NBA

The Knicks have a lot to figure out at home in the middle of a big stretch

The Knicks have a lot to figure out at home in the middle of a big stretch

The Knicks have a lot to figure out at home in the middle of a big stretch

A lot has changed in the 12 days since the Knicks took the top floor of the Garden.

They left for the Midwest immediately after one of their worst performances of the young season, amid questions that were beginning to boil over the coach. Tom Thibodeau’s job securityand they’re back with a bang after a good 3-2 road trip.

After giving up 145 points to the Thunder a week ago this past Sunday, they played with more energy on defense and performed well in the fourth quarter of all three wins, despite several players battling the flu. Young players like Jericho Sims and Quentin Grimes showed flashes of promise, while Jalen Brunson continued to thrive in his first year as a Knick, capping the trip. with a brilliant masterpiece of 34 points and nine assists.

Now, the 9-9 Knicks need to continue this road trip and defeat some quality teams at home, something they have been unable to do thus far. They’ve played better on the road overall, beating the Timberwolves, 76ers (albeit without Joel Embiid and James Harden), Jazz, Nuggets and Thunder, and performed well in hard-fought losses to the Grizzlies and Cavaliers. They will go four days without a game when Friday night against the Trail Blazers arrives.

Quentin Grimes and the Knicks return home after an impressive road trip.
AP

“It’s a challenge. You come off a trip and obviously you have a recovery day, then you have practice and then the games. They’re coming, and you’ve got to be ready,” Thibodeau said. “This time of year, that’s a challenge. So just be ready and we’ve got to be locked in. We’ve got to be focused and we’ve got to be ready to go when the ball goes up on Friday.

At the Garden, the Knicks are 4-3, with those wins coming over the Pistons (twice), the Magic and the elusive Hornets. These teams own a combined record of 15-42. Meanwhile, the Celtics, Thunder and Hawks all mauled the Knicks at home. It was a problem a year ago, too, with Thibodeau’s team going 17-24. In the Eastern Conference, only the Pistons, Pacers and Magic had fewer home wins last season.

This next stretch will give the Knicks a chance to start hitting home runs. However, like the recent road trip, it won’t be easy. It begins Friday against the Damian Lillard-less Trail Blazers, followed by a visit Sunday from Ja Morant and the Grizzlies. The Bucks come to town Wednesday at the end of a back-to-back matchup against the Pistons in Detroit. Next weekend will feature a challenging back-to-back against the Mavericks and Cavaliers. Three days later, the Hawks and Garden Villain Trae Young are back.

The Knicks have a lot to figure out at home in the middle of a big stretch
Tom Thibodeau during the Knicks’ loss to the Warriors on Nov. 18, 2022.
AP

All six of these teams have winning records and are projected playoff teams. The top seed is Portland, which got off to a great start by winning nine of its first 12 games, but has dropped four in a row. The Blazers are in the midst of a difficult four-game road trip. Additionally, Lillard has missed the last two games with a calf strain and will not be available against the Knicks.

“It is a team that plays hard and can break [you] they get off the dribble, and they shot, and they [are a good] rebound [team]” Thibodeau said. “They have a lot of things that we have to be ready for.”



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