Knicks won’t get Lonzo Ball audition in matchup against Pelicans

New York Knicks, Lonzo Ball

The Knicks are gearing up to take on the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday evening, and coming off three wins consecutively, New York is riding a high. However, we have seen the inconsistencies that plague the Knicks in the past, but there is hope they have finally gotten over the hump, stringing together not only a few wins but close victories — finishing games. The keyword there is “finish,” one that wasn’t understood against the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, and even Philadelphia 76ers a few weeks ago.

This seems to be a new age for head coach Tom Thibodeau and his team of defenders, considering the Knicks rank first in the league, allowing 104.4 points per game. Despite the recent turnaround, that doesn’t mean the Knicks couldn’t use a bit more talent around them, especially a star player to pair with Julius Randle.

There is hope that RJ Barrett can be that number two next to Randle, but adding a point guard might be the focus during the 2021 off-season, and the team may target Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball.

Ball, who was expected to suit up against New York on Wednesday, will likely miss the game with left hip flexor soreness. His sought-after audition will have to wait, but the Knicks still consider him highly despite missing the last three games and showing a bit of fatigue more than halfway through the season. Ball is having his best campaign to date, averaging 14.5 points on .424 shooting from the field and .384 shooting from downtown. Consider this, Barrett has been on a tear as of late from three, currently averaging .378%, which is still below Lonzo’s current measurements.

Replacing Elfrid Payton with Ball would be stellar, as they can roll over the $5 million into an extension for the 23-year-old PG from California. Seeing a slight bump in offensive efficiency is a positive, and we know Thibs will turn on the inner defender in him.

I’m not too worried about Ball missing this contest, as New York clearly sees his increase in statistical output. Just take a look at this, Ball’s free-throw percentage has increased from .566 last season to .792 this year. In fact, a majority of his shooting specifics have seen vast improvements, which is a great sign for a player going into a contract year.

Report: Knicks are being considered a ‘destination’ for star players

new york knicks, rj barrett

It was only a matter of time before the New York Knicks finally change direction after years of inadequacy. The Knicks were barely a destination for average players, let alone stars looking to win championships and build a legacy. Now, the Knicks are winning games and establishing themselves as one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, winning close games after struggling to do so in recent weeks.

The rise of Julius Randle and the development of RJ Barrett has enticed players around the league, and drawing interest in New York City can be exquisite. Ultimately, New York offers the biggest stage for the biggest players, and if they want to build a legacy, MSG is the place to do it. However, winning is the priority for most players, especially if they can cash in at the same time. The Knicks might be able to offer both next off-season, as they plan to target a potential star in free agency to pair with Julius Randle, their best player, and only All-Star.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer believes the Knicks are more of a “destination” now than in the past:

“Team performance has gone a long way in repairing the organization’s image. But the people running the show have changed too, with a new front office led by former CAA agent Leon Rose and William Wesley (a.k.a. World Wide Wes). Fielding a competitive team and overhauling the front office is the same formula the big-market Clippers, Lakers, and Nets followed in recent years, with all three positioning themselves to appeal to their current superstars.”

We must acknowledge how important it is to be a destination in the NBA. If big names don’t want to take their talents to a specific city or team, they will find another location to drop their bags. The Knicks currently rank eighth in the Eastern conference, just .5 games back from the Boston Celtics and Charlotte Hornets. In fact, if they string together a few more wins, they are capable of shooting up to the fourth seed.

Just being in the playoff conversation makes a difference, and nobody expected this lowly Knicks team to make such an impact in year one with Tom Thibodeau as their head coach.

What sparked this Knicks turnaround leading to 3 consecutive wins?

julius randle, knicks

Sometimes, not being able to point to a clear-cut answer regarding a team’s success is a good thing. The Knicks, who have won three consecutive games, with their last against the Los Angeles Lakers coming smoothly, seem to be playing with a newfound swagger.

Whether it be All-Star Julius Randle posting double-digit points every night or RJ Barrett and his significant improvement in the 3-pointer category, there are many factors contributing to the team’s latest success.

Against the Lakers on Monday evening, Randle posted 34 points, shooting 13-of-23 from the field, including 10 rebounds. Elfrid Payton had a phenomenal performance, scoring 20 points and shooting 9-of-12 from the field.

The entire team managed to contribute in one way or another, but one thing is for sure, their defense remains a catalyst for their victory. The Knicks have now held their last two opponents to under 100 points, as they currently host the best defense in basketball, allowing just 104.4 points per game.

It is encouraging to see the team make developmental leap as a unit and not just individually. Randle, while turning the ball over a bit too much at times, still manages to dominate the boards and open up clean shots for his teammates. Part of the reason Barrett has been so adequate as of late is due to the attention Randle draws when driving to the basket. His ability to kicks shots out to the corners and force double teams is what makes him so effective, all while having a fantastic mid-range shot. On the season, Randle is averaging 22.8 points, 10.7 total rebounds, and 6.0 assists, a career-high in all three categories.

It is exciting to see this team stick together and not drop any draft capital at the trade deadline to acquire more talent. Moving forward, they can retain some of their more influential pieces on one-year deals and look to find a premium player to pair with Randle. It seems as if Barrett has taken a massive step forward in his progression, and some believe he can be that secondary star.

Ideally, the Knicks would find a start point guard and allow Barrett/Randle to retain their usual roles while gaining back Mitchell Robinson at center. I would even consider keeping Nerlens Noel around, given his performance this season and dominance in the paint as a defender.

Overall, this team is enjoying success because they are playing as one, and their aggressive defense remains tiresome and problematic for opponents. As long as they can put up a decent amount of points, they can always remain in the game, as we have seen in the past. Losing by just a few points to the 76ers and Nets on multiple occasions was disappointing, but it showed us one thing, the Knicks have what it takes to compete against playoff-contending teams.

Randle feasts on Lakers as Knicks stay hot

julius randle, knicks

Julius Randle didn’t hide his feelings towards the team that drafted him.

When asked if he’s extra motivated to face the Los Angeles Lakers, he kept his answer short and gave his former team a long night.

“Always!” was his curt reply, then he proceeded to drop 34 points as the New York Knicks rolled to their third straight win with a 111-96 shellacking of the Lakers Monday night at The Garden.

Despite playing on the second night of a back-to-back homestand, Randle had an extra bounce in his game. He went 13-of-23 from the field, his best shooting night this month following a brutal stretch where he shot just under 40 percent in five of his last six games.

Randle was the Lakers’ lottery pick in 2014. The Lakers let him walk away after his rookie deal as LeBron James took his act to Hollywood.

It worked out well for both parties.

Randle blossomed into an All-Star in New York after a brief stop in New Orleans following his L.A. exit.

The Lakers, meanwhile, won the championship last season with a healthy James and Randle’s former Pelicans teammate Anthony Davis.

“It’s always fun. It’s the team that drafted me. I was there for four years. So you know, there’s always going to be extra (motivation),” Randle said after his masterful performance. “It’s always fun competing with your old team, but most of all, I just want to get the win and do what we’ve doing and protect the homecourt.”

Randle had already 19 in the first half, then came through with big baskets when the Lakers threatened in the second half.

The Knicks improved to 17-10 at home and moved one game above .500 (28-27) and just half a game outside the top six.

RJ Barrett cooled off from his hot shooting streak as he missed his first eight shots. He finished with only seven on 2-of-11 shooting, but it didn’t matter as Randle was too hot to handle for the Lakers.

Randle feasted on a Lakers’ decimated frontline that continues to miss James (severe ankle sprain) and Davis (right calf strain).

Andre Drummond, Marc Gasol, and Montrezl Harrell combined for only six points and 13 rebounds.

Dennis Schroder led the Lakers with 21 points, but Elfrid Payton negated him with 20 of his own.

A Randle three-pointer gave the Knicks a 15-point spread late in the third quarter. But the Lakers stormed back in the fourth quarter and came within five, 92-87, on a Markief Morris basket with 5:14 left.

Randle came to the Knicks’ rescue with six of the team’s next eight points to restore a double-digit lead, 100-87.

Derrick Rose came off the bench with 14 points, while Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson did a yeoman’s job anchoring the Knicks’ middle.

Noel collected six points, nine rebounds, two assists, four steals, and two blocks, while Gibson added eight points, 10 boards, two steals, and three swats off the bench.

The Knicks toyed around the Lakers’ defense which boasted of the best rating in the league even with the extended absence of James and Davis.

Noel and Gibson led the Knicks’ dominance on the boards, 47-33, and Tom Thibodeau’s signature defense forced the Lakers to 24 turnovers that led to 29 points.

The Knicks will try to extend their win streak when they embark on a two-game road trip against the New Orleans Pelicans (Wednesday) and the Dallas Mavericks (Friday).

They will return home on Sunday to host the Pelicans in a rematch.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

The Knicks’ veteran big-man has been everything and more in their time of need

new york knicks, nerlens noel

When the Knicks signed 27-year-old Nerlens Noel to a one-year, $5 million deal, they didn’t anticipate him becoming such an influential factor. As a former first-round selection with the sixth overall pick in 2013, Noel has bounced around the league from Philadelphia to Dallas to Oklahoma and now New York.

However, Noel was always expected to back up Mitchell Robinson, who has missed time this season due to a fractured hand and most recently fractured his right foot, which could keep them out for the remainder of the 2020-21 campaign.

In Robinson’s absence, Noel and Taj Gibson have supplemented his loss, but the 6’11”, 220-pound center has given everything and more than what the Knicks expected. He’s averaging 4.9 points, which isn’t a lofty offensive number, but pair that with a career-high 2.1 blocks per game and 1.0 steals, you can see Noel’s influence on paper.

How does Noel help the New York Knicks on the court?

In-game, though, Noel runs the floor well and protects the rim with ferocity and aggressiveness. He doesn’t let anybody come into his zone without contesting, which is exactly what Tom Thibodeau expects from his defensive-oriented unit.

Most recently, the Knicks overcame the Toronto Raptors in a close contest, and Noel played phenomenal basketball, earning nine points and four blocks, showcasing why he continues to start for this young team.

“Just Nerlens, man, all over the floor. Rebounds, blocks, finishing well. He did a little bit of everything,” Julius Randle said after the Knicks’ second straight comeback victory evened their record at 27-27. “We gotta keep going at it. Another big game for him [Monday against the Lakers] and I know he’ll [be ready].”

The reality is, without Noel, the Knicks are an entirely different squad that is forced to rely on 35-year-old veteran Taj Gibson and 10-day contract players like Norvel Pelle.

Noel currently ranked fourth in the NBA with 2.1 block shots per game, averaging just 22.9 minutes over 47 appearances. In the win over Toronto, he also posted 13 rebounds, five of them being offensive. Giving his team secondary opportunities and controlling the boards on defense has made him an impact player. I would be very surprised if the Knicks didn’t offer him an extension after this season, especially with Robinson going into the final year of his rookie deal.

Have the New York Knicks finally buried their biggest weakness?

new york knicks, rj barrett

It was only a few days ago when the New York Knicks simply couldn’t win a close game for the life of them, representing their biggest weakness. A failure to hit clutch shots and hold on down the stretch was piling “Ls” in the loss column for New York, but it seems as if they might’ve put their struggles behind them.

Despite losing back-to-back games against the Nets and Celtics by a combined four points, the Knicks have bounced back to defeat the Grizzlies by four and Toronto Raptors by six in consecutive victories. They have clawed their way back to .500 on the season, just one game behind Boston, who is on a three-game win streak.

Where do the Knicks sit in the standings?

Currently, the Knicks hold the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, just one game above the Indiana Pacers. The Knicks have a tough stretch ahead of them, as they will host the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday evening and then travel to New Orleans and Dallas. The Lakers, who are currently third in the Pacific Division, are coming off a strong win over the Nets.

Luckily for New York, the Lakers won’t have LeBron James or Anthony Davis, which will give them a better chance at walking away with a “W.” In fact, the Lakers have only won five of their last 12 games playing inconsistent basketball as of late.

However, let’s reflect on the Knicks’ most recent win over Toronto, where they blew an 18 point lead in the second half, allowing Toronto to put together a 25 point turnaround, which gave them a four-point advantage at one point in the 4th quarter. If not for Alec Burks hitting a few clutch shots and RJ Barrett coming through with a three-pointer in the final minutes, the Knicks might’ve lost a disappointing game, one which they led by a fair margin throughout.

All-Star Julius Randle posted 26 points, but it took him until late in the fourth quarter to get his first points of the second half, shooting 1-of-8 from downtown. He did hit 11-of-11 free throws, which ended up being the difference.

It was nice to see the Knicks tough out a difficult game where Toronto put their best foot forward in the final moments. Suffocating defense and timely hooping is what the Knicks have showcased the past few games, and hopefully, they can pick up a third consecutive went over the Lakers on Monday.

Back to .500: RJ Barrett’s clutch 3 lifts Knicks past Raptors

new york knicks, rj barrett

The stinker he put up on New Year’s eve in Tampa, Florida, against his home team Toronto Raptors, wasn’t lost on RJ Barrett.

The 20-year old Canadian wing went 0-for-8 from deep in that 100-83 New York Knicks‘ loss. It was the tail end of a horrendous four-game stretch where he missed 21 straight three-point attempts.

On Sunday night, Barrett got his redemption and, more importantly, a 102-96 victory at The Garden that pushed the Knicks back to .500.

In what is becoming a signature Barrett clutch basket, the second-year forward drilled a catch-and-shoot three off a Julius Randle feed with 34.9 seconds left.

The dagger three, his third for the night, gave the Knicks’ a four-point cushion to fend off the Raptors’ ferocious fightback in the second half.

“I think what I’ve learned over the course of my NBA career is that it is a long game. Anything can happen,” Barrett said. “Everybody goes on a run. The game goes up and down. All that matters is the way you had it in the end when the final buzzer sounds.”

The Knicks blew an 18-point lead and trailed the Raptors by four in the fourth quarter.

Toronto went on a big run after a 14-minute rain delay due to a leak from the Madison Square Garden ceiling in the third quarter. The momentum shifted to the Raptors’ side when the game resumed with 3:58 left in the quarter. A Toronto 10-2 run closed the gap after three quarters, 78-76.

Japanese forward Yuta Watanabe’s drive gave the Raptors their first lead of the game just two minutes into the final quarter, 81-80. Rodney Hood extended Toronto’s lead to four, 87-83, but the Knicks refused to wilt under pressure.

New York responded with a 9-0 run to grab a 92-87 lead behind Barrett, Randle, and Alec Burks.

Kyle Lowry kept the Raptors within one, 95-94, that set up Barrett’s heroics.

The dagger three capped off another efficient night for Barrett, who finished with 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 3-for-6 from deep.

Randle, who brought back his braids, sealed the outcome with four free throws after the Barrett triple extended the Knicks’ lead to four, 98-94.

The All-Star forward was perfect from the line, going 11-for-11, to pace the Knicks with 26 points, eight rebounds, and five assists.

“I like that we had the mental toughness to sort of work our way through it and pull it out in the end,” New York coach Tom Thibodeau said. “But I think we’re capable of playing better than what we did today.”

The Knicks will have that opportunity to prove Thibodeau right when they play the Los Angeles Lakers Monday night, the second game of a back-to-back homestand.

The Lakers, who are missing their top guns, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, relied on Andre Drummond’s double-double to dominate the Brooklyn Nets last Saturday night.

Nerlens Noel, who had a big game against the Raptors, will have his hands full against Drummond, who was initially a Knicks target in the buyout market.

Noel seems up to the task after he came up big for the Knicks, grabbing a season-high 13 rebounds to go along with nine points and four shot blocks. He had five offensive rebounds that equaled the entire Raptors team’s output.

The Knicks’ 11-5 advantage in the offensive rebounding led to 17 second-chance points. The Raptors only had six.

New York’s vaunted defense held Toronto to just 39.8 percent shooting, including just 9-of-35 from the three-point line, 24 hours after the Raptors exploded for 135 points against Cleveland on 17-of-32 three-point shooting.

The Knicks (27-27) won for the second time in a row after a rough stretch that saw them losing five of their previous six games. It was also their first win against the Raptors since 2017. The timing couldn’t have come at a better time as the win gave the Knicks, currently eighth in the East, a six-game buffer over the No. 11 Raptors (21-33).

The seventh to 10th teams will battle for the last two playoff spots in each conference in a play-in tournament.

With 18 games left in their schedule, the Knicks are just one game outside the top six in the bunched-up East.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Knicks News: Lonzo Ball free agent target, Raptors present underrated challenge

New York Knicks, Lonzo Ball

There is an argument to be made at the New York Knicks made a mistake not trading for a player at the deadline a few weeks ago. With reports swirling that the Knicks were interested in Pelicans’ point guard Lonzo Ball, there was a moment where the two teams could have connected on a deal, but the Knicks will likely wait until free agency to take another shot at the 6’6”, 190 pound PG.

It seemed as if New York had more desire to add draft capital than give it away, and they did just that by parting ways with Austin Rivers and Ignas Brazdeikis, adding two second-round selections.

The Knicks now have two first-round picks, likely in the middle of the draft unless they tank the rest of the season, and multiple second-rounders. They could consider pairing their draft picks to move up and get their player of choice, but free agency also offers a different approach. They could look to Ball to fix their point guard problems, letting Elfrid Payton walk simultaneously. At 23 years old, Ball is averaging 14.5 points over .424 shooting from the field, both career highs.

Otherwise, they can use their draft picks to find a point guard, as some have New York taking guard Sharife Cooper out of Auburn.

The New York Knicks have an important game on Sunday:

Taking our attention toward the present, the Knicks are gearing up for a contest against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday evening. The Raptors are coming off a blowout win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, with both Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam resting on the bench. A few individual performances boosted Toronto toward an impressive victory, but the Knick defense won’t allow that to happen. New York currently hosts the best defense in basketball, allowing a league-low 104.5 points per game.

New York finally extracted a victory in a close contest against the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night, inching a four-point victory after falling numerous times in close games to playoff-bound teams. The Grizzlies are just about as good as the Knicks but far more offensive than defensive.

In the contest, RJ Barrett finished with 20 points and Immanuel Quickley the same. The two youngsters fueled the Knick offense, which desperately needed a pick me up after falling by four combined points to the Nets and Celtics two games prior. Tom Thibodeau must limit Toronto from scoring, so playing his usual aggressive defense style is exactly what they need to focus on.

Knicks News: Thibs raves about Immanuel Quickley, who shows off his veteran mentality

immanuel quickley, rj barrett, new york knicks

The New York Knicks finally won a close game, overcoming the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday evening 133-129. Despite the Grizzlies’ entire starting unit posting double-digit points, the Knicks offense finally turned on the afterburners, with Immanuel Quickley offering 20 points over 31 minutes. Quickley shot 7-of-12 from the field and 4-of-6 from downtown, helping secure the win with a few clutch shots toward the end. But don’t discount the influence of second-year player RJ Barrett and his 20 points, displaying another strong shooting performance in what seems to be one of the most amazing developmental leaps I’ve seen in quite a while.

Performances like this draw positive reviews from fans and coaches, as Tom Thibodeau was ecstatic about how Quickley performed in the win, stating his desire to let him keep shooting and building confidence.

“I never mind him taking shots,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “That’s his strength. I know over the course of the season, if he is taking those shots, he is going to make most of them.”

Quickley speaks as if he is a veteran, with an understanding of the game and how opponents change their style to give themselves a competitive advantage. Quickley noticed what they were trying to do on offense, so he created a perfect blend of floaters and three-point shots to help put Memphis to bed.

“The second time that we play a team I feel like they definitely make adjustments, especially on my floater and different things like that — pick and roll play,” Quickley said before the game. “So I’m just trying to get better each and every day not only on the floor but with film, trying to adjust my game to become a smarter student of the game.”

Even veteran All-Star Julius Randle raved about Quickley after the win, thanking him and RJ Barrett for picking up the slack as he struggled for most of the game. Veteran point guard Derrick Rose also had a solid outing, picking up 19 points over 26 minutes.

“Most of the game I’m struggling. RJ is struggling,” Randle said. “For the first half, Derrick kept us in the game with his scoring and setting the pace. Down the stretch, RJ made huge plays, Quick made huge plays, Alec made huge plays.”

Randle played a big part in his own way, picking up a triple-double with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists. Spreading the ball around the floor and creating open shots is what he does best, and his influence undoubtedly offered open looks for Quickley and Barrett down the stretch.

There were concerns that Quickley was hitting the rookie wall, as he’s been struggling the past few weeks, and his offensive influence had taken a bit of a nosedive. However, this breakout performance was not only necessary but well-timed as the Knicks had fallen in several games by close margin’s. Hopefully, this victory will push them over the edge and give them a bit of confidence moving forward.

“For the rookie wall, I don’t really feel it,” Quickley said. “I’m just going to continue to do whatever’s got me here. There’s going to be ups and downs throughout a season, ups and downs throughout a game. But you just want to continue to do what’s got you to the place you’ve been. I’ve got a lot of confidence in myself.”

Knicks 1-2 punch KOs stunned Grizzlies in wild OT comeback

The Memphis Grizzlies contained the New York Knicks’ 1-2 punch for the first three quarters.

But Julius Randle and RJ Barrett came through with the knockout blows in the end as the Knicks pulled off a stunning comeback win, 133-129, in overtime on Friday night at The Garden.

Barrett scored a combined 15 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.

He hit three pressure-packed free throws in the final 37 seconds and his barrelling layup against Ja Morant with 8.8 seconds left in regulation forced the overtime. Then with 1:15 remaining in the extra session and the game tied at 124, he knocked down the go-ahead three-pointer off a Randle kick-out pass.

“That’s winning basketball. You force the defense to collapse and hit the open man,” Tom Thibodeau said of the game’s biggest play that has become more frequent since the All-Star break.

Barrett’s clutch baskets came more than a week since Timberwolves rookie Anthony Edwards dissed him for missing a potential game-winner in Minnesota.

Barrett said in response that he couldn’t wait for the next chance to take another last-second shot.

He made sure not to blow it tonight.

“It always comes back around,” Barrett said. “We’ve been playing our butt off the past couple of games. It’s been close games, and today we were able to get this one. It just feels good to know we’re doing the right thing, keep working hard and keep working together, and it will pay off.”

Randle, who didn’t score his first field goal until the 3:16 mark in the third quarter, finished the game strong.

After going 1-for-7 through the first three quarters, Randle made three of his last five shots. He collected 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists for his fifth triple-double of the season.

It was a much-needed win for the Knicks after losing five of their last six games, with three of those losses decided by two points or less.

For three-fourths of the way, it appeared the Knicks wouldn’t break the slump as they stared at a 13-point deficit with 6:10 left in the fourth quarter.

“We needed it bad. This is the way to break out of that little slump or whatever you want to call it,” Randle said. “Guys stepped up. This is how we had to get out of it.”

Alec Burks, Derrick Rose, and Immanuel Quickley combined for 58 points off the bench as they kept the Knicks in the game when their 1-2 punch was struggling.

New York drew 72 points from its bench while Memphis could only cough up 35.

“The bench came in and gave us a big lift,” Thibodeau said. “Memphis has been playing well in their last 10 games, and we had to fight the whole game just to where we got the position to win. That’s what I like about the team. I thought our fight was terrific, the perseverance, and in the end, we made things go our way.”

It was a one-sided slugfest at the start, with the Grizzlies leading by as many as 15. The Knicks had to scrap and claw their way back behind their bench that played more minutes than the starters save for Randle and Barrett.

Rose did most of the damage in the first half, scoring 13 of his 19 points in his most productive performance since the trade.

Quickley crushed the rookie wall with 20 points and four triples. He’s been on a slump, shooting just 31 percent in his previous seven games. He sank 7-of-12 tonight.

Burks added 19 points, nine in the overtime.

After losing the last two games on the offensive glass, the Knicks were locked in on crashing the boards.

The Grizzlies came into the game as the second-best offensive rebounding team in the league. And the Knicks did a good job keeping them away from the glass.

New York won the battle of the boards, 48-43, and had more offensive rebounds, 11-10. The Knicks ended up with two more second-chance points than the Grizzlies.

Taj Gibson was the Knicks’ unsung hero. The 35-year old veteran center played an almost no-relief job in the fourth quarter and kept Jonas Valanciunas from the glass. Valanciunas finished with 14 rebounds but only had one in the entire fourth quarter.

Gibson chipped in six points and eight boards, five from the offensive glass, before fouling out.

The Knicks improved to 26-27 overall and 15-10 at home, with eight of their next 10 games at The Garden.

On the other hand, the Grizzlies saw their four-game winning streak came to an end despite all their starters scoring in double figures led by Morant’s 26 points.

The Knicks will host the shorthanded Toronto Raptors on Sunday.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo