The Knicks did not secure their sixth victory last season until their 26th game, four competitions after knocking out coach David Wiesdale in early December with a number 4–18.
Obviously not the time to turn around, but Tom Thibodeau’s improved team only hit 35.8% of the ground and 12-20 free throw line Friday night in a 101-89 loss to Thunder at the Garden, finishing all three. Game winning streak.
The Knicks (5-4) failed to score a sixth win after nine games for the first time since the start 8-1 in the 2012-13 – 54 win season under current assistant coach Mike Woodson.
“It’s a tough league. It’s hard to get wins,” said Tibudo. “You have to come with an advantage every night. If you don’t, it will be difficult for you. In this league, once you start to feel good about yourself, you’ll fall apart.
“So you have to bring it every night. Every day you have to bring it. Like I said, I think I’m very pleased with the approach and the attitude. And I think when we go down in a hole, I think we have the right intentions. Obviously we wanted to get out of it. But you can’t do it individually.” You have to stay a team and do it together.
RJ Barrett led the Knicks with 19 points in 44 minutes, but missed 14 of 21 rounds off the ground, including 4 out of 5 from a 3-point range.
The lead scorer Julius Randall was in early trouble and did not score in the first half, but he finished the match with 18 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in 31 minutes.
“I felt like today, at both ends of the floor, for whatever reason, we weren’t playing for each other,” said Randall. “It happens, you go through it, but the biggest thing is that we are weakening it in its cradle now and taking care of it now and we are back to play unselfish and play for each other, share the ball, play for each other on the defensive side, and restore this advantage for us.”
Shay Gilgos Alexander led the Thunder team (4-4) with 25 points, and Queen’s producer Hamidou Diallo scored 23 points, the highest level in the season with 11 rebounds.
The Knicks, who will host the Nuggets on Sunday, topped up to 11 in the first quarter, but they needed late buoy Barrett and Mitchell Robinson to reach the end of the first half with a 42-42 draw. Ten major changes in the third quarter brought Oklahoma City up 57-56 mid-term, before a dip and two free throws from Diallo increased the Thunder’s advance to nine.
Wednesday’s fourth-quarter champion Austin Rivers drained a triple-pointer at the third-quarter bell and an early bucket in the fourth to put the Knicks back in in four, but was stolen and dipped by Diallo and Gilgius-Alexander 3-pointer raised the Knicks’ deficit to 13, their biggest delay in the match , Before 4:21.
“Pretty much all of its aspects – dribbling penetration, loose balls, and bouncing. If we don’t take care of it, it’s going to be a long night.” Thibaudo said. “And even though we went 10 points ahead early on, I didn’t like the way our defense looked like. And then we’re on the bench and we have to be ready to go. From top to bottom, we didn’t get it done. We are able to do a much better job than we did. “