The New York Knicks are facing an uphill battle, sitting just one win above .500 on the season. Having lost four of their last six games, New York needs to find a catalyst for success. While they currently rank 2nd in the Atlantic Standings, poor play from their starters has dragged the team down significantly in recent days.
Against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday evening, the Knicks fell by six points, and without a notable performance by Julius Randle, earning 34 points and 10 rebounds over 39 minutes, this game would’ve been far out of reach.
Several starters have been inconsistent as of late, including Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier, who combine for 10 points in the loss. Fournier has shot above 33% from deep just once this season against the Houston Rockets this past Saturday. After offering him a four-year, $73 million deal, the team expected more out of him in terms of shooting efficiency and scoring production.
Walker, on the other hand, has also been a liability at times, scoring double-digit points just three times in November. He’s shooting a measly 28% from three-point range this month, which is far different than his career 36% shooting from deep.
After the loss to Chicago, head coach Tom Thibodeau brushed off any excuses, indicating injuries aren’t a justification for poor play. The Knicks have been dealing with injuries to Nerlens Noel, Mitchell Robinson, and Taj Gibson.
“Well, we’ve had guys out all year, so just figure it out,” Thibodeau said. “Everyone’s here for a reason, everyone’s capable. Everyone has to understand what their job is and go in and do your job, that’s the bottom line.”
With Robinson and Gibson out, the Knicks relied on Noel despite a sore right knee. They tried to exercise Jericho Sims for a few minutes and use Obi Toppin in the paint. RJ Barrett stepped up in the rebounding category, collecting 15 on the evening.
However, if the Knicks want to start winning games and playing at a higher level, Thibodeau knows what needs to be done.
“We got to build consistency,” Thibodeau said. “And so understand what went wrong, what we have to fix, what we did well and get ready for the next game. That’s the challenge of the season, so not to change. The games keep coming, sometimes the schedule is in your favor, sometimes it’s not. So you have to handle it the same way, just get ready for the game.”