It’s crazy what one game and really, one shot, can do to a fanbase’s emotions and outlook. Fans could have been heading into tonight’s game excited after seeing the Knicks win eight of their last ten games. But instead, it’s more of a “we better win or else” feeling surrounding the team and the game thanks in large part to Devin Booker’s late game heroics on Sunday, which is admittedly a bit strange since the team is still a very solid 9-7. A record like that, especially for a team that has the aspirations the Knicks do, will lead to some skepticism, but it usually isn’t on the level that the Knicks fans are currently showing. But to be fair, the Knicks’ record, as if often the case, doesn’t tell the whole story, and there are multiple things to be concerned about right now.
Outside of a couple of wins against the Atlanta Hawks, and last week’s thrilling come back victory against the Miami Heat, the Knicks have yet to come away with any victories against a legitimately good team. They’re 0-3 in their three games against the Celtics and Bucks, they got embarrassed in the second half in Minnesota last week, the win against the Cavaliers was a game in which both Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen were out, and while the Clippers look good on paper, we all know just how subpar that team has ultimately been.
Quentin Grimes’ Last 3 Games:— KnicksMuse (@KnicksMuse) November 27, 2023
0 PTS | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0/6 FG | -18 | 25 MIN
3 PTS | 0 REB | 2 AST | 1/4 FG | -20 | 21 MIN
3 PTS | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1/5 FG | -8 | 20 MIN
Should we be worried? pic.twitter.com/cRl32IWKPo
Adding to those concerns are the struggles of multiple key players. Outside of the incredible duos they have at the point guard and center positions with Jalen Brunson, Immanuel Quickley, Mitchell Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein, the team has struggled to find any real consistency. Quentin Grimes has looked lost offensively for much of the season, and the team has looked better with him off the floor recently. RJ Barrett started off the season looking like the best player on the team for the first week or two, but he hasn’t been able to regain his form since missing some time two weeks ago. Then there’s Julius Randle, who the Knicks’ season will ultimately be decided by. There was a stretch where it looked like he had figured things out and gotten back to his old self, but he’s followed that up with a string of uninspiring and frustrating-to-watch basketball with just a couple quarters of excellence sprinkled in there. We also can’t forget about Josh Hart, who looks like a shell of the player we saw when he first joined the Knicks.
Julius Randle is now the 4th Player in Knicks History with 0 games shooting above 50% FG in the first 16 games of a season.— KnicksMuse (@KnicksMuse) November 27, 2023
He joins Allan Houston (21), Toney Douglas (16), and Jamal Crawford (16).
Luckily, we saw some encouraging signs tonight. pic.twitter.com/Sil8h6gzgR
It’s still early on in the season, and this team proved to us just last season that they can turn it all around play like a top ten team. Shoot, it’s even happened this season. We have to remember that this team, regardless of how ugly and annoying their brand of basketball can often be, has had the statistical profile of a top ten team at times. Yet as I mentioned earlier, the concerns are certainly there and certainly real. We may not find out or learn much about this team from games like tonight, where they are severely favored, but they could surely benefit from a dominating and convincing victory where they get some of their key players back on track, so hopefully they do that instead of underestimating the undermanned Charlotte Hornets, laying an egg, and suffering what would be the worst loss of the season.
- Terry Rozier G
- Gordon Hayward G
- Miles Bridges F
- P.J. Washington F
- Mark Williams C
New York Knicks
- Jalen Brunson G
- Quentin Grimes G
- RJ Barrett F
- Julius Randle F
- Mitchell Robinson C
With LaMelo Ball likely missing tonight’s game after injuring his right ankle on Sunday, it’ll be interesting to see how Charlotte decides to start the game. Do they go big, put Terry Rozier at point guard, and re-insert P.J. Washington or Brandon Miller in the starting lineup? Or do they keep both on the bench and insert backup point guard Theo Maledon into the starting lineup and keep Rozier at the two? We won’t know until we get closer to game time but regardless, the Knicks should be heavily favored. The Hornets are 5-10 right now and will likely struggle mightily without Ball, who is in the midst of having a breakout season.
It’s not always easy expecting or predicting the Knicks to take care of business against lesser opponents because we’ve seen them fall for the trap of taking teams and players too lightly on multiple occasions in the past. But hopefully with it being an in-season tournament game, the team can come out with energy after letting a win slip away Sunday against the Suns. I’m predicting Brunson, who exploded for 32 points against the Hornets a couple of weeks ago, and Quickley, who is averaging 19PPG over his last two games, to continue playing well with Barrett and Randle finally getting it going a bit as well. Knicks win 115-198.
Who: New York Knicks vs Charlotte Hornets
When: 7:30 pm EST, Tuesday, Nov. 28
Where: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC
Watch: MSG Network