New York Knick’s basketball: Something needs to change

Ryan Tanwar, Sports Writer

The New York Knicks went 1-2 in their last week of games.

The games were filled with frustration and heartbreak. In the upcoming paragraphs, I will share my thoughts on each game.

November 2 vs. the Atlanta Hawks :

The Knicks jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter under the leadership of RJ Barrett and Jalen Brunson. Mitchell Robinson played great defense during the first quarter and the team as a whole held Trae Young to shoot 2 of 12 from the field. They smothered Young from the three-point line and doubled him as he tried to run to the basket, forcing him to pass out.

Immanuel Quickley showed off his rebounding skills as he gathered 16 against the Hawks. Quickley is improving slowly and is sure to heat up in the upcoming stretch of games.

Brunson showed off his flashy and crafty footwork with the ball, getting easy lanes to the basket and leaving defenders dumbfounded.

The Knicks’ 23-point lead looked to be unreachable for the Hawks. That only lasted, however, until the Knicks collapsed.

The offense had gone ice-cold and Evan Fournier airballed multiple shots.
The starters were struggling on both sides of the floor and coach Tom Thibodeau did not put in the bench unit until the end of the first half.

The second half started with sloppy turnovers from Barrett and Randle and they looked worse than they did in the first half.

The rest of this game was dominated by the Hawks. The Knicks’ defense turned lazy and showcased unmotivated basketball.

A 23-point lead by the Knicks turned into a 26-point turnaround from the Hawks who ended up winning by 13.

These types of games crush your spirit and are not fun to look back at. A combination of Randle’s streaky play and coach Thibs’ weak rotations made this easy for the Hawks, especially in the second half.

Nov 4 vs. the Philadelphia 76ers :

When the starting lineup was announced for this game, I was excited for a change with Quentin Grimes starting and replacing Fournier.

Grimes went straight to work to show he belonged in the rotation with great defensive stops against the 76ers’ fastbreaks.

Randle has been struggling lately which is not good to see. He is committing foolish fouls and turning the ball over at a high clip. He is also dribbling too much and playing iso-heavy. Instead, he needs to pass out when the shot is not there.

Randle committed four turnovers in the first which were bad passes and could have been avoidable.

Coach Thibs needs to take out Randle when he is struggling and put in Toppin. Toppin should not rot on the bench when Randle is struggling.

The Knicks could not handle the ball and committed 13 turnovers only three minutes into the second quarter.

The part in my notes which has stayed the same all season is that Fournier can not play defense whatsoever. A funny lowlight was when he turned the ball over and just fell over until the opponents scored.

The Knicks started picking up their defense to start the third quarter and gave good contests on shots.

Barrett lit it up and scored 22 points while shooting efficiently from the field. Hopefully, his weird slump to start the season is over.

Randle tried to force up three-pointers which all missed. He needs to switch to passing the ball and help make plays for teammates when he is having an obvious night off.

Cam Reddish is very deserving of minutes in the rotation. I especially love Reddish’s defense- spotting bad passes and attacking the basket with ease including a steal that led to a Toppin three.

Reddish is mostly drawing the assignment of the opponent’s best scorer and has definitely shown that he is deserving of the big role. Reddish is very deserving to have a role in the rotation over Fournier.

Reddish finished with 11 points with two big buckets down the stretch of the fourth quarter to help cut the lead.

Toppin shined bright in the fourth quarter, knocking down a few three’s including the three which gave the Knicks the lead with under two minutes to play. Toppin finished with 17 points.

Jalen Brunson was clutch down the stretch of this close game and made crucial free throws to ensure the Knicks a win.

Robinson did not return to this game having only played 12 minutes. Hopefully, his injury is not too bad and he can come back soon.

I did not mention this enough, but Brunson’s vision is a breath of fresh air. The last eight years have been filled with mediocre point guards. Brunson’s playmaking is good throughout each game. He finds shooters open by inviting defense inside the paint which leads to big leads. Brunson finished with 23 points and seven assists.

Coach Thibs finally answered our prayers by playing Toppin and Randle together and when both were on the floor, the Knicks outscored the 76ers 39-15.

Nov 5 vs. the Boston Celtics :

This game was bad from the start. Robinson had been ruled out for at least seven to 10 days because of the injury he suffered against the 76ers.

It was nice to see Reddish getting rewarded for his heroics yesterday night and starting tonight.

This game’s recap will be shorter than the other two games, simply because the Knicks can not defend the three.

The Knicks tried matching the threes by shot-chucking and not looking for the smarter shots.

What really frustrates me is how Fournier continues to get minutes. He is a big liability on defense and is very streaky on offense this season.

The sophomore Jericho Sims provided good backup center minutes tonight.

The Knicks have been known to get torched by rather unknown players and tonight it was Sam Hauser who could not seem to miss a shot.

The offense was solid tonight and the trio of Randle, Brunson and Barrett all scored 20-plus points.

It’s the defense that was an eyesore tonight. Shooters were left wide open and for some reason players were not rotating onto shooters which is never a good idea.

The Celtics made 27 threes tonight. That is a new franchise record for them and it was two shy of tying the NBA’s all-time record which does not help ease the pain.

The moral of this story is that you can not win by giving up 25-plus threes.

The Knicks lost by 15 points in a blowout that was harder to watch in the second half.