Knicks: Tom Thibodeau’s excuse in blowout loss to Phoenix isn’t acceptable

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The New York Knicks were demolished by the Phoenix Suns on Friday evening 118–97, failing to lock down star shooting guard Devin Booker. Booker posted 32 points and three assists in the win, hitting 14-of-27 shots from the field. Every starter for Phoenix recorded double-digit points, while the Knicks failed to match their offensive efficiency.

New York shot a measly 30.8% from the field while Phoenix landed at 46.4%. With such a vast difference, there was no chance Tom Thibodeau, and his squad were going to crawl back into the game utilizing their second team.

Power forward Julius Randle failed to make an impact, finishing with single-digit points for the first time this season. Kemba Walker led the team with 17, and Evan Fournier backed him up at 11, but second-year guard Immanuel Quickley recorded 16 off the bench over 20 minutes. Quickly has made a legitimate push for starting minutes, and with Derrick Rose currently missing time, he has earned more playing time to supplement his loss.

Thibodeau spoke after the game regarding his team’s performance, which was rather embarrassing at home in front of a packed crowd at MSG.

“I didn’t think our energy was where it normally is,” Tom Thibodeau said. “You got to keep your edge. Overall we didn’t play well. It’s on all of us. It’s not on one particular person.”

The Knicks have come out lacking energy in several games this year, and the players have indicated they need to show more hustle. There’s no excuse for lacking energy and motivation, especially as professional athletes — great teams play with gusto and confidence, something the Knicks don’t have on most nights these days.

The Knicks recorded 51 rebounds in this contest while the Suns posted just 35, an interesting statistic given how poorly New York played. However, Phoenix recorded 20 assists while the Knicks posted just 13. Clearly, the Suns are passing the ball at a far more productive rate, indicating better movement and chemistry.

Booker, what’s the difference-maker for Phoenix, hitting 4-of-9 shots from deep and completely taking over offensively with his elite shooting capabilities.

“Great players are going to have that ability (to make tough shots). You have to have the discipline to keep challenging the shot time after time,” Thibodeau said regarding Booker’s performance. “He’s a shotmaker. He’s a helluva player.’’

It is becoming clear that the Knicks lack a true star talent, as Randle has disappeared this season at times and showed inconsistencies. Until they have an elite player to pair with Julius, the team is going to face challenges in the scoring department and matching more efficient teams who capitalize off poor defense.
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