ones on the bench: Frank, in particular. Not Thibs’s mistake, exactly, and, like you, I prolly go back to RJ and Bullock to close, but —

    Maybe we can all agree the last play was well-defended and a disaster from the beginning, and it’s a miracle RJ got off anything at all from there. Last night he wasn’t Luka or Steph. Next time, maybe. Honestly, I’d rather he hit a few more layups early on, so we’re not even up that late.

  19. As one of Frank’s known advocates I’d like to add that not only he filled the stat sheet but he made many plays that gave us the ball without getting a stat for that.
    The famous WesMathews 3p that Hubert mentioned had a pretty good closeout by Frankie, one closeout that was deserved for a 33% 3pshooter.
    Thibs giving him 20+ min don’t lie

  20. Knew Your Nicks:
    As one of Frank’s known advocates I’d like to add that not only he filled the stat sheet but he made many plays that gave us the ball without getting a stat for that.

    Completely agree. Frank was solid last night.

    Maybe Phil was in the house ;-)

  21. Frank played terrific last night in case anyone missed the game.

    He sure did. But the Lakers still didn’t guard him. And he made a defensive blunder at a very inopportune time.

  22. The remaining Frankophiles are some True Believers, man. Like that crazy cult in Indiana Jones who swore to protect the Holy Grail. You can’t say he made one bad play because he had a good game? That’s some logic.

    Derrick Rose scored 27 pts and we can talk about him not boxing out Wes Matthews; Randle bossed AD and we can talk about how he played hero ball in the end; but Frank? Frank was perfect, man! Don’t you dare!

  23. Yeap!
    Yesterday Frankie was Perfect.
    Especially for someone who was considered by most as “Nba dead”.

  24. Knew Your Nicks:
    Yeap!
    Yesterday Frankie was Perfect.
    Especially for someone who was considered by most as “Nba dead”.

    Haha. I don’t love the guy. In fact I’m still in shock that Frank has made 18Million dollars by age 20-whatever (more than most of us will make in our lifetimes!) — all for just, basically, letting us make fun of him. The game is insane.

    Nevertheless, I think Frank Ntilikina played very well last night.

  25. DudesTown: Frank played terrific last night in case anyone missed the game.

    Thanks, man. Here the game started at 3AM and although i’m a nocturnal person, i’m definitely not like Max :P , so i didn’t watch the game.
    Frank just needs to play well once for every 20 or 25 games, and the Frankophiles will wake up and spread the Frank love a little more. Next season they’ll need to pick another player because he’ll be in europe.
    Looks like we did well, except closing out the game and getting the W. All in all, i never thought we would go 3-3 on this road trip, so i’m very happy.
    Now we need to win all 3 remaining games to be 4th, because probably ATL will do the same, but it’s fantastic that we only need 1 game to be Top6.

  26. KB Apprentice: Agree, but it’s part of everything the league sets up and, arguably, what it wants. On any given night, Steph hits a crazy shot to win, Luka hits a crazy shot to win, Kawhi, Harden, LeBron, etc.

    And because of this, it’d be amazing if Dame wanted out of Portland and we grabbed him to play at MSG. :)

  27. just watched the post game interviews, thibs, rose, and julius were all absolutely smoldering…

    as a bunch of folks have already mentioned – this season as a whole feels like found money…

    i’m guessing NBAtv will re-broadcast the game sometime today (i think that’s okay under whatever local affiliate rules that may be), normally i don’t watch losses – but, i do kind of want to see frank in action last night…

  28. Geo, if you watch it (I couldn’t stomach seeing it a second time), check the defensive clinic put on by both teams. I’d also love your thoughts on how much of the ‘boneheaded’ play we had there late in the game and in overtime was to some lesser or greater extent just LA locking us down. I suspect it was a lot of both, but would appreciate your take.

  29. The remaining Frankophiles are some True Believers, man. Like that crazy cult in Indiana Jones who swore to protect the Holy Grail. You can’t say he made one bad play because he had a good game? That’s some logic.

    It’s the other way around.

    The kid had his best all around game of the season and the first thing you pointed out was that someone hit a key 3 when he was guarded by Frank and implied he cost us the game. That’s obviously cherry picking biased nonsense.

    We came into the season hoping Frank would add a 3. Even though the sample size is extremely small the evidence was favorable. The 2p% is obviously sample size. So you say congratulations on a great game and stop making it about pro Frank and anti Frank or picking out the one possible suspect play. We are all pro Frank. I’m still hoping Knox comes up with a big game too and proves me wrong about Mikal Bridges.

    The one disappointment was that he has had very little chance to show what he can do this year. t was another injury filled season and then he got locked down by Covid protocols. We also added Rose, Burks, and Quick and so Frank lost his spot on this team because it’s starved for scorers.

    The season is over and he still has fewer minutes than AUSTIN RIVERS who was barely on the team (Rivers lost his spot in the rotation to Frank and is now getting minutes in Denver). So be it. He’s probably going to play for Detroit next year anyway.

  30. Deeefense: It’s the other way around.

    The kid had his best all around game of the season and the first thing you pointed out was that someone hit a key 3 when he was guarded by Frank and implied he cost us the game.That’s obviously cherry picking biased nonsense.

    We came into the season hoping Frank would add a 3.Even though the sample size is extremely small the evidence was favorable. The 2p% is obviously sample size.So you say congratulations on a great game and stop making it about pro Frank and anti Frank or picking out the one possible suspect play. We are all pro Frank.I’m still hoping Knox comes up with a big game too and proves me wrong about Mikal Bridges.

    The one disappointment was that he has had very little chance to show what he can do this year.t was another injury filled season and then he got locked down by Covid protocols. We also added Rose, Burks, and Quick and so Frank lost his spot on this team because it’s starved for scorers.

    The season is over and he still has fewer minutes than AUSTIN RIVERS who was barely on the team (Rivers lost his spot in the rotation to Frank and is now getting minutes in Denver). So be it. He’s probably going to play for Detroit next year anyway.

    I hope that Thibs recognizes his value and fights to keep him. His block at the rim and that no look pass to Taj were incredible.

  31. He’s probably going to play for Detroit next year anyway.

    I don’t know, man. The way you described him, seems more like he’s headed to Brooklyn to form a Big 4.

  32. Frank has played over 4000 minutes. In NBA history there is a grand total of one guard who put up a worse obpm than Frank’s -4.4 and managed to stick around long enough to log 4000 minutes- Mark Macon. That’s it. He’s shooting great from three and his TS% is .500. Frank hasn’t been jerked around; he has been an objectively awful basketball player who’s happened to make it onto the floor because he played for an awful team. Maybe if he was as good defensively as Smart or Thybulle you could keep him around as a situational 12th man but he’s not in that class- he’s good but not special.

  33. Frank obi Knox Mitch and a few firsts are all going to be offered up for KAT when he inevitably asks out. After that we go after Fox hard

  34. Dudes – we lost the game because the Lakers are ginormous on the front line, Andre Drummond is a great offensive rebounder, and the Lakers have an extremely well-coached defense (which is probably better without regular-season-Lebron in terms of half court execution). yes we should have won, and we had plenty of opportunities, but we can’t forget we were missing two main bench pieces, our starting center, and also we have to play Elfrid Payton 15-20 minutes per game because, you know, winning NBA games isn’t hard enough.

    The offense at end of game was super ugly but I think that was at least as much the Lakers’ doing as it was our unimaginative offense.

    Have to wonder whether RJ just had no legs yesterday. Every 3 pointer seemed like it was short. I guess that’s what happens at the end of a west coast road trip after playing 41 and 45 minutes the two games prior. RJ even goes 1-7 from 3 and we win that game. Too bad…

  35. re: Frank — I’ve been an original tenant on Ntilikina Island — and while I still think he has a place in the league, it probably is as a fringe 3-D guy – 8th/9th man at best. Hard to imagine he gets more than $3MM/year or so in FA.
    I’d be happy to bring him back at that rate, but no more than that.

    That said, he is still extraordinarily young – only 21 years old. I would encourage everyone to look at Reggie Bullock’s stats in his age 22 and age 23 seasons — Reggie did not look like playable until really his age 24-25 season. If Frank had been born in the US, he maybe would’ve come out after 3 or 4 years in college – ie. he’d still be in college right now. He is clearly an NBA defender, and despite having his minutes/role jerked around the last couple years, is shooting ~36% from 3 point range the last 2 seasons combined on about 5 attempts per 36 (184 attempts). There is still the image of a contributing player there – but he’s not an NBA starter or even 1st or 2nd guard off the bench most likely. I’m not sure he’ll be back next year on our team, but I think he’ll stay in the league for a while.

  36. Interesting article by Zach Lowe today which had Alec Burks as one of his “Luke Walton All-Stars” — suggesting that Johnny Bryant was a big draw for him in FA and that he wants to find a home as opposed to being a nomad like he’s been the last couple years. Would be great if we could get him on something like 3 for 18.

  37. Yeah I sometimes think we worry a little too much about good role players wanting to get some huge deal, especially journeymen. I think if you’re a legit star in this league you absolutely will try to get the most money you can get on any contract in most cases. But I think for older journeymen players, it’s far less of an issue than we think it might be. Obviously if a guy makes a leap to legit all-star and has been paid nothing so far that’s a different issue. But someone like Burks or Noel or Bullock…older role players who are having good seasons on a fun team with teammates and a coaching staff they like, I don’t think they’re going to be inclined to go somewhere else unless another team just makes them a stupid offer. If we treat them right with nice pay raises and some stability with 2 or 3 year contracts, I think we should be able to keep the guys we want. I think Lin’s poison pill situation made us think that is always the outcome but it usually isn’t. Star players are a different situation entirely though.

  38. Ntilikina is young enough I still have hope for his career. The question is how much time and money you want to sink into that career.

    He’s certainly improved over the years (as far as I can tell from his limited plating time) but if that’s another 2-3 years, what opportunities have we given up in the meantime?

    These are the relevant questions to me:

    (1) Is Frank going to accept a min or near min deal?

    (2) Do the Knicks, suddenly competing, want to invest 3 more years in Frank?

    (3) Are his future prospects so bright that the lost value now is worth it?

    We have 4 draft picks coming up this year alone and I’d guess 1-2 will have more value by year 2 and the others will wash out of the league quickly. A rebuilding team like Det is likely to throw a bunch more money at Frank than we want to use up for a bench warmer over the next 3 years.

  39. Noel is a bit younger though so I could see him trying to get a big deal somewhere. But he also has been burned when he passed over a modest deal thinking he’d get a bigger one only to end up getting nothing. So I actually think a market value 3 year deal for him could get it done.

  40. Early Bird: Lol, one frustrating loss and we’re back to arguing about Frank!!

    [checks box score from last night]

    Who here thinks Kuzma or THT would be a great pickup in the offseason? Could be the final piece.

  41. Frank is awful and if he’s legitimately one of the 15 best options for a roster spot next season something has gone horribly wrong.

    Seriously, would even the most ardent Frankophiles suggest we roster this guy instead of, say, a draft pick? A UDFA? How many more years of zero production do we need to see before we try to, you know, replace him with someone who might be okay?

    For a while my position on Frank was that I was fine with playing him and keeping him so long as we weren’t good, because there was nothing to lose. Well guess what? We’re kinda good now! That means we have to actually think about how to squeeze as many wins as possible out of 15 roster spots. Rostering Frank necessarily comes at the expense of someone else–does anyone seriously think he’s a part of the best 15 man roster we can put together under the salary cap?

  42. I mean, I think he is better than Jared Harper.

    I still think Frank can unlock back end rotation talent and be very limited but still marginally useful NBA player.

    I don’t know, do the Frankophiles really believe more than that?

    We don’t need to talk about him but it is kind of fun to stan him.

  43. I mean, I think he is better than Jared Harper.

    I don’t think we should roster either player. I would prefer to replace both with, say, someone on this list.

  44. I think Sharpe has been pretty unfairly slept on, though I’m also incredibly biased as a UNC alum. I also don’t see how he could really fit with our team unless he could shoot 33% on 3s from the 5 position. He’s a great team defender but not really a traditional rim protector like Mitch or Noel. Some other team that already has a solid defense that doesn’t require a defensive anchor at C will be very happy picking him in the late first or early second I think.

  45. i can’t wait to see the real frank unlocked during the playoffs…last night was just a small preview of what’s to come for our favorite son…

  46. People do love Naji. Watched one telecast where they were raving about his defense. He brings the kind of size you want for the three and d role, which Frank lacks.

    I don’t know, he won’t be here next year and we will all move on.

  47. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada:
    I think Sharpe has been pretty unfairly slept on, though I’m also incredibly biased as a UNC alum. I also don’t see how he could really fit with our team unless he could shoot 33% on 3s from the 5 position. He’s a great team defender but not really a traditional rim protector like Mitch or Noel. Some other team that already has a solid defense that doesn’t require a defensive anchor at C will be very happy picking him in the late first or early second I think.

    Thinking about this more and want to backpedal a bit. He certainly can anchor a defense if he hits, but the way he would do it is by quarterbacking a defense like Draymond, rather than swallowing everyone whole a la Gobert. I think Draymond is the pretty obvious upside comp for him, though Dray’s shooting woes weren’t as pronounced as Sharpe’s are and I don’t think Sharpe’s bball IQ is quite as high as Draymond’s (it’s still pretty good though). I still don’t really see a role for him on our team unless we don’t keep one of Mitch or Noel, in which case I’d be more than happy to take Sharpe or Queta with our early second.

  48. Frank is destined for Europe… maybe a team that’s rebuilding. On the off chance he shows significant offensive improvement, some team will likely give him a 2nd chance. He’s just not worth the roster spot right now.

  49. I’ve loved the Frank years, as it’s been a magnificent tragi-comedy filled with yearning pathos and leading to hysterical (both funny and emotional riot) levels of debate. But I’ve also come to terms with him moving on. If he stays more power to him, but I think Noble’s right that it’s time to roll the dice with a new face or three.

    I think this time next year he’s shacked up with a starlet in Pasadena while getting advice from LeBron to shoot more once the playoffs start…

  50. Some important (but improbable) games tonight:

    Knicks playoffs:
    WAS @ ATL

    Send Mavs to play-in:
    NO @ DAL
    HOU @ LAL
    POR @ UTAH

  51. Early Bird:
    Some important (but improbable) games tonight:

    Knicks playoffs:
    WAS @ ATL

    Send Mavs to play-in:
    NO @ DAL
    HOU @ LAL
    POR @ UTAH

    You don’t believe in the Cavs? They will beat the Celtics and we’ll clinch the Top6 without playing. ;)

  52. I said improbable, not impossible!!!

    But yeah, I’ve kinda written the Celts off. Would be nice to officially clinch tho

  53. If you parlay all 3 Mavs play-in games to break in our favor then the payout is 10-1. In case anyone wanted to know the likelihood of everything breaking in our favor and landing the Mavs tied with the Lakers for 6.

    Unfortunately Mavs have tiebreaker over Lakers, so they need to lose at least 2 of 3 against NOP, TOR, & MIN. Yuck…

  54. Frank:
    Interesting article by Zach Lowe today which had Alec Burks as one of his “Luke Walton All-Stars” — suggesting that Johnny Bryant was a big draw for him in FA and that he wants to find a home as opposed to being a nomad like he’s been the last couple years.Would be great if we could get him on something like 3 for 18.

    Yeah, that would be great, I’d say even 3 for 21 could be good.

    Here’s the link (looks like it’s free):
    https://www.espn.com/nba/insider/story/_/id/31428221/the-luke-walton-all-stars-10-players-starred-their-roles-2021

    It even talk about one of my main under-the-radar trade targets, OKC’s Kenrich Williams.

  55. From NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson regarding Lonzo Ball’s potential free agent suitors:

    “There is plenty of talk around the league linking Ball to the Knicks if he isn’t retained by the Pelicans. So given that the Bulls engaged in trade talks centered around Ball at the deadline, I’d assume they’d re-engage and monitor the situation. But I’d rank the Bulls behind both the Knicks and Pelicans in handicapping where Ball is playing next summer.”

  56. @ChrisIseman
    From the Knicks: Reggie Bullock (sprained right ankle), Alec Burks (contused left knee), Immanuel Quickley (sprained left ankle) and Derrick Rose (sprained left ankle) are questionable for tomorrow’s game against San Antonio.

    Another day for the Frank discourse!

  57. Remember when I said we should hold onto Austin Rivers? I didn’t, but holy crap… the walking L-frid is about to get 40 min in a must win game.

    Frank & Knox redemption game?

  58. “Where’s Vildoza?”

    KB’s new mission is to smuggle Vildoza into the country

  59. Early Bird:
    “Where’s Vildoza?”

    KB’s new mission is to smuggle Vildoza into the country

    Haha! In a large cello case?

  60. I’m currently putting together a detailed plan playing to what I know about everyone’s strengths.

    So far I have Jowles singing, Alan interviewing a Spanish TV star, and everyone else arguing about the merits of a minor part of the plan.

    At the end it’s revealed to the whole KB team that Vildoza has actually been with Cybersoze all along and will actually be departing out of Portugal.

    Good to know you have a cello case, the whole plan depends on it. Now all we need is a piece of string, a two-way mirror, a private jet, & a plan.

  61. So far I have Jowles singing, Alan interviewing a Spanish TV star, and everyone else arguing about the merits of a minor part of the plan.

    If it helps for planning purposes, I’m also very tall (6’3″) and wide, each of which has its uses in a scheme like this.

  62. Early Bird: At the end it’s revealed to the whole KB team that Vildoza has actually been with Cybersoze all along and will actually be departing out of Portugal.

    LOLOL! We’re having a glass of Port Wine and reading Knickerblogger.net, he’s now anxious how the fans will welcome him because he thinks only french players can build a legion of fans that can die for them. He finally settled down when i told him i will convince my fellow KBers that Argentina is the new France. So tomorrow he’s ready to fly to NY. :D

  63. Enjoying watching the Hawks -Wiz game and my summertime fling from 2020, Onyeka.

    Although Daniel Gafford is making my heart thump.

    I like the new playoff format. Makes you look forward to the end of the season. Pretty fun.

  64. Are the Wiz playing for anything, or are they pretty locked into a play-in game at this point?

  65. Forgive me if this has been said in the thread and I missed it, but Oladipo is having knee surgery… again. He really shouldn’t have turned down that extension.

  66. Forgive me if this has been said in the thread and I missed it, but Oladipo is having knee surgery… again. He really shouldn’t have turned down that extension.

    i saw that, ouch a quadricep tendon tear…man that’s gotta be painful, and yeah – he really should have took the money…not sure why they didn’t operate on it when it first occurred…

  67. Man did the Wizards really miss Beal down the stretch of this two games…
    Today it was a basketball suicide, they didn’t score in the last 4 minutes…

  68. At this point it’s going to be the 4th seed and a series vs the Hawks or the 6th seed and a series vs presumably the Bucks. This Hawks win basically guarantees Knicks won’t play the Heat in the 1st rd cause it’s virtually impossible now for Heat and Knicks to finish 4/5 with Hawks 6th.

  69. Doug Chu: For me, only the first few paragraphs were free before the paywall kicks in.

    Sorry, I get all the piece despite not being logged in.

  70. as i said over the summer, we are a few decent minutes of anderson varejao away from a 6 seed

  71. I know that at beginning of the season I thought the sixth seed would be great, but I am a typical fan, and now I want more.

  72. The Nets finally have their big three playing together and who’s their leading scorer tonight? Landry Shamet.

  73. BigBlueAL:
    At this point it’s going to be the 4th seed and a series vs the Hawks or the 6th seed and a series vs presumably the Bucks.This Hawks win basically guarantees Knicks won’t play the Heat in the 1st rd cause it’s virtually impossible now for Heat and Knicks to finish 4/5 with Hawks 6th.

    What if the Heat and Knicks win out and the Hawks lose a game?

  74. Also, if the Heat finish a game ahead of the tied Knicks and Hawks, we would have the tiebreaker because head-to-head trumps division winner in 2-team tie

  75. barring a stunning pelicans comeback, the spurs will have clinched their position by the end of tonight.

  76. Z-man: What if the Heat and Knicks win out and the Hawks lose a game?

    Hawks final 2 games are at home vs Orlando and Houston….

  77. But yes that scenario would mean Heat 4 seed and Knicks 5 seed but I would be beyond shocked if that happens. Honestly I see the Heat losing one of their next 2 games if not both so if Knicks take care of business at home they’ll be the 4th seed.

  78. But right now who cares about seeding, for the first time in 8 years we’ll be watching a Knicks playoff game!!!!!

  79. BigBlueAL:
    But yes that scenario would mean Heat 4 seed and Knicks 5 seed but I would be beyond shocked if that happens.Honestly I see the Heat losing one of their next 2 games if not both so if Knicks take care of business at home they’ll be the 4th seed.

    I mean, yeah, the odds are in favor of your scenarios, and yeah, the best outcome would be the Hawks (ps Brooks is terrible and should be fired). Nets probably won’t lose but who knows? If they tie MIL they finish 3rd but I can’t see them losing.

  80. BigBlueAL:
    But right now who cares about seeding, for the first time in 8 years we’ll be watching a Knicks playoff game!!!!!

    Several!

  81. It’s funny, I love the celtics having to do the play-in game, but it was so obvious that I sort of already celebrated it. So now that it happened a game earlier than I expected, it’s like, “Oh, that’s nice.”

    But it really is very nice.

  82. Brian Cronin:
    It’s funny, I love the celtics having to do the play-in game, but it was so obvious that I sort of already celebrated it. So now that it happened a game earlier than I expected, it’s like, “Oh, that’s nice.”

    But it really is very nice.

    I’ve been eyeing that game 72 up since the second half schedule came out and thought that it was a perfect Dolan’s Razor opportunity. The excruciating Lakers loss seemed the perfect lead-in to making the top 6 coming down to that game and losing a heartbreaker at home. If that isn’t Knicks Fan PTSD, I don’t know what is.

  83. At the beginning of the season, I didn’t quite anticipate that on May 12, 2021 I’d be thinking “Yeah, 6th seed is nice, but damn I really want that 4th seed!”

  84. I’m not all that caught up in the matchup in the first round. This team ain’t getting to the finals, so all I can ask for is an opportunity for growth. Let’s see how our core guys do in the crucible and hope we get useful info for the offseason. And if we win a series or two, that will be the tastiest icing on what has already been a great cake of a season.

  85. One thing I would really like is for the Nets to get bounced in Round 1, or at least before the EC finals.

  86. “Welcome back to the playoffs, New York!” I. Thomas, April 17th, 2004

    (It was 8 years until New York actually WON a playoff game, and since that pronouncement at center court 17 years ago, New York has won exactly one playoff series. So, yay playoffs! But I remain deeply, deeply scarred…)

  87. The Nets are probably going to play Boston, Charlotte, Washington or Indiana. I really don’t see them losing to anyone of those teams. The only way they don’t play one of those teams is if they fall to third place in the conference. But if I read the standings right, they would have to lose both their remaining games to have a shot at that and those two games are Chicago and Cleveland. They could end up playing Milwaukee in the second round, and that could bounce them.

  88. One of the best things about clinching sixth is that by avoiding a play-in game, we get a week off for injuries to heal.

  89. At the beginning of the season, I didn’t quite anticipate that on May 12, 2021 I’d be thinking “Yeah, 6th seed is nice, but damn I really want that 4th seed!”

    we are minus 7 games in games decided by 3 points or less…we’re tied with the pistons for the worst record in the league in close games…

    looking at you ju…get that shit fixed before we start playing games that really count…although, the knicks aren’t really built for being all that engaged during the regular season – frankie smokes and his fellow knickerbockers are built for the post-season…

  90. One of the best things about clinching sixth is that by avoiding a play-in game, we get a week off for injuries to heal.

    i heard some announcer mention that a little while ago about 1 thru 6 getting a week off, that’s huge…

    this 7 thru 10 play-in stuff is here to stay…

  91. i just read the frankie smokes “thing” came from some folks on the ringer (not sure what that is)…

    i’ll be honest, i never really liked it or thought it fit him…

    what’s it supposed to mean or reference specific to his game, or him?

    in an interview he referenced he liked the french prince, yeah, no thanks, i don’t think that one works so well either…

    ha, he also sez his favorite teammate to hang with was kp…ha, once again…after a few years now in new york – i’m sure frank’s people peeping skills have improved dramatically :)

    if there is a good nickname for him, i don’t think i heard it yet…wait a minute, räz’s was pretty on time: ntilikilla…

    recorded last night’s game, time is mostly better spent looking forward…ugh, the ugly spurs on thursday, they have a habit of making things difficult for us…

  92. not sure what that is

    It’s Bill Simmons’ website he launched when he left ESPN.

  93. I don’t mind a play-in thing, I just object to the idea of the #7 seed having to be involved. It should be just two games, the 9 and 10 play and the winner of that plays the #8 team for the right to be the #8 seed. I just think that #7 is too high to possibly miss the playoffs. #8, who gives a shit? But #7 can be a legit team that can theoretically miss the playoffs. For instance, the idea that a team that’s 10 games over .500 like the Lakers could theoretically miss the playoffs in favor of a team three games under .500 just doesn’t make sense to me.

  94. i can’t believe how subdued it is on here…WE JUST CLINCHED A FREAKIN PLAYOFF SPOT…a fucking miracle…we get at least 4 playoff games…

    c’mon fellas…party on…

  95. What a nice way to wake up!

    Post season basketball at the Garden!

    (And a whole week to heal the wounded)

    Let’s go Knicks!

  96. A question has been plaguing my household all evening, and the internet is being no help in answering it: does Kenny Rogers sing a version of Stuck On You, or is his “version” literally just Lionel Richie singing with Rogers’ name on it?

  97. Rogers never covered it, no. The joke between them was that Rogers asked Richie to write him a song and Richie wrote him some song Rogers didn’t like that much, so Richie showed him an unfinished Commodores song, “Lady,” and Rogers loved that one (Richie then had to quickly finish the song, as he had never finished writing it when the other members of the Commodores turned it down back in the day). It was a big hit and Richie started to think of some other songs for Rogers, but ended up keeping them for himself. One of them was “Endless Love” and the other was “Stuck On You” and Rogers would always joke about how “offended” he was that Richie didn’t give him the songs he wrote for him. The people who credit both are the same sorts of people who credit Bob Dylan for, like “Stuck in the Middle With You.” In fact, years later, Richie did an album of country duets of his old songs, and he did “Stuck on You” on that album, but with Darius Rucker instead (he did “Lady” with Rogers instead).

  98. Berman of the Post trying to stir the pot re: Jaren Jackson Jr’s future in Memphis, and the possibility of him coming to the Knicks (who recently hired his dad as an assistant coach in Westchester).

  99. We’re back in the playoffs and this feels sustainable, not fool’s gold like 2013*. It’s a great feeling, and now i only ask the team one thing, please put up a strong fight and win at least 2 games in the playoff series. Just that, but if they manage to be 4th and/or go to the 2nd round, that’d be amazing.

    * – I liked the season a lot, because we were the 2nd seed and had a good chance to go to the ECF… maybe the finals. But then Roy Hibbert happened and blew all the good memories i was “recording” from that year. Maybe Noel (or Mitch) can be this year’s Roy Hibbert and help the Knicks get to the ECF to balance that blunder? ;)

  100. Alan:
    Berman of the Post trying to stir the pot re: Jaren Jackson Jr’s future in Memphis, and the possibility of him coming to the Knicks (who recently hired his dad as an assistant coach in Westchester).

    No offense to Berman, but i think i could have written that article from here in Portugal, it doesn’t seem to have any particular source and it’s just conjecture because a rookie has had some injuries (!?) and because we hired his father in a super tiny role (!?!?). I don’t know if it’s the covid situation or Berman completely lost his inside informers with the change of front-office, but this isn’t worthy of an article, imho.

  101. The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    Forgive me if this has been said in the thread and I missed it, but Oladipo is having knee surgery… again. He really shouldn’t have turned down that extension.

    He definitely shouldn’t, but this also brings some light to our discussion on if Julius will accept the “80M less” extension. If a guy dealing with a lot of injuries recently, and that didn’t look to be at his best self version when healthy, declines less money. What will a guy that is in the best year of his sports life and that seem built like a rock do? I wonder… :D

  102. oops… Brian is right again… I was only looking at new orleans, didn’t see sacramento. Spurs do need this game tonight.

  103. geo: if there is a good nickname for him, i don’t think i heard it yet…wait a minute, räz’s was pretty on time: ntilikilla…

    I coined the Awful Tower but it never caught on…

  104. Alan:
    Berman of the Post trying to stir the pot re: Jaren Jackson Jr’s future in Memphis, and the possibility of him coming to the Knicks (who recently hired his dad as an assistant coach in Westchester).

    I find this super interesting. I kinda doubt Berman is just making this up out of whole cloth, so there is probably some level of truth to it. My guess is it means Memphis would listen to trade offers, not that they’d be looking to trade him necessarily.

    He was out for a LONG time with that meniscus injury — have to wonder whether it was a little of a Kawhi situation where the team thought he was ready to go but he and his handlers did not think so. It would not be odd if Berman’s source is actually Jaren Jackson Sr.

    I for one would absolutely trade lots of stuff for JJJ. Young mobile defensive big who blocks shots and hits 3s and doesn’t have a God complex or a meddling older brother? Yes please!

    Gotta wonder whether Thibs takes the pedal off the gas these last few games if everyone is hobbled, just to get a fully healthy team for the playoffs. Lol I’m just kidding. There’s no way he takes the pedal off the metal.

    Maybe he could encourage a strained hammy in Payton by playing him all 48 for the next 3 games though?

  105. Such a feeling of relief this morning. Also a beautiful day and I’m off for a school holiday.

    Hard to believe that back on April 7 we just lost to the Celts on a Marcus Smart 3-pointer and were 25-27 after losing 5 of 6. Then came the improbable comeback vs. Memphis in OT, and we were on our way. If someone had said at that point “Hey, don’t worry fellas, we are going go 13-4 and will clinch #6 or higher after a 3-3 WC trip…”

    Wait, didn’t swifty say as much?

  106. It’s also a pleasure indeed to go over to CelticBlog and to take in their utter despair. BTW Mike Bunge is a poster there, brilliant as always!

  107. Unlucky season for Mitch,
    he’ll end up playing only 31 games (mostly before the Rose Trade),
    couldn’t show any offensive improvement,
    will probably miss the playoffs and now he’ll play next year for peanuts (hoping to have a career year before free agency) or decide to sign an extension for substantially lower money that expected,
    a bad break for him (no pun intended)…

    Meanwhile, with the All-Star selection and the Knicks in the playoffs Julius got two bonuses for close to 2M total.
    Good for him and very very well deserved.

  108. I feel badly for Mitch, but maybe being in a contract year will focus him a bit more this offseason.

  109. I don’t mind a play-in thing, I just object to the idea of the #7 seed having to be involved. It should be just two games, the 9 and 10 play and the winner of that plays the #8 team for the right to be the #8 seed. I just think that #7 is too high to possibly miss the playoffs. #8, who gives a shit? But #7 can be a legit team that can theoretically miss the playoffs. For instance, the idea that a team that’s 10 games over .500 like the Lakers could theoretically miss the playoffs in favor of a team three games under .500 just doesn’t make sense to me.

    i did some work on this a while ago. under the current format and using the average expected (some subjectivity required, but very little) spreads for the 7-10 seeds for the last 30 yrs, here are the average odds of making the playoffs under the current format:

    10: 14%, 9: 22%, 8: 78%, 7: 87%.

    under your proposal, the 7 seed gains 13% to 100% and the 8 seed loses 18% to 60%. so you are swapping a 78%, 87%, 100% cadence among 6, 7, 8 for a 60%, 100%, 100%. One question to ask: do the last few decades of nba results support this cadence, either by pure record or vegas spread? the answer is that they clearly don’t. there is nothing at all special on average about the 7-8 gap justifying a steeper gap. in fact there is a slight 6-7 seed bulge, which means 60%,100%, 100%% is a real windfall to 7 compared to 78%, 87%, 100%.

    i am a fan of adding win curbs to the current rule (must be within X games of the next highest team to qualify). but failing that, i think a format that smooths the playoff odds like the one they are trying is better than your suggestion. flatten the curve!

  110. ptmilo:

    i am a fan of adding win curbs to the current rule (must be within X games of the next highest team to qualify).

    I agree about the win curbs to avoid “too unfair” situations. I was surprised they didn’t use it this year because they had it in the bubble.
    They’ll probably tinker with the format this offseason.

    I wasn’t a fan of the play-in (to avoid tanking I’d like more drastic changes to the lottery)
    but in general it worked and I shifted my opinion on it.

  111. I think the main benefit of having 4 teams in is that two teams are in double elimination (#7 and #8) and two teams are in single elimination (#9 and #10). If it was just the 9/10 winner playing against #8 then essentially the #8 team would be in single elimination which is even less fair. You could say that the 9/10 winner has to beat #8 twice, but then the 9/10 winner has to win 3 games in a row, which is certainly much harder.

    I don’t mind this at all. It creates 3 levels of incentives for teams (getting to #6, getting to #8, and getting to #10) which can only increase the importance of the late season games and decrease the # of teams straight-out tanking. I think this play-in thing has been a monster success, especially in combination with the flattened lottery odds.

    I honestly think there should be another level of incentive, which is that the worst team in the league actually gets a lower chance (not a lot, maybe just a percent or two) of getting the top pick than the #2 and #3 teams. This would have encouraged the Rockets to suck less this year.

  112. Nice analysis pt.

    Rarely is “fairness” the driving force of sports league policy. $$$ rules the day.

    I, for one, like the current arrangement. In looking at pt’s numbers, when you consider that an excellent team like the Lakers might fall to #7 due to injury, etc., bottom line is that that “average” of 87% should go up to like 98% if they are actually superior to the typical #7 and substantially better than the #8. So the cost to them should be one extra game, which shouldn’t be a big deal…and in the Lakers ’21 case may actually give them a chance to gel before the playoffs start.

    One possible modification would be to have the #7 play the #10 and #8 play #9.
    -If 7 wins, they get the 7 seed and #10 is eliminated. If #8 also wins, they get the 8 seed. If #8 loses, they play #9 again for the #8 seed.
    -If 7 loses and 8 wins, #8 gets the 7 seed, #9 is eliminated. Then #10 and #7 play again for the 8 seed

    This format would probably increase the odds for #7 to well over 90%, as they only have to beat either the #9 or #10 seed once, i.e. they would avoid the tougher #8 seed.

  113. If both the #7 and #8 lose, you could have them replay their games vs #10 and #9 respectiely, winner gets in, loser is out, ranking by higher seed.

  114. you guys know that this was the Knicks’ original logo?

    I did, actually. That is Father Knickerbocker, our namesake.

    Incidentally, I still think we have the best team name in American sports. Yankees is pretty great, too, even though the audacity of it has worn off with time. Dodger was a great one, when it made sense. The Metropolitans ain’t too bad, either.

    NY done good on the team names… until the NFL happened.

  115. Wait, didn’t swifty say as much?

    Aw, that’s cute Z-Man. You blocked out that I literally mapped out the second half of the season game by game back in February when you were in despair and predicting the team would collapse down the stretch, and it’s happened almost exactly as I predicted.

    Swifty did out-optimist me by a couple games, though. But the Knicks are going to even out do his optimistic prediction, too!

  116. Alan:
    Did you guys know that this was the Knicks’ original logo?

    That logo was on the game program in the 1960s that my dad used to bring home to me. It was also in the yearbooks during that era. As is the case with my baseball cards and Beatles’ vinyl, I wish I would have kept these items.
    While I could not find Eddie Layton’s version of the Knicks theme song from the same era as the Knickerbocker logo, this video should bring a smile to many faces as we may be at the dawn of a new resurgence
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSCdq1s5ekI

  117. We qualified for the playoffs and all I can think about is the fact that Anderson Varejao is in the NBA….

  118. Z-man:
    PLAYOFFS BABY! POP THE CHAMPAGNE!

    Can I get a refill?

    LET’S GO KNICKS!!!!!

  119. ptmilo:
    i did some work on this a while ago.under the current format and using the average expected (some subjectivity required, but very little) spreads for the 7-10 seeds for the last 30 yrs, here are the average odds of making the playoffs under the current format:

    10: 14%, 9: 22%, 8: 78%, 7: 87%.

    i am a fan of adding win curbs to the current rule (must be within X games of the next highest team to qualify).but failing that, i think a format that smooths the playoff odds like the one they are trying is better than your suggestion.flatten the curve!

    Awesome work, pt. Thanks.
    I think the play-in is a huge success as the teams eliminated from the playoffs with a lot of games still to play will be around 5 each year, whereas before it was around 9. So this saves 4 fanbases of the boredom of “lottery hell” (not very good lottery odds and not a chance to be in the playoffs).
    If they somehow insert one more gameday on the play-in to have 11th and 12th, that would be even better.

  120. ***Rogers never covered it, no.***

    Thanks Brian! I knew this site was the place to go to to answer that very bothersome question. (You should include this in your Unsung Knicks History, not because it’s knicks history, but because it was unsung by Kenny Rogers:)

  121. BTW, I think this new format is fine – actually awesome. And screw LeBron and Dallas and all those whiny we-always-make-the-playoff bozos.

    The issue is the number of days that the playoff teams have to wait for the play-in teams to resolve. You don’t want more than 4 days off. So 3 games is all and there should be.

    If I were to make changes it would be changing the format from a 2-3-2 to a 3-2-2 where higher seeded team gets 5 home games in a 7 game series. The reason for this is to prevent “resting” of players like you see the Nets doing. Let’s not fool ourselves. The Nets have been toying with the injured list ever since they traded for Harden.

    Oh, and let’s not make believe that when IQ, DRose, Burks and Bullock sit tonight it’s because they’re really hurt. If it was game 7 of the finals they would be out there.

  122. THE KNICKS ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS!!!

    With the lowest payroll in the NBA. 60 mil in cap space this summer, 5 first round picks over the next 3 seasons and a boatload of 2nd round picks in the 2023 double draft. We have a great coaching staff, a 26 year old probably all NBA player, a 20 year old who is now on a realistic path to become an all-star (and who gets along great with the 26 year old all NBA player) and we got a rookie who could be a 6th man of the year player in the near future.

    As loyal fans to this team over the years, GOD DAMN IT WE DESERVE THIS. And don’t let anyone take that away from you! No matter what happens in the playoffs, this season is a success and we should all be happy.

    But you know what? I’m greedy. I want that first round series win. And fuck it. I want it to be against The Heat cause FUCK THE HEAT.

  123. I really like the current format, too. Unlike all the stupid gimmicks MLB keeps introducing, this doesn’t compromise the integrity of the regular season. It does have an element of unfairness to the 7 seed, but so what? You’re the 7th seed. No one cares.

  124. Fascinating piece of info from Bobby Marks:

    The Randle cap hit for 2021-22 is now adjusted to $21.78M.

    All those bonuses count for next year, not this year.

  125. on that Richie all duet album…my favorite is “Hello” with jennifer nettles…they add in a nice guitar riff…

  126. Alan, you’re really making me consider spending money on the Athletic. I hate you for that.

    What’s his take-away on the “Let’s start each game with Barrett missing a bunch of forced layups”?

  127. I also think the play-in is fantastic and I don’t even really agree that it’s “unfair” to the #7 seed. There is always going to be a hard line in the sand somewhere. Under the old system did people say it was unfair to the #9 seed that they could miss the playoffs entirely while the #8 seed was in based on a fractional difference over a long season?

    If anything I think it’s more fair to have an incentive structure with more tiered rewards; previously the 5-8 seeds were much more similar with 9 being much, much worse than 8. Now 5 & 6 are clearly better than 7 which is a bit better than 8, which is clearly better than 9 which is a bit better than 10. I would argue that making the decline in reward from being the 5 seed to the 10 seed smoother overall (albeit still with some sharp lines of demarcation) is significantly fairer overall than what existed previously.

  128. Yeah I like the play-in format too. Sorry Lebron that you have to work harder when your team isn’t a top 6 team in your conference. Its so much better for the fans that the 9th and 10th seeds are still competing hard at the end of the season. It also makes the teams in the 5/6 range play harder too because they don’t want to slip down. The only teams now that rest are the very top and very bottom teams. It eliminates resting players/tanking for like a third of the teams. that can only be good for the league.

  129. The play-in has done wonders for the watchability of the last third or so of the season and can be justified on those grounds alone. It seemed seriously unhealthy and unsustainable that under the old system fans of ~12 teams were rooting against their teams after the all-star break. I’d still take it a step further and detach draft position from record entirely, but this has definitely mitigated the problem.

    There will probably be some years where the gaps between the teams make the exercise seem pointless and unfair so for that reason I wouldn’t mind reasonable win caps, but I view that as a relatively minor concern. If there’s a major win difference between you and the team you’re playing, beat them.

    Re: our injury report…yeesh. Really underscores the need to bolster our depth through the draft. At full-strength our depth isn’t even all that bad, but good teams need to be able to slot in bona fide. NBA players when they’re dealing with injuries. I’d feel a lot better about tonight if we had Chris Duarte and Ayo Dosunmu instead of Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox.

  130. @SBondyNYDN
    Spencer Dinwiddie says “it’s pretty concrete” that he’ll opt out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent. Indicates he’s looking for above $20 million per year. A scoring point guard is hitting the market.

    I’m interested in Dinwiddie, but how do people feel about that price?

  131. I love the play-in format. Anything that keeps teams playing competitively at the end of the season is a win in my book.

  132. Alan: I’m interested in Dinwiddie, but how do people feel about that price?

    at the same efficacy pre-injury…i would give it serious consideration…but didn’t he throw some shade at the knicks last year about being the junior squad in nyc?

  133. A one-year, very high AAV deal for Dinwiddie could make a lot of sense for both sides. He gets some security and the ability to prove he’s healthy, we keep our 2022 books clean in case he’s a dud.

  134. swiftandabundant:
    THE KNICKS ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS!!!

    With the lowest payroll in the NBA. 60 mil in cap space this summer, 5 first round picks over the next 3 seasons and a boatload of 2nd round picks in the 2023 double draft. We have a great coaching staff, a 26 year old probably all NBA player, a 20 year old who is now on a realistic path to become an all-star (and who gets along great with the 26 year old all NBA player) and we got a rookie who could be a 6th man of the year player in the near future.

    As loyal fans to this team over the years, GOD DAMN IT WE DESERVE THIS. And don’t let anyone take that away from you! No matter what happens in the playoffs, this season is a success and we should all be happy.

    But you know what? I’m greedy. I want that first round series win. And fuck it. I want it to be against The Heat cause FUCK THE HEAT.

    I’m totally in!

    I think what surprises me most about this season isn’t Randle’s leap (which I hope is real and permanent, not just some one year wonder), or Rose’s maturity/renaissance/whatever. Rather, it is the restraint shown by Leon Rose.

    He’s been the antithesis of what Brody VanWhatever was for the Mets, thankfully. No series of stupid, short-sighted moves that yield to 0 playoff appearances despite trading away one of the top elite prospects in all baseball. No “come get us,” foolish bravado. Etc.

    Thanks, Leon!

  135. at the same efficacy pre-injury…i would give it serious consideration…but didn’t he throw some shade at the knicks last year about being the junior squad in nyc?

    MAJOR shade. Screw that guy… We can do better anyway.

  136. dinwiddie is good but acl injuries for late bloomers can be a bit dicey… sometimes it’s just a speed bump sometimes they fade into bolivia…

    rose has been decent the last few years and he’s probably going to come a lot cheaper.. the idea is that we’ll draft a pg… or we’ll know by the time free agency rolls around… so if that’s the case rose is probably a decent idea to be a caretaker until we draft/sign the future for the position…

    obv the years and money matter and maybe rose doesn’t come all that cheap after the year he’s had… but there isn’t much in the way of alternatives on the market… nor are there too many teams looking to replace their pg… so i think it’s going to be mutually beneficial for a return on the rose front….

  137. Yeah, Leon has been great although I guess some people would argue that he’s mainly been great because he hasn’t made any wrong moves. But I think patience is a huge part of being a good GM. He trusted his instincts that the talent we had (namely Randle and RJ) was better than what they had shown last year and that a good coaching staff and small moves around those 2 (Noel, Burks, etc) would be better than making a big, splashy move just for the sake of doing so. I mean can you imagine if we’d blown all our cap space on Haywood? Or traded our IQ pick and the #8 to move up some spots?

    Instead, he worked with what he had and waited. He made small moves like getting Rose. Even this Villadoza move is uber smart (even if he doesn’t pan out). Trusting the team chemistry at the deadline instead of using the cap space for Drummond and potentially changing the make up of the team mid season. Just all really smart moves because they were non moves.

    This summer will be VERY interesting. Does he stay the course for the most part? Bring the vets/role players back and just make his draft picks? Or does he do something big now that the baseline has been established? All I know is that now a big move is much more likely to work out and we can negotiate free agency from a position of strength and being an attractive destination rather than being desperate to make a big name splash to save ourselves.

  138. Bring back Rose, let Elf go. Villadoza the back up. Draft a PG too.

    I honestly think Rose will be reasonable. He loves Thibs and Taj and if he can be a starter (with a minutes limit thibs!), I don’t see why he would mess around with going someplace else.

    Bring back Rose and Taj for sure. Then hopefully Noel and one of Bullocks/Burks. I leaned towards Burks but now maybe Bullocks is the better one cause of defense and he’s a bit more durable/younger.

    Then sign Kawhi and call it a day. :)

  139. swiftandabundant: But you know what? I’m greedy. I want that first round series win. And fuck it. I want it to be against The Heat cause FUCK THE HEAT.

    Oh man, that’d be amazing. :) And as we’re getting back the 90s Knicks (good defense, good effort all-around), to win a playoff series against the Heat would be the cherry on top. ;)

  140. Hubert:
    Fascinating piece of info from Bobby Marks:
    The Randle cap hit for 2021-22 is now adjusted to $21.78M.
    All those bonuses count for next year, not this year.

    I don’t think it works that way, Hubert. I think Julius earns the bonuses this year, as he should. What Marks is talking about is the cap hit from next year is adjusted because the bonuses were labeled as “unlikely” before this year, and thus didn’t count against the cap, but for next year the bonuses will be labeled “likely” and count against the cap.

  141. Frankie Smokes baby !
    In less than7 hours!
    Our secret game changer is back!

  142. Good distinction, cybersoze. Either way, it’s a new data point for our future cap space. It ends up adding ~$3mm to his cap hold in the summer of 2022.

  143. ***Leon has been great although I guess some people would argue that he’s mainly been great because he hasn’t made any wrong moves. But I think patience is a huge part of being a good GM.***

    In a parallel universe where Leon Rose had traded Randle to Houston for Westbrook during the off-season do you think this Knick’s season would have turned out very differently? Do you think the “Knicks are back” narrative in the media would still be here moving forward? (I am just wondering, as almost everybody was on pins and needles around here waiting for Rose to do the unacceptable, but after a very bad start Westbrook has basically done for Washington everything that Randle has done for NY this year. And whereas Randle is younger and makes less money, Westbrook fills a position that the Knicks are still looking for answers at. So, I’m just wondering whether Leon Rose has been mostly good, or mostly lucky, or mostly insignificant.)

  144. Frankie Smokes baby !

    i gots to know KYN – what in the heck does frankie smokes mean to you…i got to imagine that as soon as his mom heard that nickname she gave her son a pretty hard time reference smoking: “why are they calling you that frank, are you smoking now” – smack…

    i mean, frankie smokes does sound a little cool, for a “mob” or gangster name, but, frank is about the least likely gangster candidate in the world…

  145. Hubert:
    Good distinction, cybersoze. Either way, it’s a new data point for our future cap space. It ends up adding ~$3mm to his cap hold in the summer of 2022.

    Oh, didn’t thought about 2022. That’s bad news for the plan to spend around 20M this year (eg, Lonzo), and then still have room for a max next year. What’s the new number? Randle’s previous cap hold was 29.7M, if i remember it well.

  146. Frankie Smokes is Cool geo!
    You said it
    Cool sounding too
    It’s like Arnie’s “Hasta la Vista baby”
    Fills your mouth and your brain with coolness!

  147. Geo, Frankie Smokes was a play on how close his last name sounded like nicotine.

  148. I already imagine Frankie Smokes playing as GSW Iguodala during the playoffs, makin our opponents lose their minds while destroying them any way possible!

  149. Ix-nay on the Ankie Smokes-Fray, guys:

    @IanBegley
    Knicks announce that Reggie Bullock, Derrick Rose and Alex Burks are all probable to play tonight against SAS. Immanuel Quickley (ankle) remains questionable. He has missed the past 3 games.

  150. oh, okay hubie…i bet his mom was still pissed :)

    frank is all styled up now (saw him on a nba promo featuring guys dressed to a “T” walking in to the arena, they used him as the last feature on the promo), but, i remember his first couple of years on the team – no one would sit by him on the bench or talk to him during time outs or anything…

    nee-la-killa does sound pretty cool though…fits a bit with his defensive focus…

  151. When you manage to “steal” most 4thQ minutes on a critical game from our only player who started all games on the season(RJ) you may still have a chance on making the rotation.

  152. geo: i gots to know KYN – what in the heck does frankie smokes mean to you…i got to imagine that as soon as his mom heard that nickname she gave her son a pretty hard time reference smoking: “why are they calling you that frank, are you smoking now” – smack…

    i mean, frankie smokes does sound a little cool, for for a “mob” or gangster name, but, frank is about the least likely gangster candidate in the world…

    I think the Ringer guys started calling him that because Frank Nicotine was easier to say than his actual name, and then it degraded from there.

  153. Ix-nay on the Ankie Smokes-Fray, guys:

    easy now big guy or i’m gonna start poking fun at you for that pic you took heading in to work…yeah, them eyes weren’t exactly reflecting a calm or relaxed countenance… you looked ready for combat to occur at any second…

  154. I love the play-in and think it’s here to stay. The number of meaningful games late in the season has measurably increased. Only eight teams have been eliminated with a week left – everybody else has something to play for.

    In any event, the notion of “fairness” is entirely subjective. Teams deal with injuries, or random calls going against them, or wildly different strength of schedule – your win-loss record over 82 games isn’t necessarily the best gauge of playoff-worthiness (though admittedly, it is straightforward).

    Adjusting league rules to try and create more drama – and more engagement – is the right thing to do, and it has been handled brilliantly. Getting hot late matters (see the Wiz). Getting cold late matters (see the Lakers). And you still get rewarded for having a strong regular season. Finishing 7th or 8th in a conference isn’t exactly crushing it.

    I’m just chuffed that with a week to go, I care about the outcome of every Knicks game – and find myself watching Heat, Hawks and Celtics scorelines to see how the seeding shakes out. Even if we get stuck with the Bucks, I have a feeling the Knicks will make it interesting…

  155. for the record, i only spend time teasing folks i kind of like…

    sis was over mom’s this weekend which really inspired my to give poor ma more grief than usual…ma picks on sis, i pick on ma, sis picks on me – it’s a beautiful family tradition that goes back decades to dinner meals when we were young…i know she was a little relieved and happy when i finally took sister to the airport…

  156. I love the play-in and think it’s here to stay. The number of meaningful games late in the season has measurably increased. Only eight teams have been eliminated with a week left – everybody else has something to play for.

    Mother fucking tastycakes is back? This season really is full of surprises.

  157. Donnie Walsh:
    ***Leon has been great although I guess some people would argue that he’s mainly been great because he hasn’t made any wrong moves. But I think patience is a huge part of being a good GM.***

    In a parallel universe where Leon Rose had traded Randle to Houston for Westbrook during the off-season do you think this Knick’s season would have turned out very differently? Do you think the “Knicks are back” narrative in the media would still be here moving forward? (I am just wondering, as almost everybody was on pins and needles around here waiting for Rose to do the unacceptable, but after a very bad start Westbrook has basically done for Washington everything that Randle has done for NY this year. And whereas Randle is younger and makes less money, Westbrook fills a position that the Knicks are still looking for answers at. So, I’m just wondering whether Leon Rose has been mostly good, or mostly lucky, or mostly insignificant.)

    Donnie you’re out of your element! (-:

    Are you really saying Westbrook vs Randle is a wash? A 32 year old career 30% 3 point shooter and turnover machine vs a 26 year old star on the rise? Yes, Russ is on a tear recently and I respect the hell out of his effort on the court, but I was SO happy we stayed away from him, he would truly have been fool’s gold.

  158. ***Are you really saying Westbrook vs Randle is a wash?***

    No, I’m talking more in terms of narrative.

  159. (In this universe you need to rewind to a time when Randle wasn’t very good and was expendable, and expectations in NY were very low for 2021. Westbrook has been good enough this year to help a pretty shitty Wizards team into playoff relevance, and if Rose had traded Randle for him and he did the same in New York, the media narrative would still be: “The Knicks Are Back!”, and fans would likely be saying that Rose pushed all the right buttons: hiring Thibs, making the Westbrook trade, etc… So though we know in actual sight that Rose made the right trade by NOT acquiring Westbrook, I’m wondering how different life around here would really be if Rose had “screwed the pooch” and done the Westbrook trade we all feared so much.)

  160. Beat the Heat in 7 games on a RJ put back last second bucket on the road.

    I mean, sure let’s beat The Hawks or upset The Bucks in the first round. That’d be cool too. But nothing would say NY KNICKS are BACK for good than beating The Heat in the first round.

    Then Kyrie pulls a hammy in round two and we SHOCK THE WORLD (probably not but hey, this is the time to dram big).

  161. Ok I get what you’re saying Donnie. Westbrook would have generated a lot of buzz and we probably would have won more games than predicted at the beginning of the season

    But don’t forget some of his wretched early season performances (5-20, 8 turnovers) which would have gotten old really quickly.

  162. With Thibs in charge court-things would have been almost the same imo.
    Leon tho gave us the opportunity to squeeze our trash and make a healthy juice instead of paying with future assets/cap space and lockerroom coin flips to get one.

  163. pepper:
    i can’t believe how subdued it is on here…WE JUST CLINCHED A FREAKIN PLAYOFF SPOT…a fucking miracle…we get at least 4 playoff games…

    c’mon fellas…party on…

    You’re absolutely right.
    I wonder if this in part due to many of us still not making the paradigm shift of internally and unilaterally accepting that our Knicks are good, along with what the expectations were coming into the season.

    Allow me to state a hypothesis that you all likely already know: for the life of this blog, the Knicks have mostly been bad from owner down to product… we didn’t “earn” the #lolKnicks hastag for nothing. I believe that, blended with the natural cynicism that comes with being a New Yorker (and for all of you guys outside the US I’m including you too – you stick with this team as long as you have, you deserve to be considered a New Yorker at least in spirit), makes it tough for a lot of us to shift our tone to anything resembling pure joy.

    Right now, we’re playing with house money: while the team right now has the ability to win the 1st round if they face the right opponent, the fact that they’ve progressed to this level puts them at least a year ahead of schedule (I’d argue 2 years).

    I’m spending the rest of my NY trip in Syracuse now til early Tuesday. No sports fans among my Syracuse peoples and fam tho :(

    JK47 and geo: with LA County now in the yellow tier, are you guys feeling safe enough to venture out?

  164. why not, life is short right :)

    heck, took ma out for moms day and will probably take the boys to go see kong vs godzilla this weekend…beer, burger, a knicks game, and some good company sounds divine…

    it’s good to be vaxxed…

  165. ***I’m spending the rest of my NY trip in Syracuse now til early Tuesday. No sports fans among my Syracuse peoples and fam tho… JK47 and geo: with LA County now in the yellow tier, are you guys feeling safe enough to venture out?***

    I don’t want to speak for JK or anything, but yes, LA feels like there is no covid anywhere to be found. All schools and businesses around me are open and in-person and my wife, who is as cautious as they come, even took the kids to Disneyland the other day. (Oh, and JK would also like for you to say hi to all of his old college buddies while you are in the ‘cuse.).

  166. That CDC announcement is pretty amazing. About six weeks earlier than I expected, although the time has definitely come.

  167. Did you guys hear Thibs in that timeout near the end of the Lakers game where all he talked about was effort and hustle? It was a “win one for the Gipper” type of speech. Very inspiring.

    Of course, we lost anyway.

  168. With Westbrook I think our record would be worse, we’d have way less flexibility (Westbrook has a $47M player option for 2022-2023), and E’s mostly false critique that our success was merc-based would be much closer to being true.

    If we were above .500 I guess some talking heads would still prattle on about how Thibodeau and Westbrook restored credibility to the team or whatever, but our actual situation would be far worse, so I think the mood here would be mixed-to-negative.

  169. If we were above .500 I guess some talking heads would still prattle on about how Thibodeau and Westbrook restored credibility to the team or whatever, but our actual situation would be far worse, so I think the mood here would be mixed-to-negative.

    Definitely

    Then hopefully Noel and one of Bullocks/Burks. I leaned towards Burks but now maybe Bullocks is the better one cause of defense and he’s a bit more durable/younger.

    When dealing with bullocks it’s best to hold onto both of them if you can….

  170. What a gap between the prospect of playing ATL at home for possibly 4 games and playing MIL with 3 home games. These next few nights are going to determine an awful lot for the playoff hopes. I’m guessing a five-game exit against MIL or a possible series win against ATL or MIA. Is this real life?

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