The All Star break has broken. Basketball is back on the television and returns to the Garden tonight. I’m sure the players all had a restful retreat and can’t wait to get back on the court with one another. If we’re lucky fans, we’ll start to see coach Mike Miller lean into experimentation. Is there a little wizardry inside this man? Is he going to use the rest of his time at the helm to find lineups and combinations that generate some kind of positive friction? Or do we have another lame duck kowtowing to the front office’s lemming/skeleton crew?
The Knicks (17-38) square up with the Pacers (32-23) tonight. Julius Randle, perhaps assuming a leadership role vacated by Marcus Morris, did his part to advocate for coach Miller.
“I don’t make those decisions, but from my personal standpoint, dealing with him on a daily basis has been absolutely amazing while he interacts with us, how he coaches the game — everything.,” Randle said. “We’ve responded really well to him and he’s done a great job.”
What this future holds, who knows. Sadly my bones tell me to expect that the same gears will grind together until the season officially halts. The latest countdown starts tonight with a schedule loss brought to you by Robert Randolph.
Speak it into existence edition
Now is the time to make that soup. Put them young boys in the big cauldron and stir it every once and again. I’m pessimistic and think the Knicks are unlikely to actually opt for playing some modern, small ball sorts of lineups, but god damn it, that’s what I want! Probably should have stuck Damyean Dotson in there in front of Reggie Bullock, but what can I say, I like Reggie’s shooting, and I’m worried the extended break could have taken the stank off of D-Dot’s jumper.
Oh no! That sucks! Hopefully they're not out for the rest of the season pic.twitter.com/VIwjFMtWSQ— Bootum (@DaRealBootum) February 20, 2020
I’m all the way on board with those fools being done for the long haul. Can they be bought out? Do playoff teams want them? Did Bootum’s tweet work?
Knicks say Elfrid Payton is out tonight due to an ankle injury. Wayne Ellington is available.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) February 21, 2020
Are the saving Elfrid Payton? Showcasing Wayne Ellington?
Keys & Predictions
It’s so depressing that Bobby Portis is gonna get minutes and will command 5-10 post touches. The Pacers are trying to push their way to the top half of the Eastern playoff race. No better time than the present. Domantas Sabonis will wreak havoc on Orange & Blue Julius. What better way to take out your Skills Challenge loss frustrations than to have an opponent who will allow you to get what you want?
The Knicks probably take this as the golden opportunity to get Dennis Smith Jr. right despite nonstop evidence of him not having the goods. He is probably a great person, I don’t think he’d have his teammates or the organization’s support without that being the case. Still, he got to get removed from the equation. If not from New York, certainly from the spotlight.
"If this is what I have to go through to get where I'm going, I have to deal with it"— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) February 20, 2020
Dennis Smith Jr. has had a frustrating year, but he's not letting that break him: pic.twitter.com/9hbNj5kDt0
Knicks by -16.
Warm Up Music
When I was young, the Knicks were wonderful. I wanna be a kid again. Here’s a song I played until the record warped and was scratched to death.
I’m not a big Carole King fan anymore, but I don’t much care. This one slaps.