The Knicks have already experienced a slippery slope. They lost five in a row not long ago, their record turned upside down, 5-3 to 5-8, and they looked a little crazy and much outdone almost every time they took the floor. And we’ve seen where that has taken them over the last few years.
Then the Knicks entered Boston and stunned the Celtics.
He went home and kept the magic on MLK Day.
He flew west to start the western swings of four games and the Warriors stepped on the lid. And suddenly 5-8 came back to 8-8, the Knicks looked the way they did in the first eight games of the season, they looked hungry and angry and eager to surprise almost everyone around the NBA, starting with the stunned skeptics calling New York at home.
That was only six days ago.
Now, the Knicks are coming home again after being inflated by jazz, 1
They return in three games under .500 again, with the eyes of the fans, who sincerely hope that they will not see more of the same. In fact, this is the inevitable rhythm of a season in which so little was expected, so little was expected. The grind catches up with everyone, especially the teams that play with talent every night.
So now, for the second time in a week and a half, we’ll learn a little about the Knicks, who will take the Cavaliers and Clippers home, who will travel to Chicago for a two-way swing on the road with the Bulls, then return to the garden for complicated back to back with Blazers and Heat between now and Super Bowl Sunday.
We seem to be learning something new about the Knicks with every game, with every home, with every trip, with every winning streak, with every lost drag. This is the learning curve of youth. And now it will be on full display. That is Tom Thibodeau’s mission. This is the challenge of the team.
“The games keep coming and the challenges keep coming,” Thibodeau said late Tuesday night, not looking particularly pleased with the way the Knicks have fallen off the net in the last three games in the West.
“You have to be ready. No matter what your schedule, you need to find a way to win. You want to try to keep building the right habits. In the NBA, everyone has difficult sections, and that’s the way you handle it. We’ve bounced before. We have to jump back. ”
Jazz won for the ninth time in a row after glowing red after giving Knicks a big lead in the garden on January 6th. In many ways, they represent something like a plan for the Knicks, a team that has gradually outgrown the Western Conference, using a basketball plan as old as pick and roll: smart composing, smart deals, smart signatures, smart coach.
“They’re well put together,” Thibodeau said with admiration in his voice.
Since the Knicks are a team from a large market with the power of Madison Square Garden behind them, there will always be hope that a stroke acquisition can finally eject them wherever they want to go. This despite years of evidence to the contrary.
So it’s probably not a bad idea for Leon Rose and the rest of the team to adopt Plan B. And Jazz’s plan has been so successful that the Knicks have helped several Utah architects in Walt Perrin, now Rose’s assistant, and Johnny Bryant. now one of Thibodeau’s lieutenants.
Utah coach Quinn Snyder has similar makeup as Thibaut, he won mostly during his first term as head coach at Missouri College and is constantly building a quiet force in Salt Lake City, taking 206-98 from the start of the 2016 season. -17.
“These guys take business to win very seriously,” Snyder said last week.
You can see Thibodeau come up with something very similar when the time is right and the team is right. For now, they are trying to stay above water. So far, the steps are much more modest. Jazz is at a time when there is a season to enjoy. The Knicks have a rescue season.