Knicks facing biggest challenge of season after disappointing loss to Celtics

knicks

Up by seven points with eight minutes and 12 seconds left on the clock, the New York Knicks once again blew a healthy lead to lose the game. After falling to the Brooklyn Nets by two points on Monday evening, they replicated their loss against the Celtics on Wednesday, falling by two points and failing yet again to close out a competitive game.

The Knicks went into Wednesday tied with Boston in the Atlantic standings but gave them a one-game advantage in the defeat. While most would consider this matchup another classic between two rival cities, the Knicks are looking themselves in the mirror as their own opponent.

There’s no question that New York has played incredible defense with impressive tenacity, but their offense continues to fail them when it counts the most in the fourth quarter.

While 20-year-old guard RJ Barrett finished with 29 points, a costly turnover in the final minutes gave Boston a slight advantage. He returned the favor with a three-pointer, but the Knicks once again failed to get the ball in the hands of the right player, taking a premature shot with more than 20 seconds on the clock down by three points.

After Julius Randle missed a game-tying shot against Brooklyn on Monday, the Knicks put the ball in the hands of Alec Burks, who missed a three-pointer with 22 seconds left and was blocked shortly after trying to drive the lane with 10 seconds left in the loss. On the year, the Knicks are 2–8 in games decided by three points or fewer — a disappointing statistic that head coach Tom Thibodeau needs to fix.

Losses like this beg the question, should the Knicks have been more active at the trade deadline?

While I believe they have the talent to get it done, every close loss watches their playoff hopes dwindle just a little bit more. Whether it be fatigue or bad shooting, the Knicks falter in numerous categories. One costly negative is the fact that they don’t have a single player in the top-50 of three-point shooting efficiency when a team like Brooklyn has three.

Defense will only take you so far, and eventually, if New York can pair their incredible aggression on D with a tantalizing offense averaging over 110 points per game, they will be in good shape. But for now, the Knicks’ biggest opponent is none other than themselves.

One mistake the New York Giants can’t make with the 11th overall pick

new york giants, azeez ojulari

With less than a month until the 2021 NFL draft, the New York Giants are getting all of their final evaluation’s done. Over the past few weeks, the Giants have sent plenty of front office executives and management to evaluate several pass rushers who will be available in the draft.

However, there have been conflicting reports, as Daniel Jeremiah believes that the Giants will target a playmaker on offense with the 11th overall pick, despite the fact that they have spent a ton of resources looking into pass rush options to further bolster their defense.

The New York Giants cannot reach at 11:

Big Blue can’t make a mistake at 11, though, especially with five quarterbacks expected to go in the top 10 picks. If an elite playmaker drops to them, the pick should be easy, and even co-owner John Mara stated that after the signing of Kenny Golladay and Adoree Jackson, they can settle for the best player available and walk away winners.

When looking at the pass rushers available, we first take a gander at Jaelan Phillips and Gregory Rousseau out of Miami, who are both capable of being productive players at the NFL level but might not offer elite value where the Giants sit in the draft. Phillips is one concussion away from seeing his NFL dreams come to an end, and Rousseau is a wildcard who doesn’t have much experience as an outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme.

Shifting over to Michigan’s Kwity Paye — he is more of a down lineman who could fit in the Giants’ nickel packages but wouldn’t be an every down player, making him unlikely at 11. They could consider Jason Oweh out of Penn State, but he lacks production and experience at the college level to be considered a top selection. The only other name that is worth mentioning is Azeez Ojulari out of Georgia, who has solid athleticism and strength that should translate to the next level.

It is easy to argue that none of these options are worthy of being picked at 11, so the Giants should sit pretty and see who falls to them after the onslaught of quarterbacks in the first 10 selections. In fact, there will likely be a few more draft day trades, which will present different opportunities for Big Blue, especially with the New England Patriots potentially looking to move up and take a QB.

Ultimately, remaining patient and letting the draft come to them is how the Giants should approach things instead of reaching for a pass rusher who likely won’t have a significant impact on day one.

New York Rangers fans can win cash prizes with a free-to-play app

MSG Networks is giving New York Rangers fans an opportunity to win cash prizes during telecasts of hockey games.

New York Rangers fans will have a chance to watch their favorite hockey team and maybe win some prizes at the same time with a free-to-play app now available for download on iOS and Android in the Apple App and Google Play Store.

The new prediction gaming app, developed in partnership with Boom Sports, will feature pick ‘em style NHL contests and offer fans the chance to win real cash prizes based on the accuracy of their selections.

The NHL contests within the app will include separate pick ‘em contests for every Rangers, Islanders, Devils, and Sabres game, with each individual contest featuring a $1,000 progressive jackpot. For each game, fans will make several different predictions, such as the player to score the first goal, the number of total goals each team will score in each period, and more. If no one correctly makes all picks on any given night, the $1,000 prize will be added to the jackpot for that team’s next game. If there is no jackpot winner, $100 will be awarded each game to the contestant or, in the case of a tie, shared amongst those contestants, with the highest point total.

The Rangers pregame show on Tuesday night saw Steve Valiquette discussing the new app and then selecting Rangers’ Collin Blackwell to be the first Blueshirt to score during the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Blackwell scored the goal just 1:35 into the first period in the team’s 8-4 win. Rangers broadcaster Joe Micheletti acknowledged the pick by Valiquette in calling the goal on replay saying, “Steve Valiquette has a big smile on his face as he picked Blackwell.”

The app is a fun way for fans to play watch a game and have an opportunity to win some cash at the same time.

 

Follow Frank on Twitter @RangerProud