Do the New York Knicks have a problem playing lesser teams?

There isn’t much to be upset about with the Knicks’ performance to start the season. They sit at 5-2 and own victories over the likes of the 6-1 Bulls, the Celtics, and the 76ers. They’ve also suffered horrific losses to both the Magic and the Raptors.

The reason for both of these losses: simply getting outplayed. This doesn’t seem like just a fluke.

A Tale of Two Types of Performances

Last year, the Knicks thrived against teams below .500, going 24-10. Their efforts against these teams ended up being the reason they eventually sat 4th place in the Eastern Conference at the end of the season.

This year, they’re much improved, and their play against opponents they are more talented than should reflect that. However, this is not what we have seen.

Last night, the Raptors came into MSG without Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes and completely outplayed the Knicks. They started out hot and were up as many as 15, but in the final minutes of the second quarter and the entire second half, they looked lost.

New York turned the ball over 17 times, was outrebounded offensively by 6, and was outscored in transition 21-3. Additionally, there was little-to-no effort on defense as almost every Toronto possession ended with a great look. This all combined screams a lack of hustle on behalf of the Orange & Blue.

The same can be said about their other loss this season to the Magic. Nothing on the stat sheet jumps out at you as the reason why the Knicks lost that game, but lazy defensive possessions led to their demise. Terrance Ross doesn’t score 22 in the 4th quarter of that game if New York brings their usual intensity on D.

To date, the best win of the season for the Knicks was against the Bulls. In that game, not only did they outwork them on the boards, but they also outhustled them on all ends of the court. They turned the ball over 13 times but only surrendered 10 points off those turnovers. New York also had 5 more fast-break points than a Chicago team that scores 13% of its points in that category.

This performance just doesn’t compare to their losses.

Julius Randle Needs to Lead the Way

When Julius Randle plays well, the Knicks play well. It’s that simple. The reigning Most Improved Player sets the tone for everything his team does.

Last night he started the game out with one of the best quarters of his career. He put up 18 points with 4 threes, and the Knicks led by 8 at the end of the period. After that, he went silent. Watch just one example of the lack of effort shown by Randle. This play ended up setting the tone for the rest of the game:

The Knicks need their best player to play hard night in and night out, no matter the opponent. It’s understandable that he’s probably drained from going 35+ minutes a night, but this type of laziness isn’t just seen at the end of games.

The effort needs to be there all the time, or else the Knicks will continue to struggle against younger teams with less talent, who seem hungrier to win.

Hopefully, this doesn’t continue to happen enough to become a trend this season, and it all starts with the play of Julius Randle.

New York Giants let trade deadline pass without making a move

The New York Giants team that we have right now is largely the one we’ll have through the rest of the season. Acting against the expectations of some, the Giants chose to hold at the trade deadline and neither bought nor dealt players.

The few days before the trade deadline brought up rumors that the team could be interested in moving Evan Engram or Darius Slayton, but that never materialized. At this point, Engram trade rumors have become a yearly occurrence but no team has offered the Giants enough to convince them of pulling the trigger and doing a deal.

While the Giants didn’t make moves, however, that is not to say that this trade deadline has no impact. It does show us a bit about the direction the team leadership is leaning in their future decisions.

Based on the lack of moves, we can assume that John Mara and Steve Tisch aren’t planning on burning down the current roster and rebuilding from scratch starting this offseason. If they were going to take an approach like that, the team would likely have made moves already and kept fewer players safe from being traded.

Whether this approach from the Giants is a good thing or a bad thing very much depends on your perspective and how confident you are in their current play.

The team is faced with some big choices this offseason, after all. Those choices include whether or not to keep around Dave Gettleman and Joe Judge, and whether the team is still on pace to win with Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones before their contracts become a problem.

It’s uncertain if the team’s owners believe the Giants are on track. But we can see right now that they haven’t blown up the rebuild just yet.

Is Islam Makhachev – Beneil Dariush the fight to make after UFC 267?

This past Saturday on the main card of UFC 267, a featured contest took place in the lightweight division. Dagestani standout Islam Makhachev (21-1) took on “The Hangman” Dan Hooker (21-11) as both men looked to take a step towards the lightweight title.

Entering UFC 267, Makhachev had won eight consecutive bouts since his last loss. He’s looked more and more dominant every time he’s stepped in the cage. Hooker was the first time he was facing an opponent inside the top ten who looked like a legit threat.

The key to the entire fight was going to be whether or not Makhachev could land a takedown.
Well, we got our answer very quickly. Makhachev was able to catch a leg kick from Hooker in the opening minutes and he dragged him to the ground.

Once on the ground, it was all Makhachev. He moved into a dominant position and was able to lock in a kimura. Hooker tried to defend but was forced to tap and Makhachev got another dominant win in the UFC‘s lightweight division.

What’s next after UFC 267?

Makhachev made it clear that he believes he should be next for the UFC lightweight title. He pointed to the fact that Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler (Who fight this week at UFC 268) have already fought for the title before.

Next month, Charles Oliveira defends the lightweight crown against Dustin Poirier. So, will the UFC book Makhachev against the winner of one of those fights? Actually, I think there’s another opponent that makes more sense and that’s Beneil Dariush (21-4-1).

Dariush has now won seven straight fights himself. He’s currently ranked above Makhachev in the UFC’s lightweight rankings at the time of this article. Dariush would be a massive test for Makhachev given his background in wrestling and grappling.

I think the UFC is potentially going to book these two against each other. Makhachev and Dariush would provide a clear number one contender and it would provide a top contender who hasn’t challenged for the title.

NFL fires back at Giants’ HC Joe Judge for blaming headset issues on timeout woes

New York Giants, Joe Judge

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge has made peculiar decisions with his timeouts this season, including in a Week 8 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday evening. After calling a time out on the first drive of the game, he failed to make proper judgments, leading to his offense trying to run a two-minute drill with no stoppage opportunities at both ends of the half.

In addition, Judge called a time out after the two-minute warning, allowing 40 seconds to run off the clock for no reason. Judge allowed the clock to run all the way down to the warning, when he could’ve used his time out, forcing Kansas City to run another play and utilizing the warning as a de-facto stoppage to stop the clock. Instead, the second-year HC presented a terrible reason for his inept.

“The headsets were going out,” Judge said. “We are having headset issues. This has happened in every game so far. We deal with the league and they keep telling us there are different software updates or whatever it is. But we had to call two timeouts because we were trying to send the deals in personnel-wise and you got half of the headsets not getting reception.”

Judge placed the blame completely on the NFL, indicating he’s been suffering inconsistencies with the equipment every week so far this season. The NFL fired back on Tuesday, stating the team has not spoken to them about any issues and haven’t been communicated with properly regarding the problem.

The NY Daily News received a statement from the NFL stating:

“We were not made aware of any issues during the game from the club through our standard communication channels that are used to identify gameday issues.”

“We are looking into the matter with all involved parties; however, we are confident that nothing is attributable to the Bose headset,” the NFL added.

Essentially, the NFL is calling out Judge for his excuse, which makes him look incredibly foolish at a defining moment in the season. The Giants now sit at 2–6 on the year, leading one of the league‘s worst offenses and featuring an inconsistent coaching staff that preaches discipline but fails to uphold their words.

New York Rangers head to Vancouver for game Tuesday night

The New York Rangers take the ice on Tuesday night to play against the Vancouver Canucks.

New York Rangers: 6-2-1 13 Pts
Vancouver Canucks: 3-5-1 7 Pts
Venue: Rogers Arena
Television: MSG Networks, 10 P.M.

Following a win over the Seattle Kraken on Sunday night, the New York Rangers visit the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday evening in the first of three straight games in Canada.

New York and Vancouver are playing for the first time since January 4, 2020, a 2-1 Canucks win in Vancouver.

In the game against the Kraken, the team was outshot 32-18 but leaned heavily on the shoulders of Igor Shesterkin until they came up with the game-winning goal in the third period.

Head coach Gallant understands that winning games is important, but the team needs to play better in limiting the opponents in shots against and creating more sustained pressure in the opponent’s end of the ice.

Projected Lineup:

Kreider-Zibanejad-Goodrow
Panarin-Strome-Kakko
Lafreniere-Chytil-Blais
Rooney-McKegg-Hunt

Lindgren-Fox
Miller-Trouba
Tinordi-Nemeth

Shesterkin

Nils Lundkvist will be a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game.

Gallant is deciding who plays based more on the opponents than how well or poorly a player is performing, at least when it comes to the rookie Lundkvist.

Asked if the decision to sub out Lundkvist in favor of Tinordi was based on who the Rangers are going to play rather than the player’s performance, Gallant alluded to the former.

“We always look at the other team,” Gallant said. “There’s no doubt for sure.”

Special Teams

Chris Kreider leads the NHL in power-play goals with five. The Blueshirts are 23rd in the league scoring at 16.1%. The penalty killing is where the team has excelled. The team is ranked 13th in the NHL with 83.3%.

Goalie Igor Shesterkin has started the season with a 5-1-1 record. His GAA is 1.70 along with a .947 save percentage and one shutout. In his last four road games, he has a 4-0 record with 0.99 GAA.

UPCOMING GAMES (All Times ET)

Nov. 5 – at EDM. – 9:30 PM

Nov. 6 – at CGY – 10:00 PM

Mon, Nov. 8 – vs. FLA – 7:00 PM

Sat. Nov. 13 – at CBJ – 7:00 PM

Who is next for Khamzat Chimaev after UFC 267?

This past Saturday on the main card of UFC 267, we saw a welterweight showdown between phenom Khamzat Chimaev (10-0) and Li Jingliang (18-7). Li entered the contest ranked 11th and was supposed to present the first real challenge for Chimaev in the UFC.

Chimaev stormed on the scene last year with three quick wins over quality opponents in the span of three months. With how dominant he was the UFC rushed him to the top and booked him against top welterweight contender Leon Edwards.

However, a rough battle with COVID kept Chimaev on the shelf for over a year. This past Saturday, he finally returned and many wondered how he would look. Chimaev looked to be the same, but there were questions about his performance after a battle with COVID.

Couple that with Li as his opponent and it wasn’t expected to be easy for Chimaev. Well, at UFC 267 Chimaev made it look easier than ever. Moments into the fight, Chimaev shot in on Li and picked him up and carried him over to where Dana White was sitting.

Chimaev talked with White as he slammed Li to the ground. From there, the Chechen proceeded to smash Li before locking up a rear naked choke and putting him to sleep. Chimaev has fought four times in the UFC, he’s 4-0 and he’s only been hit once.

What’s next after UFC 267?

I swear I’m not exaggerating in saying this, but I truly believe that Khamzat Chimaev could compete with either of the welterweights fighting at UFC 268. Whether that be the champion Kamaru Usman or the challenger Colby Covington, I really believe Chimaev can compete.

Whether he would win or not in a potential fight with those two is a different story. With how good he looks, what should the UFC do with him next? Well, I think I want to see him fight one more guy on the back end of the top ten before jumping straight to a title eliminator.

Chimaev and Neil Magny (25-8) have had some back-and-forth for a while. Magny has already come out and said that he wanted to fight Chimaev next. UFC President Dana White said the promotion will also talk with Nate Diaz (20-13) about potentially fighting Chimaev.

However, I find it highly unlikely that Diaz would accept that fight. My guess is that Magny is going to be the guy and I think it’ll happen sooner rather than later. Given the way Chimaev is, I wouldn’t even rule out the UFC booking this fight before the end of the year.

Jiri Prochazka awaits Glover Teixeira after UFC 267

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC 267, the light heavyweight title was on the line. Poland’s Jan Blachowicz (28-9) was defending his title against 42 year old Glover Teixeira (32-8) who was getting his second chance at UFC gold.

The fight started perfectly for the challenger on Saturday when Teixeira was able to land a takedown. Takedowns were going to be key if he was going to stop the legendary Polish Power and immediately, Teixeira was able to get the takedown.

In the second round, Teixeira was actually able to wobble the champion on the feet before getting him back to the ground. Once on the ground, Teixeira went right through the champion and submitted him to become UFC light heavyweight champion.

Tears were flowing all around as one of the good guys of the sport pulled off this miraculous run to become light heavyweight champion at this stage of his career. The victory at UFC 267 gave Teixeira his light heavyweight title, but it also earned him a date with perhaps the best light heavyweight on the planet.

Prochazka’s UFC Title Shot

While Dana White didn’t confirm after UFC 267, it’s clear that the next title shot belongs to Jiri Prochazka (28-3-1). Prochazka hasn’t lost a fight since 2015 and he’s started out perfect in the UFC since joining the promotion last year.

In his first two fights, he’s taken on former title challengers Dominick Reyes and Volkan Oezdemir. Neither one of those guys made it past the second round. Earlier this year, Prochazka had his first taste of a main event opposite Dominick Reyes.

Prochazka put on a clinic and knocked Reyes out with a spinning back elbow in the second round. In my opinion, Prochazka is the best light heavyweight in the UFC and in the world. However, Glover Teixeira has proved me wrong over and over again.

The champion said after UFC 267 that he’d like to take a couple of months off before the Prochazka fight. My guess is we will see this fight in the spring. Despite Glover’s current run, expect Prochazka to be a sizeable betting favorite when these two finally meet.

Reacting to Knicks trade idea for Pacers’ big-man Myles Turner

The Knicks have been impressed with Mitchell Robinson at center to start the season, but injuries to Nerlens Noel and an ankle issue suffered by Taj Gibson on Monday evening have left the team a bit thin at the position. Their lack of physicality proved to be a catalyst in their loss to the Toronto Raptors, being outrebounded and giving up 13 offensive rebounds.

With the Knicks struggling in that area, one trade opportunity down the line could be Indiana Pacers star big man Myles Turner. Turner is averaging 13.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, and posting 2.9 blocks per game.

SI’s All Pacers fan blog is convinced that the Knicks could be intrigued by Myles Turner as a trade target this season, stating:

Turner led the NBA in blocks per game last season for the second time in his career, and he is the perfect missing piece on a team that is already really good. 

He’s not the kind of star that could actually carry a team by himself, but he would make everyone else’s life easier on a team that is already really talented. 

Turner was previously rumored to be of interest by the Knicks during the off-season, but a trade failed to materialize. The Pacers elected to retain him, paying him a $17.5 million base salary this season. At 25-years-old, he could be a stellar edition next to Mitchell at center, giving them the physical presence they require to be a premium team in the NBA.

However, the Pacers would be asking for draft capital and more, something the Knicks could execute if necessary. However, they could be targeting a more refined talent down the line with their draft assets.

Given the depth the Knicks have on the bench currently and the quality of their starting five, Turner would be a revelation regarding physicality and rebounding. In fact, he could be a long-term solution at center if they elect to let Robinson walk in free agency.

About a week ago, Turner posted his best game to date, recording 40 points, 10 rebounds, five three-pointers, and three blocks. While our love for Robinson does not go unnoticed, Turner is far and away the better player on both sides of the ball. Nonetheless, I do believe the Knicks have a strong team, and only seven games into the season, weaknesses will improve. However, this could be an idea to keep on the back burner until the trade deadline arrives.

What do you think about the idea of trading for Myles Turner? Comment here!

General manager Zack Scott won’t return to the Mets

New York Mets

As the New York Mets keep looking for a person in charge of making baseball decisions, several outlets announced that their general manager for most of the 2021 season, Zack Scott, won’t be returning to the team regardless of the outcome of his pending DUI trial.

The Mets’ MLB site, through writer Anthony DiComo (citing sources with knowledge of the situation) revealed the news. The organization hasn’t made it official, but it’s now a reality: Scott won’t continue with the club, and he has already been informed.

Scott, initially hired as an assistant general manager before the 2021 season, had been on administrative leave since shortly after his Aug. 31 arrest in White Plains, N.Y. He took over as the acting GM when Jared Porter was dismissed after sexual misconduct allegations.

The Mets keep looking for a person to make baseball decisions

Scott was in charge of the Mets’ baseball operations from January until late August, when he fell asleep at the wheel. He was arrested for driving under the influence. He pleaded not guilty on Sept. 2 and will face trial in early December.

That night, Scott attended an event at Mets’ owner Steve Cohen’s house. However, the event ended around 9 pm ET and the arrest occurred well into the night.

Mets’ president Sandy Alderson had previously stated that he wanted to wait until Scott’s case was resolved before deciding on his future. Evidently, the organization changes its mind.

Under Scott, the Mets made trades such as the Rich Hill and Javier Baez ones, and he was also credited for drafting pitcher Kumar Rocker (although he did not sign).

The Mets continue to look for someone to handle baseball decisions and operations. They have swung and missed with Theo Epstein, Billy Beane, David Stearns, and many more. Recently, according to Andy Martino of SNY, they were granted permission to interview Boston Red Sox’s executive Raquel Ferreira.

UFC 268 Main Card Predictions: Part 1

mma

UFC 268 has an epic main card to show for. From start to finish, each and every matchup has the potential to set the crowd at Madison Square Garden into a wild frenzy of excitement and exhilaration.

Though some of these mixed martial artists are pursuing championship glory, others are simply trying to maintain a level of relevance and legitimacy in divisions that have grown increasingly more competitive.

Kicking off the main card will be the clash between 40-year-old veteran Frankie Edgar and rising talent Marlon Vera, two bantamweight striking experts that have plenty left to prove in this division.

With the Sean Strickland and Luke Rockhold showdown scrapped from the main card, strikers Shane Burgos and Billy Quarantillo’s much-anticipated featherweight matchup was bumped up from the prelims to the main card.

Though neither of these two matchups are title-oriented, expect each showdown to fire up this main card with a bang. On that note, here are the predictions for the first two fights on the main card of UFC 268.

5. Marlon Vera vs Frankie Edgar

Marlon “Chito” Vera:

At only 28-years old, Marlon Vera has become one of the most underrated bantamweight fighters in the UFC. Ranked 13th overall in a division that’s jam-packed with talent, Vera has fallen a little under the radar but has been brewing a storm since he set foot in the octagon back in 2014.

Following a unanimous decision loss back in February of 2018, Vera has won seven of his last nine fights since, which included five straight victories from 2018 to 2019. Bringing rapid quick jabs, sharp leg kicks, and biting elbow shots, Vera has all the striking tools to deal a lot of damage and possesses the shifty elusiveness to stay out of harms way. Just to give you an idea, Vera has yet to lose by knockout since he started his MMA career in 2012.

Frankie “The Answer” Edgar:

Frankie Edgar has seen better days over his 14-year career. Since 2018, Edgar has managed to come away with just two wins in six fights, suffering four losses to some of the best featherweight and bantamweight fighters in the UFC. From the brutal KO/TKO he sustained against Brian Ortega in 2018 to the crushing defeat he suffered against Max Holloway in 2019 to the devastating first-round KO/TKO he endured against Chan Sung Jung a few months later, 2021 hasn’t been any better for Edgar so far.

Earlier this year, Edgar found himself once again at the receiving end of another brutal KO/TKO finish, this time against bantamweight title contender Corey Sandhagen who delivered a flying-knee knockout blow that is currently up for Knockout of the Year. Moreover, both of Edgar’s wins went to decision, with his most recent against Pedro Munhoz coming down to a close split-decision call.

Winner: Marlon Vera

Though this is the same Frankie Edgar that won and defended the lightweight belt a decade ago, that same strength and menacing authority he demonstrated then has not been there for him over these last three years. With a string of bad defeats and a gradual drop in prominence, Edgar is up against a tall task in Vera, who’s coming off a strong win against Davey Grant. 

What makes this matchup so exciting boils down to how tough these two mixed martial artists are and just how much it will take for each to defeat the other. However, considering how well versed Vera is on the ground and in the clinch, expect him to come out on top with a big win.

4. Shane Burgos vs Billy Quarantillo

“Hurricane” Shane Burgos:

Over the course of his five-year tenure in the UFC, Shane Burgos has proven to be one impressive mixed martial artist. Prior to taking on both Josh Emmett and Edson Barboza, Burgos was actually a Top 10 fighter within the featherweight division and displayed promising potential. Following a rough KO/TKO from Calvin Kattar back in 2018, Burgos went on to win his next three straight fights, taking out opponents like Cub Swanson and Makwan Amirkhani.

However, Burgos’s last two matchups exposed a major concern with his striking approach that cost him a tough unanimous decision loss to Emmett and a brutal KO/TKO to Barboza earlier this year. Though his vision and elusiveness are quite pristine, Burgos tends to keep his hands down and often leaves his head exposed to nasty striking shots. This enabled Emmett to clip him with a hefty left hook that knocked him down in the third round and granted Barboza the chance to land a vicious right hook that sent him stumbling to the mat before getting pummeled for a KO/TKO.

After going from 10th, to 9th, to now 14th overall in the featherweight rankings, Burgos will look to come out with a big win on Saturday.

Billy Quarantillo:

Ever since Billy Quarantillo jumped onto the scene on Dana White’s contender series back in 2019, he’s been flat-out dominant in every UFC Fight Night match he’s been granted, most recently taking out Gabriel Benitez by KO/TKO earlier this year in July. His striking speed and nimble footwork allow him to pick apart his opponents and deal heavy damage.

But the one blemish Quarantillo has suffered since his UFC career began was his unanimous decision loss against Gavin Tucker. Though Tucker is a talented mixed martial artist, he’s currently unranked and was dealt a devastating knockout loss at the hands of the number nine ranked featherweight in Dan Ige. Though Burgos is no Ige, the fact that Quarantillo lost unanimously to Tucker doesn’t bode well for him, considering that Burgos is significantly better than Tucker.

In other words, Quarantillo has yet to prove that he can stand with Top 15 featherweight contenders, and his fight against Burgos will be his toughest test yet. Though he brings a strong variety of skills both with his striking and jiu-jitsu, Quarantillo will need to deliver his best performance if he intends to come out on top.

Winner: Shane Burgos

Quarantillo is on the rise and hasn’t slowed down. With a significant striking accuracy that is at 71%, Quarantillo doesn’t miss much and makes sure that he delivers the precision needed to break his opponents. Toss in his strong presence on the ground, and Quarantillo has everything he needs to snag a win from Burgos if he finds the opportunity to do so.

With that said, Burgos has the upper hand in this matchup, and for good reason. For starters, Burgos is a seasoned veteran in the UFC and has never lost more than two straight fights in a row. In addition, Burgos brings tremendous power with his striking and is currently posting a takedown defense percentage of 94. Not only will he be extremely tough to take down to the ground, but he can put away Quarantillo with one blow. At only age 30, the New York native has still so much to show for in the UFC and will look to climb his way back up the rankings with a big victory on Saturday.

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