The past two evenings of Knicks basketball were fun for a variety of reasons. Remember all those Knicks-Bulls games of yesteryear, when the Chicago frontcourt would consistently annihilate New York on the glass? Not only did the Knicks avoid such a fate during their home-and-home sweep, they achieved a level of rebounding dominance not seen round these parts in four years.
New York won the battle of the boards on Thursday, 45-34, after they pulled down 19 more rebounds than Chicago the previous night. It is the first time that the Knicks gathered at least 11 more rebounds than their opponent in each of two consecutive games since they had a three-game streak of that kind in March 2012 (+24, +13 and +15 in wins against the Pistons, Bucks and Magic, respectively).
Chicago big man Taj Gibson has grown used to crushing the Knicks during his Bulls career ... so much so that he didn't exactly take these last two losses with grace. Per Nick Friedell:
"Hell yeah, I'm embarrassed," Gibson said after the Bulls' 106-94 defeat. "I take pride in wearing this jersey. I love wearing the Bulls jersey. Especially what we've been through, I take pride in playing for Chicago. When I wear that jersey, I try to go out there and play my heart out. And it's frustrating when we come up short, and we look at ourselves, we're losing to ... I don't want to criticize any[body], [but] trash teams. Everybody's in the NBA for a reason, but we're playing against teams that are not playing for anything, and we're just laying down. It feels like now we're a target. It feels like teams are not taking us serious.
"Trash teams," eh? Gibson lobbed an insult the Knicks' way. I wonder what Kristaps Porzingis will do with it?
Off the court, Derrick Williams took to Instagram to respond:
Maybe sit the next couple of plays out, Taj; stop talking a while.
The Knicks achieved this recent success with Arron Afflalo coming off the bench, and Afflalo plans to keep this demotion in mind when he decides whether or not to exercise his 2016-17 player option, per Ian Begley:
Arron Afflalo hasn't made any decision regarding his player option for next season -- though no one around the league would be surprised if he declined the $8 million option for 2016-17. Will Afflalo's recent move to the Knicks' bench impact his decision? "It's one of those things I'll have to weigh in June. But hopefully an entire body of work is looked at on both ends," Afflalo said Thursday.
That "entire body of work" includes the fact that the team has played better with Sasha Vujacic in his spot, so I hope the Knicks consider that, should he decide to opt out. Get your money, Arron; just please get it someplace else.