The New York Knicks have had an interesting start to the 2021 season, as they currently sit 8-11 on the year. With their next game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday evening, they are looking to take one more step forward toward a .500 record. The teamâ€™s up and down season has been full of surprises and exciting victories over some playoff-caliber teams. However, they are on their second streak composed of three losses consecutively or more.
One major factor has presented itself as a problem, and it is something that has been attached to Tom Thibodeauâ€™s style of coaching for many years. Being overworked and exhausted is part of playing aggressive defense. One Knick suggests that the team was simply gassed in their most recent loss to the Utah Jazz.
â€œI mean, guys were dead,â€™â€™ Austin Rivers said. â€œSo I donâ€™t know what the reason was for that. But just looking around with like six minutes left in the fourth, it didnâ€™t look like we were ourselves as a unit. Just our energy changed the second half. They became more physical. They took the fight to us. It just felt like it kind of fell apart there.â€
The New York Knicks need rest, but must keep their aggressive nature:
Luckily, the team has had a few days to rest following the loss to Utah, as they currently host the number one defense in the NBA but have allowed four consecutive games with 100+ points or more.
The schedule is undoubtedly grueling, and the expectations from Thibodeau on the team have begun to influence their play. Just 19 games into the season, the teamâ€™s stamina must improve, and playing vigorous and aggressive basketball should help them in the long run, but they are still adapting to the new style of play.
â€œThe schedule is the schedule,â€™â€™ Thibodeau said regarding Riversâ€™ remarks. â€œItâ€™s balanced. Sometimes itâ€™s in your favor. The thing that makes this a little more unusual with the COVID stuff, you could be walking into teams that are off an extended period [like in Portland]. But thatâ€™s all part of it. You could probably find an excuse for every game. Thatâ€™s what you have to guard against. You have to have the mental toughness to get through anything youâ€™re facing.â€™â€™