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Knicks 110, Blazers 99: Scenes from a game that will only strengthen Thibs’ love of Elfrid Payton

22 points on 19 shots for Elf

Portland Trail Blazers v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Well the Knicks have two wins a row and that’s nice. Last year it took them 40 games to get their eleventh win. So the level up that Tom Thibodeau provided certainly amounts to something. He has galvanized Julius Randle to the point where his 22, 11 and 4 is just regular shit. Barely even registers as a good game for him. Oh and he’s officially up to 40% shooting from deep on the season!

The Blazers just fumbled things away near the end of the game and largely struggled to keep pace. They are a gifted offensive team, but tremendously banged up and the Knicks absolutely rumbled to the cup all game in an effort to take advantage of them.

Elfrid Payton managed to be the star of the game because we’re all shocked that he played reasonable basketball. Meanwhile, the guy that can do this stuff doesn’t have the coach’s trust:

Twelve points in under 13 minutes for Quickley. I’m enjoying it when I’m allowed to.

I never question the coaching or strategy because there was a win and that’s all that mattered or made an impact on the game. Right? No. That’s crazy talk. It’s like saying, I just had dinner and am no longer hungry. The fact that it was prison food is inconsequential and offers no additional context.

Anyway, remember how Randle is just boring and effective and we almost don’t even notice or care anymore? This is a tough god damn shot!

Regular shit. Look at what Julius is doing, though! This man is eighth in All Star voting in the East?

Efforts not to be forgotten are Alec Burks plugging away and being an excellent third or fourth option on the floor. We also didn’t have any second half struggle minutes from Austin Rivers. Oh and here we have RJ Barrett taking care of Enes Kanter, who is clearly suffering from the Guinness World Record for the worst case of gout on earth.

The game was pretty much closed out from there. Some awkward subbing between Immanuel Quickley and Payton in the closing two minutes, that neither helped the defense nor the offense. My best guess is Thibs was trying to keep Elfrid on the floor as much as possible but without exposing him to the terrors of the free throw line.

Knicks win and exact some revenge on the Blazers. Miranda recap on the horizon and we got another game tomorrow at 1:00 against the dastardly Miami Heat.