Knicks, Rangers, Nets are making this a season to believe

Knicks, Rangers, Nets are making this a season to believe

The last time a New York pro team lost at Madison Square Garden, Mets fans were in a panic after losing Jacob deGrom; the Yankees hoped Aaron Judge would accept a contract of approximately 300 million dollars as hopes began to wane; and the Jets were 7-4 and cruising toward what appeared to be a guaranteed playoff spot.

A lot has happened since Dec. 3, and almost all of it (sorry Jets fans) has been encouraging for sports in the Big Apple. This holiday season, it’s a good time to appreciate what you’ve got: plenty of relevant and good sports teams, including Broadway’s two, which may be the most surprising.

The Knicks and Rangers haven’t lost a home game, or a game since Dec. 3, when the Garden hosted a matinee with a embarrassing loss for the Knicks against the Mavericks, their fourth straight home loss and an embarrassing loss by the Rangers vs the Blackhawkstheir fifth loss in six games.

After these valleys, New York sports can be at their peak. The Knicks and Rangers have won seven straight games simultaneously for the first time, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The last time the two teams had won six straight at the same time came during the 1993-94 season, when each made a trip to the Finals (a better trip for the Rangers than the Knicks).

Julius Randle has averaged nearly 27 points per game during the Knicks’ seven-game winning streak.

The Knicks have turned a corner as Julius Randle has tapped into his 2020-21 magic, RJ Barrett has transformed into his best offense, and Jalen Brunson has emerged as the point guard they’ve been missing for decades. Tom Thibodeau has ignored resumes and contracts, benching two veterans who earn the team’s third (Evan Fournier) and fifth (Derrick Rose) most money this season.

Instead, the head coach has been confident defensive relentlessness of Quentin Grimes and Deuce McBride, who have pursued wings and guards in ways Thiobodeau appreciates. In their first 23 games, the Knicks did not hold any opponent under 100 points. During the seven-game winning streak, opponents are averaging 98.3 points.

The Rangers, whose streak is the second-longest since the 2015-16 season, are suddenly playing like a complete team. The Kid Line is growing fast, with Alexis Lafrenière, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko together (although Chytil suffered an upper body injury in his last victory). Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox star. Igor Shesterkin plays like the Vezina Trophy winner.

Sunday, they scored a touchdown against the Blackhawks, the same team that beat them on Dec. 3, in a 7-1 victory at the United Center. New York’s rise has coincided with a slump in Chicago: the Blackhawks are winless in the last two and a half weeks, and the Knicks have beaten the Bulls twice in the span.

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin #31 breaks the puck as New York Rangers Mika Zibanejad #93 checks Sam Lafferty #24 of the Chicago Blackhawks in the second period on December 18, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
After a slow start to the season, Igor Shesterkin has recently played like last year’s Vezina Trophy winner.
Getty Images

Midtown teams have been the hottest in this cold month, but every local team has given reason for hope. The Nets look downright functional and dominant, racking up 10 wins in 11 games to climb into fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Kevin Durant he could be the MVP of the NBAand Kyrie Irving has played aa a month’s worth of exciting basketball without a great controversy, which qualifies as progress.

The Devils and Islanders are in the playoff hunt. The men’s hoops of St. John’s (11-1) is behind only No. 2 UConn in the Big East. Rutgers (7-4) already eliminated a ranked opponent i should have won another one.

The Mets and Yankees battle for the back page of The Post seemingly every day by adding star after star. Of the top 17 free agents, by Jon Heyman assessmentNew York teams have signed seven (including Judge, who returned to the Yankees, and Justin Verlander, who replaces deGrom for the Mets). According to Spotrac, the top two projected payrolls in baseball for next season belong to Steve Cohen and Hal Steinbrenner, respectively. All told, about $975 million has been committed to free agents this offseason, just a few relievers under a billion.

The Giants and Jets, a combined 2-7-1 since Week 11, have had less money but are still involved in meaningful December games with big shots at a postseason berth. Compared to the last half-decade of NFL football in the area, New York fans will take it as they approach Christmas.

Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) celebrates with his teammates after his sack and touchdown.
Despite going through a rough patch in recent weeks, Kayvon Thibodeaux and the Giants are still in the midst of a playoff run that few expected them to be on.

In New York, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Enjoy it, as the Knicks and Rangers, among others, have proven repeatedly, it doesn’t always last long.

Today’s last page

New York Post

Read more:

🏈 SCHWARTZ: Young pass rushers reclaiming Giants’ winning formula as they emerge

SHERMAN: The Mets are the biggest spenders in MLB’s two-tiered reality

🏈 O’CONNOR: Robert Saleh shows true leadership by taking the blame for Jets’ costly mistake

🎙 Wayne Randazzo leaving the WCBS Mets radio booth

The perfect tone

On his official presentation of the MetsKodai Senga was asked about the pitch that could make it so enjoyable to watch.

How did it learn its intriguing name ghost fork?

“Practice,” the Japanese pitcher said in English and with a smile on Monday.

Kodai Senga delivers his
Via Twitter, @MBrownstein89

The Mets welcomed Senga, the 29-year-old they signed to a five-year contract, in a ceremony at Citi Field. There are few guarantees when importing Nippon Professional Baseball players, but with uniqueness, which Senga brings, often comes effectiveness. The Mets have assembled a pitching staff with unique and elite potential.

Senga can touch 100 mph with his fastball, which is encouraging but not necessarily different. Most notable is the ghost fork ball, which earned its nickname because it disappears.

Senga’s curveball essentially serves as a smoother splitter and looks like his fastball, until it disappears and leaves the strike zone. The tone doesn’t generate much spin, which helps it drop further than an average split finger.

The fork ball is rarely seen in MLB. If his dominance translates into the majors, he would join a rotation full of dominant singles pitches.

Baseball Savant came up with a statistic to gauge the success of pitches called “Execution value”, which basically measures the effectiveness of each release. The Mets have been collecting elite pitches.

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning of Game 5 of the 2022 World Series.
With a four-seam fastball second to none, it’s no wonder Justin Verlander is still winning Cy Young awards at 39 years old.

• Justin Verlander’s four-seamer was the best four-seamer in baseball last season.

• Edwin Diaz’s slider was the third best in baseball last season.

• Max Scherzer’s slider was the fifth-best slider in baseball last season.

• Jose Quintana’s four-seamer was the 11th-best four-seamer in baseball last season.

• Carlos Carrasco’s changeup was the 21st best changeup in baseball last season.

Of course, the Mets will take balanced arsenals with multiple offers to get hitters out. But sometimes, a dominant pitch is all a pitcher needs. Where will Senga’s fork fit?

Mind cannot always overcome matter

The Jets don’t know who their quarterback will be against the Jaguars on Thursday.

Will he be the designated franchise quarterback, handed the keys by being selected No. 2 in 2021, or seemingly the unluckiest quarterback in the league?

Mike White #5 of the New York Jets warms up before an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium on December 11, 2022 in Orchard Park, New York.
Mike White has shown he can lead the Jets in the win column, but his season is on hold until doctors clear him to play again.
Getty Images

In Monday’s practice, head coach Robert Saleh would not name his starter, although he seems likely to start Mike White over Zach Wilson if White is healthy enough to play. white he couldn’t find a doctor that would let him play through the rib injury on Sunday, and Wilson took control of the team again in a 20-17 loss to the Lions.

White, a fifth-round pick of the Cowboys in 2018, has repeatedly been waived and placed on practice squads throughout his career. He found his way to the Jets and moved up last year, finally got his chance and ran with it an impressive win over the Bengals. The next week it hurt his right forearm. Two weeks later, he was out of a job when Wilson returned.

This season, White again waited his turn and he seized it againlighting up the Bears in a Week 12 win. Two weeks later, the Bills’ defense he scrambled his ribs with a few underwhelming successes, and his future is once again unclear.

The Jets’ immediate and future quarterback is also unclear. White’s skill, intelligence and toughness shine through, but his body is letting him down.

#Knicks #Rangers #Nets #making #season

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