Finishing on a positive note:
The NY Knicks finished the week on a high – taking care of business against a decrepit Detroit team by 44 points on Saturday night. It was a much-needed win which also happened to be their largest victory for quite some time:
Prior to facing the Pistons, it had been a tough and frustrating week, with three consecutive losses against the Heat, the god-awful Timberwolves, and the Mavericks – ugh those last two really sucked. I have already erased those 4th quarter efforts against Minnesota and Dallas from memory…
As has been the case all season long The NY Knicks defense was solid, allowing only the Wolves to score more than 100 points against them and keeping Miami and Dallas to 98 and 99 respectively before giving up just 81 points against Detroit.
So how does New York end up losing 3/4 games for the week where they held teams on average below 100 points? well, offensive futility would be the answer. It’s an issue that has plagued the team all year long – they’re ranked 3rd last in points per game (104.6). Their scoring woes aren’t helped by the fact that they play the slowest pace in the league (meaning they have the least number of possessions per game), but even when adjusted for pace with the offensive rating stat they still rank 21st at 108.5 – per NBA/Stats.
NY Knicks: NBA Season taking a toll
New York has been a little banged up of late. Julius Randle, who leads the league in minutes played, looked a little off in the first three games – he has been dealing with a thigh contusion which forced him to miss a game against the Bucks a week ago. He seemed to have bounced back and looked more than okay in the final game of the week against Detroit, piling on 20 first-half points and finishing with 29 points in 30 mins.
After an overall really strong month of March, RJ Barrett also had a tough stretch which included battling a sore ankle that he rolled in the game against Minnesota. Barrett has proven durable thus far in his career and played out the following games vs Dallas and Detroit without any obvious signs of discomfort.
After a week with its fair share of struggles The NY Knicks still hold a record of 25-25 (.500), which is still an overwhelmingly positive position for the team to be in. They have a real shot at making the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-2013 season. So let’s keep looking forward, it was a bad week in an otherwise good season. They’re a tough team and they’ve shown they can fight back all season long. The beat down of Detroit on Saturday night will surely be a confidence booster.
So with a month and a bit left remaining in the regular season, this is how the team currently stacks up in the playoff race in the Eastern Conference – it’s tight from 4th to 8th.
4th -Atlanta Hawks (26-24)
5th -Miami Heat (26-24)
6th – Charlotte Hornets (25-24)
7th – New York Knicks (25-25)
8th – Boston Celtics (25-25)
The Hawks have been one of the hottest teams in the league since they fired head coach Lloyd Pierce. New head coach Nate McMillan has them playing inspired basketball – they’ve won 6 of their last 10.
Miami has been one of the big under-performers of the season, but they’re still a damn tough team and Jimmy Butler isn’t going to let them miss out on a playoff berth. The Heat also added Victor Oladipo, Nemanja Bjelica, and Trevor Ariza at the trade deadline
The Hornets season looks precariously placed as they’ve been hit with injury. First, it was rookie sensation LaMelo Ball going down with a fractured wrist and now it’s Gordon Hayward who is set to miss extended time with a foot sprain. Their depth will be tested.
The Celtics, like the Heat, have been somewhat disappointing this year, but they still have a 25-25 record and a bunch of talent with the likes of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker. They also added Evan Fournier from the Magic at the deadline.
Weekly Per Game Stat Leaders:
- 21.5 points – 42.3% FG and 36.7% on 7.5 3PA.
- 5.8 assists (4.0 turnovers)
- 9.0 rebounds
- 13.3 points – 41.7% FG and 42.9% on 3.5 3PA.
- 2.5 assists
- 3.3 rebounds
- 12.0 points – 51.5% FG and 44.4% on 6.8 3PA
- 11/24 (45.8%) on catch and shoot threes.
Random Stat of the week:
New York is 21-17 (.552) in games this season in which Julius Randle has his hair in braids. They’re just 4-8 (.333) in games in which he doesn’t…
He’s played the last 4 matchups with braids – bring it back Julius!
ICYMI – News of the Week:
On Friday the Knicks announced that they had signed free agent big man Novel Pelle to a 10-day contract – I’ll have more on Pelle later in the piece.
NY Knicks’ assistant coaches have been highly sought after this year, with Kenny Payne and Johnnie Bryant both linked to the top job at DePaul University and The University of Utah respectively. Both ultimately chose to remain at Madison Square Garden on Coach Thibodeau’s staff – thankfully!
After the good news of Payne and Bryant staying came the bad news (for the Knicks) of Mike Woodson’s departure from the staff, as he accepted the head coaching gig at Indiana University – Good for him. Woodson had been looking after the Knick’s offense, which has coincidentally struggled since his departure…