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New York Knicks Need Motivation

New York Knicks are Struggling
Photo by USA Today

New York Knicks Need Motivation

The New York Knicks need motivation in order to keep their season alive. They are currently down 2-1 in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to the Miami Heat. With Game 4, Monday night in Miami, it is a must-win for the Knicks as they cannot afford to go down 3-1.

Sloppy Game 1 Loss

With Game 1 at home as the Knicks are the higher seed, they had a great opportunity to defend Madison Square Garden and take momentum in the series and go up 1-0. However, they lost 108-101 in what was a sloppy loss. The Knicks shot an abysmal 20.6% from three and had five more turnovers than the Heat. Even worse, the Knicks shot 60% from the free throw line, where they missed eight free throws which would have won them the game.

With Julius Randle out, Obi Toppin got the start at power forward and despite having 18 points and shooting well overall, he shot 4-11 from three. Toppin is not a good three-point shooter as he shot just 34.4% from three in the regular season.

The Villanova duo of Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart, who are both crucial to the Knicks combined for a brutal 0-11 from the charity stripe. The Knicks defensively could not stop Gabe Vincent or Kyle Lowry who erupted for 20 and 18 points.

Game 2: Also Sloppy, But A Win’s A Win

The New York Knicks were able to bounce back and win Game 2 by a score of 111-105. However, with Jimmy Butler out due to a sprained right ankle in Game 1, the Knicks should have won by more than just six.

The Knicks shot much better from three shooting 40% and Brunson and Hart had much better games scoring 30 and 14 points. Randle was also able to play and he scored 25 points in his return game.

In addition to Vincent and Max Strus having good games, Caleb Martin was able to join in on the fun as he started in place of the injured Butler. Martin shot 50% from three scoring 22 points.

Game 3: No Motivation Led to 19 Point Blowout Loss

This hands down was the worst loss of the series and worst playoff game the Knicks have played. Once again they shot awful from three shooting 20% going 8-40 from three. The Heat didn’t shoot any better, with 21.9% from three. The Knicks lost this game by putting the Heat at the free throw line, as they had more attempts compared to the Knicks. The Heat attempted 31 free throws to the Knicks 22 and the Heat shot way better from the free throw line.

Randle and Brunson once again could not hit their threes as they combined to shoot 0-10 from three. They are the two best offensive scorers on this team. If they cannot get it going, then the Knicks season will be over earlier than they may have envisioned.

No Energy or Motivation During Scuffle

With 14.7 remaining in the third quarter, the Knicks were down 19 and Cody Zeller shoved Julius Randle to the ground. Isaiah Hartenstein was the only Knicks player to get involved and defend his teammate. Instead of Randle getting up in the face of Zeller, he chose to stay on the ground and just laugh.

The Heat are simply having fun and toying with the Knicks. In that video, you also see Butler dancing in the video. In Game 1, Kevin Love threw full-court touchdown like passes not once but twice.

If the Knicks want their playoff run to continue, they need to be more motivated, physical, and bring more energy.

What To Do With Quentin Grimes?

Quentin Grimes has been awful in the postseason so far. In the regular season, he averaged 11.3 points per game. However in the playoffs, he is averaging 4.3. The Knicks identity all season long has been key contributors from everyone in their nine-man rotation especially the bench unit. Grimes needs to step up as he was an impactful player during the regular season especially when they were on that nine game win streak.

A few times in the playoffs, Grimes has seen his minutes get reduced as a result of him not performing well in the playoffs. His management team sent out a tweet saying “Free QG”. However, Grimes does not deserve to get his minutes back until he starts playing better. Grimes has not been healthy and Hart is playing much better.

Immanuel Quickley Needs To Step Up

Another guy that needs to step up for the Knicks is Immanuel Quickley. Quickley finished second in the sixth man of the year award. However, he has been very inconsistent in the playoffs so far. Especially in the Heat series, as the only time he scored double digits was in Game 3.

Tom Thibodeau Hitting the Panic Button

Head coach Tom Thibodeau has simply been outcoached by Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. Spo did a great job with defensive adjustments, essentially building a wall, not allowing the Knicks to get inside the paint. That has been a crucial reason as to why the Knicks have struggled from three.

Thibodeau ever since December, has been keen on using the nine-man rotation. However, he is hitting the panic button, evening mentioning the possibility of playing Derrick Rose and Evan Fournier. This seems to be waving the white flag as the last time Rose played double digit minutes was December 31st, in a blowout win over the Houston Rockets. The last time Fournier played was almost a month ago against the Indiana Pacers, where he scored a goose egg in 12 minutes.

This is discussed more in depth on my podcast alongside writer Jeremy Gretzer below:



Brian Ramos is a contributor at Back Sports Page and hosts the podcast called Cut The Nets on YouTube. His Twitter is @brianramos0219

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